At last, we have hit on the solution to the global jihad onslaught: just be nicer to Muslims, you greasy Islamophobes. All those people sitting in those Paris cafes — just think of how mean they were being to Muslims. Some of them were probably even drinking alcohol. Oh, the Islamophobia! And those people in the Radisson Blu in Bamako, Mali: if only they had dropped their radically Islamophobic stance of going about their business, eating, drinking, sleeping and the like. How dare they provoke Muslims in that way!
And stop resisting jihad: if you really want to defeat it, don’t fight back. Let it happen, keep smiling, keep being nice. Anything you do to defend yourself and your country may provoke the poor dears and “poke them in the eye.” We can’t have that. It’s time to cut out all the Islamophobia and be nice for a change. Then when global peace ensues, we can sit down for a hearty lunch (no pork or beer, you Islamophobes) with the caliph al-Baghdadi and share a hearty laugh over the folly of all that conflict.
In the 1940s, did the Washington Post run the headline, “Want to stop Nazism? Be nicer to the Gestapo”?
“Want to stop Islamic terrorism? Be nicer to Muslims.” by Sarah Lyons-Padilla and Michele Gelfand, Washington Post, November 24, 2015:
The discovery that several of the Paris attackers were European nationals has fueled concern about Muslim immigrants becoming radicalized in the West.
Some politicians have expressed views that the best way to avoid homegrown terrorists is to shut the door.
The refugee migration debate turned even more contentious after authorities found a Syrian passport at the scene of the attack. Poland is now turning back refugees, more than half of American governors have vowed to refuse Middle Easterners seeking a new beginning, and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan has asked for a “pause” on the federal Syrian refugee program.
Fearful reactions to terrorist violence are nothing new. Incidents of extremist activity are often followed by anti-Islam protests or hate crimes. Reports of the Islamic State luring Western Muslims abroad are followed by a tightening of homeland security policy.
Horror of horrors!
Just after the attacks in Paris, presidential hopeful Donald Trump said that he would be willing to close mosques in America.
Terrible. What’s the big deal about a little sedition, people? It’s a big country, it can take it.
Such displays of intolerance can make Muslims feel like they don’t belong in Europe or the United States.
Our research, forthcoming in Behavioral Science and Policy, and in partnership with the World Organization for Resource Development and Education, shows that making Muslims feel this way can fuel support for radical movements. In other words, many Western policies that aim to prevent terrorism may actually be causing it.
Stop resisting. Just surrender, and all will be well. As Muhammad Atta said on September 11, 2001 to the passengers on the airliner he had just hijacked, “Stay quiet and you’ll be okay.”
In our research, we asked hundreds of Muslims in Germany and the United States to tell us about their experiences as religious and cultural minorities, including their feelings of being excluded or discriminated against on the basis of their religion. We also asked how they balance their heritage identities with their American or German identities. We wanted to know if these kinds of experiences were related to their feelings toward radical groups and causes.
There are a lot of practical and ethical barriers to studying what makes someone become a terrorist.
We normally don’t know who terrorists are until after they’ve committed an attack. By then, we can only rely on after-the-fact explanations as to what motivated them. We can’t perform a controlled laboratory study to see who would participate in an act of terrorism. In surveys, we can’t ask someone straightforwardly how much they would like to join a radical movement, because most people who are becoming radicalized would not answer honestly.
Instead, we measured a couple of indicators of support for radicalism. We asked people how willing they would be to sacrifice themselves for an important cause. We also measured the extent to which participants held a radical interpretation of Islam. For example, we asked whether it’s acceptable to engage in violent jihad. Finally, we asked people to read a description of a hypothetical radical group and tell us how much they liked the group and how much they would want to support it. This hypothetical group consisted of Muslims in the United States (or Germany, in the German study) who were upset about how Muslims were treated by society and would stop at nothing to protect Islam.
Overall, support for these indicators of extremism was very low, which is a reminder that the vast majority of Muslims do not hold radical views.
Or at least that they know better than to tell non-Muslim researchers all about them.
But the responses of some people showed they felt marginalized and identified with neither the culture of their heritage nor the culture of their adopted country.
We described people as “culturally homeless” when they didn’t practice the same customs or share the same values as others in their adopted culture but also felt different from other people of their heritage.
We found that people who said they were torn between cultures also reported feeling ashamed, meaningless and hopeless. They expressed an overall lack of significance in their lives or a feeling that they don’t really matter. The more people’s sense of self worth was threatened, the more they expressed support for radicalism.
Our findings are consistent with a theory in psychology that terrorists are looking for a way to find meaning in their lives. When people experience a loss to their sense of personal significance — for example, through being humiliated or disrespected — they seek out other outlets for creating meaning….