News today that UK officials have determined UK citizens were responsible for the suicide bombings that formed last week’s terrorist strikes on London.
Papers today are speculating about this “new kind” of terrorism, and how destabilizing it may be to current western anti-terrorism policies and practices.
Yet, at least one security professional has been aware of this growing threat for some time. Robert S. Leiken, Director of the Immigration and National Security Program at the Nixon Center in the States has a fascinating essay in the latest Foreign Affairs, entitled Europe’s Angry Muslims. It raises all sorts of interesting and terrifying questions.
The crux of his argument…
The crux of his argument is that Islamic extremism, while born in the Middle East and transported to the west on networks created by people like Osama bin Laden in Pakistan or Afghanistan, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq, is now taking hold among second generation Muslim youth in cities like Paris, madrid, Amsterdam and London (what’s that you say? A link between Iraq and London?).
As potential terrorists, these youth have several advantages—they mix well culturally, having language and social skills to move through a western European city without notice, and they have an EU passport, which means their international travel, including travel to the US and Canada is unrestricted by Visas or interviews. Second generation extremists like those described by Leiken almost undoubtedly carried out the London bombings.
Leiken’s essay speculates that inconsistent, confused and ill-conceived immigration and assimilation policies in Europe have resulted in a large population of Muslim European citizens who are still disenfranchised from their homelands, and therefore ripe to be plucked by radical Islam and sent with backpack bombs to blow themselves up on public transportation.
Once again, murderers relinquish the right to discuss motives as though they had any justifying effect. The youths who blew up subways and a bus in London were psychopathic and/or extremely delusional. Yet their delusions were fed and nurtured under a definable social and political policy framework that has somehow resulted in an entire identifiable population in Europe being second-classed.
From the essay:
Given the United States’ comparatively happier record of integrating immigrants, one may wonder whether the mixed U.S. approach—separating religion from politics without placing a wall between them, helping immigrants slowly adapt but allowing them relative cultural autonomy—could inspire Europeans to chart a new course between an increasingly hazardous multiculturalism and a naked secularism that estranges Muslims and other believers. One thing is certain: if only for the sake of counterterrorism, Europe needs to develop an integration policy that works.
Recently on this blog, we’ve discussed relative racisms in North America and Europe, as well as sociopolitical counterpolicies for dealing with how terrorism develops. Leiken’s essay touches on all these points. Read it, and discuss.