Radical and violent ideology sets its roots, even in the most liberal and tolerant communities in Europe. This gives us serious problems, where we have to pay the consequences.
After the recent terrorism-revelation in London, the spotlight is yet again pointed towards Muslim men with citizenship and background from immigration. After Madrid, London and many discoveries of planned terrorist attacks, we know something of those who get recruited to these ‘extreme social environments’.
One common point seems to be an extreme degree of not being able to adapt in ‘our’ society. It’s funny though, but mostly confusing, that many of them earlier have had supposedly well-fitted lives in our community.
It’s young people.
The radicalisation often happens very quickly. A lot of them have never been particularly interested in religion. Suddenly, they get active with politics, and appear to adapt bonds with a strong leading character. In military contexts, it’s often those who come from war – be it Bosnia, Afghanistan or Iraq – and thus gaining status as popstars.
But, alas, these descriptions help very little to reveal the small minority who might fancy to use violence. Instead, we tend to suspect the good-living majority, who never have, nor will find it in their grasp to use violent measures against another human being, even just to justify their cause. We aim the guilt at the silent protesters, whose only wishes are to use their democratic rights to get their point through. It’s sad.
And thus, here we are at the dilemma.
An ‘open’ community – which is what we claim to be - needs to focus on, and identify those who wish to inflict damage to us all. The ‘true’ terrorists, sort of speak. But the problem lies in the signs. The signs that are developed to recognize the guilty. They’re far to general, which lets discrimination and racism arise to the surface. This is dangerous, because this gives people reason to create even more extremism in our already unstable society.
What the solution should be is to embrace the Islamic community, and cooperate in the war against terror. We should not make the Muslims a problem, but rather a part of the solution.
(As a side-note, the leader for The Muslim Counsel in Britain, Muhammed Abdul Bari, recently said that the Muslim community has full support in the war against terror.)
Prejudice; what makes it all bad.
A major newspaper in Norway just published news of a former rowdy school kid named Don Stewart-Wythe who had been arrested in suspicion of activity with the non-evental terrorist attack. What seemed to be that main point in the story was that he had converted to Islam six months before the scheduled terrorist attack that was due at August 16th.
This is exactly what we should fear. The conclusion people will draw from this is to keep a distance from Muslims.
“He converted to Islam, and then participated in a big terrorist attack. Anyone see a pattern here?”
I don’t. Saying things like that is like saying that if a Muslim converts from Islam, then that man – or woman – will never do anything unethical or perform any action which is against the law again.
Prejudice is what brings this world to its knees. And racial war is exactly what will destroy it.
Does this affect us?
Of course it does. On the matter of air-travel to and from the US, the matter has always been a tense subject since 9/11. The air-trafficking and security controls have gone from alright, to almost on the verge of insanity. And this was no gradual evolvement. We’re talking of a time span of five years. That is not a very long time.
Put yourself in this scenario:
You’re going to a city in the US from abroad (e.g. Norway). You need something to do on that 10-hour travel.
What to bring with you?
A book? No longer allowed; it may be a bomb.
A computer? Don’t mention it; signals can make the plane crash.
Some music? Strictly forbidden; it might set off a bomb.
You can’t even bring a water-bottle on the plane anymore, because it may contain liquid explosives.
Is it just me, or does that make any sense at all?
What are we left with?
A slight problem. What makes people take the last step from extremism to terrorism? Sometimes it’s described with social relationships or maybe even the wars raging in the Middle-East. Many situations contribute, but some of it must be explainable. What makes young Europeans become suicide bombers?
It’s no mass-movement. It never has been. They’re extremely few, but they’re many enough to threaten us all.
So what is the solution?
To find the solution, we need to find the problem. And secondly, we need to accept that we have a problem. But in this case, it seems to be quite hard. There is no specific problem, but rather several. It can be compared to a giant tree. It has a massive base (gaining attention through the creation of fear) with several branches (methods of creating the fear), and roots going deep (the people who control it all).
To find the solution, the problem has to be confronted from several different angles. You need to fight back the same way, matching force with force, beat intelligence by being even smarter. To conquer, we need to be one step ahead.
We have yet to make that step. And stay there.