Europe's Muslim Radicals: The Next Generation

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by hacon1, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. hacon1

    hacon1 Monkey+++


    Published 25 Feb 08

    Europe's Muslim Radicals: The Next Generation

    By Abigail R. Esman
    World Defense Review columnist

    "American kill," said the five-year-old boy. "Bush I kill." And as his proud father watched, beaming, he demonstrated how to cut the evil American's bare throat.

    So it was in a Birmingham, England, home – as recorded secretly by British security services a few months ago while investigating the child's British-Pakistani father, Parvis Khan, then a suspect in a plot to kill a Muslim British soldier. This week, after his plan had been thwarted by MI5, Khan was sentenced to life in prison.

    And what will become of the boy?

    If he is lucky, he will learn from the example made of Dear Old Dad, and steer away from Islamic extremism completely. More likely, angered by the British infidels who took his father away from him, he will follow in Parvis' footsteps and endeavor to continue the work his father started.

    And he will be, indeed, a formidable soldier for jihad: if he can slit a person's throat at five years old, just imagine what he can do at 20. (After all, Mozart, whose father Leopold was neither Muslim nor Pakistani but did serve as his teacher, began composing at the age of five. I leave it to readers to do with that parallel what they will.)

    He may, for starters, do the way they do in Denmark, where last week, Muslim youths committed over 80 arson attacks in major cities, setting not just cars, but even schools in flames. This unrest followed a decision by Denmark's Jyllands-Posten to republish the 2006 cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed; it is blasphemy, in Islam, to depict Mohammad's image, and those cartoons were met, when they were first published, with anti-Denmark demonstrations and riots throughout the Muslim world.

    This time, the cartoons were re-issued as a gesture of solidarity in response to new threats made on the cartoonist's life. Unsurprisingly, Muslim leaders – in Denmark and elsewhere – have had little to say about the actual plan to murder a newspaper cartoonist over a drawing; to the contrary, Iran's Press TV remarked: "This repeated insult towards a religion shared by 2.5 percent of the Danish population and more than 20 percent of the world's people may also have opened old wounds and fueled the violence in the country."

    That European Muslim youth are radicalizing at a rapid rate is, of course, nothing new. What is notable is their age, which grows increasingly younger. And we are woefully unprepared, even as we should have seen this coming, to deal with it.

    And we should have seen it coming. As radical youth, usually second- and third-generation immigrants, reach their early and mid-twenties, they are having children of their own, and raising those children according to the principles of fundamentalist Islam. Add to this the increasing number of women also flocking towards salafism, and you have an instant two-parent jihadi family, creating a home environment that can't but engender similar world views in the children. Before his arrest, Parviz Khan was already preparing his three-year-old daughter to marry a terrorist. I doubt he was the only such father on the block.

    These are not small families, either, and older brothers (or sisters) are quick to recruit their younger siblings, whose commitment to Islam promises, in their elders' eyes, their redemption. Just how old will our five-year-old throat-slasher be, for instance, when he teaches his little sister a couple of his favorite tricks? And his best friend down the street? ("Look," he'll say, in his well-practiced, David Beckham accent, "Isn't this cool?") And when the best friend teaches his own little sister, whom will she teach, in turn?

    If this were not enough, schools, too, have taken up the cause. The headmaster of an Islamic high school in the Khan family's hometown of Birmingham, according to The Guardian, has said he "disagrees with using the word democracy." 'They should call it ... kuffrocracy, that's their plan," The Guardian quotes him as saying. "It's the hidden cancerous aim of these people." "Kuffar" is a derogatory term for "unbelievers."

    Even further support comes from the mosques, where in Britain (and elsewhere in Europe), parents are being told to beat their children if they do not pray, and to hit their daughters if they refuse to wear a hijab, or scarf. Officials throughout Europe have watched extremist imams, listened to their incendiary sermons, for years now, but failed, in most cases, to notice the efforts being made not just to create converts to radical Islam in the West, but to raise them.

    Yet child development experts and others have long known that violent homes breed violent children: In one US Department of Justice report, researchers found that "Sixty-nine percent of the youths who had been maltreated as children reported involvement in violence as compared to 56 percent of those who had not been maltreated. In other words, a history of maltreatment increases the chances of youth violence by 24 percent."

    In most cases, you can teach the parents this, and they will choose to refrain from such behaviors, or try to.

    But what do we do when violent and angry children are exactly what the parents want? Even removing such children from their homes won't help; in most cases, it will only make them angrier, and more troubled.

    I'm not suggesting I have any answers to this. I don't. But it's time we – and especially social services experts – start looking for them. Because these days, it's the jihadi generation, and it's coming at you, going strong.

    Abigail R. Esman is an award-winning author-journalist who divides her time between New York and The Netherlands. In addition to her column in World Defense Review, her work has appeared in Foreign Policy,, Esquire, Vogue, Glamour, Town & Country, The Christian Science Monitor, The New Republic and many others. She is currently working on a book about Muslim extremism and democracy in the West to be published by Praeger in 2008.
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