‘This doesn’t mean that radical Islamic organizations, not least what’s left of al-Qaeda, can be safely ignored. It doesn’t mean that having made our border control agencies more integrated and functional was a bad idea (though we still have a ways to go on that score). It doesn’t mean that sane immigration policy reform or better gun control laws are bad ideas. But none of this has anything to do with what happened in Boston.
After the beltway sniper affair, I was concerned that other semi-rational but not entirely dysfunctional lone-wolf terrorists might go in for copycatting. As all security experts understand, but are usually reluctant to talk about in public, it is all too easy to bomb or shoot up the ticketing and baggage retrieval areas of airports’
Islam plays backdrop to one individual’s crazed, lone-wolf attack, rather than being a directly radically connected, in this interpretation. Garfinkle also has some strong words for the media’s response.
Here’s a link from the comments:
‘You say that not much can be done in the area of Foreign Relations or Immigration. I say not. It would make sense and be relatively easy to prohibit clergy visas for clergy from countries which do not extend the same relationship to American clergy. Saudi radical clerics, which are a very significant part of the internal radicalization problem would become insignificant. When Christians can spread the Gospel in Saudi Arabia (and other countries) then Saudi Imnans are free to come to the US and spread the Religion of Peace’
Well, we’ve got our hands full with Islamism, that’s for sure, and watching Wahhabism spread with Saudi money. But we’re clearly more comfortable with more freedoms than the House of Saud is.
Are we in a defining fight with Islamism much like we were with Communism, a chess game being played around the world with an enemy that ultimately controls and denies its members basic freedoms, but spreads nonetheless? Clearly, there are important differences.
In lieu of actual information regarding the motives of the Tsarnaevs, I’ve focused heavily on the likely religious component (Islamism, terrorism, jihad), but sought to balance that against other considerations, like freedom of speech and the conflict in Chechnya. I’m concerned about the impulses many people will have in our society to gloss over any potential Muslim component, and reassert the multicultural vision and come to ignore genuine threats.
Of course, this does not give license to speculate wildly on those motives. We don’t know yet.
A reader, pointing out the civil libertarian defense, links to this Glenn Greenwald post.
Who may have influenced Tamerlan?
Thanks to a reader from the National Review: ‘Moderate Muslims Must Oppose Islamism‘
Addition: Slate has a timeline of Tamerlan’s life, and it sure looks like a fairly ‘typical’ path to Islamic radicalization. That is to say, Muslims in America find many contradictions between American life and culture and their faith, for Islam is a prescription for most areas of life. Most Muslims handle this more flexibly and do not radicalize at all, but a small percentage, which apparently includes Tamerlan, don’t. Here’s a list of violent acts related to Muslims in America. Caveat lector.
The desire for purity, tradition, meaning in a strange land can lead a straggling few out to radicalization, and there is a loosely affiliated network of Islamic radicals worldwide and online that will complete the process. Islamism and radical elements need condemnation, and as much opposition as possible.
Europe has backed its way into some potentially serious problems, fueled by its desire for cheap labor, and not fully taking into account the differences between Islam and its own traditions. Muslims in Europe tend to be less integrated, often marginalized, ghettoized and living in enclaves of much higher populations percentage-wise. They bring some of the practices of their home countries and faith with them, like child-marriage, and possible virginity-checks, no support getting an education, and higher instances of domestic violence.
This blog tends to err on the side of free-speech.
Tell me where I’m wrong, and why. I’m happy to respond.
Addition: More tolerant liberal attitudes, and Islam, getting along well. I guess I should say civil libertarians are much better to have around than Leftists, but the ‘War On Terror’ is describing actual states of affairs, namely, the groups of people who are planning harm, and see themselves as involved in a dispute for which they have religious justification to murder and cause terror.