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The roots of radicalization of Islam

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    With the massacre at Charlie Hebdo and the subsequent hostage situations of yesterday there has been no shortage of opinions by politicians and journalists as to causes of the radicalization of young people to commit such horrific acts. I have listened to opinions on MSNBC by a host of so called experts and have scrolled through Media Matters to see what Fox New pundits as well are saying. Most all of them are very short term in their thinking. Then I found this article by Mark LeVine in AlJazeera this morning that made more sense, at least to me.

    Mark LeVine, AlJazeera, January 10, 2014: Why Charlie Hebdo attack is not about Islam

    LeVine goes back 130 years to where it all begin...with colonialism. "It's no mere coincidence that at least two of the Charlie Hebdo attackers are reportedly of Algerian descent and the third from Senegal. France's 1830 invasion of Algeria began a 130-year odyssey of murder, expropriation, racism, exploitation and misrule that only ended after a vicious anti-colonial struggle costing well over one million Algerian lives."

    The story of the modern Muslim world, with a few exceptions, is one of generations of European rule and the "collective wound of colonialism" in which the western world's thirst for oil resulted in coddling of local despots who were only too happy to cycle trillions of dollars back and forth between them through oil and arms sales, finance and heavy industry...a cycle that has concentrated wealth and power to a very few.

    LeVine concludes, "If Charlie Hebdo reminds us of anything it is that the arc of blowback can stretch for decades, growing more uncontrollable as the political, economic, social and technological chaos of the contemporary world increases."

    I have excerpted just a few lines from LeVine's article above, but I recommend reading the entire article. It's the only one that I have found that more accurately describes the deep roots of the radicalization of many in the Muslim world. Blowback is the right word.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote: With the massacre at Charlie Hebdo and the subsequent hostage situations of yesterday there has been no shortage of opinions by politicians and journalists as to causes of the radicalization of young people to commit such horrific acts. I have listened to opinions on MSNBC by a host of so called experts and have scrolled through Media Matters to see what Fox New pundits as well are saying. Most all of them are very short term in their thinking. Then I found this article by Mark LeVine in AlJazeera this morning that made more sense, at least to me.

    Mark LeVine, AlJazeera, January 10, 2014: Why Charlie Hebdo attack is not about Islam

    LeVine goes back 130 years to where it all begin...with colonialism. "It's no mere coincidence that at least two of the Charlie Hebdo attackers are reportedly of Algerian descent and the third from Senegal. France's 1830 invasion of Algeria began a 130-year odyssey of murder, expropriation, racism, exploitation and misrule that only ended after a vicious anti-colonial struggle costing well over one million Algerian lives."

    The story of the modern Muslim world, with a few exceptions, is one of generations of European rule and the "collective wound of colonialism" in which the western world's thirst for oil resulted in coddling of local despots who were only too happy to cycle trillions of dollars back and forth between them through oil and arms sales, finance and heavy industry...a cycle that has concentrated wealth and power to a very few.

    LeVine concludes, "If Charlie Hebdo reminds us of anything it is that the arc of blowback can stretch for decades, growing more uncontrollable as the political, economic, social and technological chaos of the contemporary world increases."

    I have excerpted just a few lines from LeVine's article above, but I recommend reading the entire article. It's the only one that I have found that more accurately describes the deep roots of the radicalization of many in the Muslim world. Blowback is the right word.
    Schmidt; yes. However the worst kind of "colonialism" is done right now by the US; like bombing/droning countries where we never had a "colony" like Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Sudan, Mali, Syria, Pakistan border etc etc. Don't you think that this will give an enormous boost to combine the effects of "colonialism with "hatred" and "revenge" because of our "rule the world" actions?
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Dutch -- Yes, whether it's European colonialism or American "imperialism" it's basically the same thing...exerting our military might ostensibly to "make the world safe for democracy" but in reality to ensure that our corporations can extract their wealth. Many of the young unemployed youth, not only in these countries but also in their western colonial countries, are looking to radicalized Islam as western capitalism and it's implicit racism have failed them.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote: Dutch -- Yes, whether it's European colonialism or American "imperialism" it's basically the same thing...exerting our military might ostensibly to "make the world safe for democracy" but in reality to ensure that our corporations can extract their wealth. Many of the young unemployed youth, not only in these countries but also in their western colonial countries, are looking to radicalized Islam as western capitalism and it's implicit racism have failed them.
    Schmidt, I'm so surprised about our world politics; the 9/11 event should have opened our eyes; that "revenge" mostly has an escalating effect, like it did cost us "double" the military's life's than the 9/11 thing and are still loosing lives and lots of resources right now, which we could have spent on better things. Our politicians never think ahead. Naive and "self" centered. This will affect this country for years to come.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Schmidt Wrote: The story of the modern Muslim world, with a few exceptions, is one of generations of European rule and the "collective wound of colonialism" in which the western world's thirst for oil resulted in coddling of local despots who were only too happy to cycle trillions of dollars back and forth between them through oil and arms sales, finance and heavy industry...a cycle that has concentrated wealth and power to a very few.

    LeVine concludes, "If Charlie Hebdo reminds us of anything it is that the arc of blowback can stretch for decades, growing more uncontrollable as the political, economic, social and technological chaos of the contemporary world increases."
    Thanks for sharing the article. It is a breath of fresh air to actually see some in-depth reporting on something as complex as this tragedy.

    The sentence about the blowback stretching on for decades is telling and something we need to prepare ourselves for. The radicalization of Islam is something that will take a very long time to work itself out. I've read more than a few pieces drawing parallels between what is going in the Muslim world right now and the Thirty Years War the Christians fought in the 1600's. Hopefully they will be able to sort things out before 8,000,000 people are killed...
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    jaredsxtn Wrote:
    Schmidt Wrote: The story of the modern Muslim world, with a few exceptions, is one of generations of European rule and the "collective wound of colonialism" in which the western world's thirst for oil resulted in coddling of local despots who were only too happy to cycle trillions of dollars back and forth between them through oil and arms sales, finance and heavy industry...a cycle that has concentrated wealth and power to a very few.

    LeVine concludes, "If Charlie Hebdo reminds us of anything it is that the arc of blowback can stretch for decades, growing more uncontrollable as the political, economic, social and technological chaos of the contemporary world increases."
    Thanks for sharing the article. It is a breath of fresh air to actually see some in-depth reporting on something as complex as this tragedy.

    The sentence about the blowback stretching on for decades is telling and something we need to prepare ourselves for. The radicalization of Islam is something that will take a very long time to work itself out. I've read more than a few pieces drawing parallels between what is going in the Muslim world right now and the Thirty Years War the Christians fought in the 1600's. Hopefully they will be able to sort things out before 8,000,000 people are killed...
    Jared, you've got the picture; as well as Schmidt; indeed all our great "meddling" in the world will backfire in a huge way. Hitler found out, Napolean found out Ghengish Khan found out the last Mohicans found out as well the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Maya's, Inca's etc."L'histoire ce repette"
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    Schmidt,
    Thanks for sharing this article. I have found myself watching Aljazeera America quite a bit recently. I kind of gave up on MSNBC.........I'm not sure why but I just don't go there any more. Aljazeera and CNN are what I mostly watch.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Tony Johnson Wrote: Schmidt,
    Thanks for sharing this article. I have found myself watching Aljazeera America quite a bit recently. I kind of gave up on MSNBC.........I'm not sure why but I just don't go there any more. Aljazeera and CNN are what I mostly watch.
    Tony, CNN is also very "controlled" they have the habbit to repeat and repeat; a kind of indoctrination. I noticed already a long time ago that the European news is much more "real" news without all the "fringes" and hype. They give it as it comes don't repeat over and over and show the "whole" tape; no cutting and pasting.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Jared -- Thanks for the Wiki article on the Thirty Years War. What I found interesting is that although it started out as a religious war between Protestants and Catholics, it eventually became less about religion and more about the continuation of the France - Habsburg rivalry for European political pre-eminence. In other words religious ideology gave way to tribalism.

    Extrapolating that to current day youth of different ethnicities and religions in Europe (or America for that matter), I really don't see them identifying so much with the strict ideology of the religion, in this case some branch of Islam, but rather the social acceptance that the religion offers. Those youth that feel marginalized by French society (or any other country) will seek out venues for like minded people and that often is a religious institution, but in the case of the USA could also be gangs. I say this because from what I have read, those youth joining up with ISIS, for example, are often totally ignorant of much of the underlying religious basis for their doctrine, which in the case of ISIS is an extreme radical form of Wahhabism that most Muslims abhor.

    So while we like to point the finger at radical Islam, their ability to recruit actors for their crusade is less about the radical religious beliefs they are selling and more about the recruits themselves not being accepted into the society in which they were born.
  • Independent
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    This is why I have stated that it is not about religion but about politics. Religion is used both by those who engage in political violence and for internal agitprop consumption to stir up the surveillance state and hatred/fear of "the other."
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    There was "On real time with Bill Maher" a few great pieces. First of all "If you have "bad" apples; then there is something wrong with the orchard.
    Also he said: There are no "great" religions, all are stupid and dangerous ! Wow. That is why freedom of speech is a fantastic tool.
    I could not agree more. "Je suis Charly"
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    lonely bird -- Yes it is hard to separate the religion from the politics. Iran and Saudi Arabia are examples of where the state and the religion are the same. They both use fear to keep the masses in check and hold onto their power. Punishment is ruthlessly applied, and that punishment in the form of 1,000 lashes or beheadings is meant to keep their people in a continual state of fear. Are the "morality police" of Iran and Saudi Arabia really any different than the SAVAK secret police under the Shah of Iran? They have different targets (morality police target women more generally) but both use fear and punishment to hold onto power...or as you put it a "surveillance state based on the hatred/fear of the other".

    In the USA, the Christian evangelicals (Fundamentalists), while certainly not engaging in the type of repulsive overt actions displayed by Islamic states, none the less would establish by laws their own brand of morality on the populace if they were given the power by the voters.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote: lonely bird -- Yes it is hard to separate the religion from the politics. Iran and Saudi Arabia are examples of where the state and the religion are the same. They both use fear to keep the masses in check and hold onto their power. Punishment is ruthlessly applied, and that punishment in the form of 1,000 lashes or beheadings is meant to keep their people in a continual state of fear. Are the "morality police" of Iran and Saudi Arabia really any different than the SAVAK secret police under the Shah of Iran? They have different targets (morality police target women more generally) but both use fear and punishment to hold onto power...or as you put it a "surveillance state based on the hatred/fear of the other".

    In the USA, the Christian evangelicals (Fundamentalists), while certainly not engaging in the type of repulsive overt actions displayed by Islamic states, none the less would establish by laws their own brand of morality on the populace if they were given the power by the voters.
    Schmidt; yes I wrote about that as well in the "thread" ; punishment in Saudia Arabia.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Schmidt Wrote: So while we like to point the finger at radical Islam, their ability to recruit actors for their crusade is less about the radical religious beliefs they are selling and more about the recruits themselves not being accepted into the society in which they were born.
    This is a very interesting point. I also would point out the terrible economic situation for countless young people throughout Europe right now. The unemployment rate for Muslims in France is hovering around twenty percent, which is twice the national average. A poor and angry youth who thinks the world is against them is a dangerous individual.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Jared -- Yes, and it's not only Europe, but the lack of employment and opportunities for young people throughout the Middle East. The Arab Spring had more than one catalyst, but disenchanted youth was perhaps the principle driver as this AlJazeera study suggests. There are differences between countries, however, and Muslim identity (except Egypt) could perhaps be considered a form of tribalism that united the youth to come together to protest. The study did not differentiate between Islam in general and radical Islam.

    AlJazeera, July 2103: Poll: Arab youth feel alienated from politics
    AlJazeera, July 2013: Interactive: The youth of the Arab Spring