Essay: Islam Radicalization

Pages: 4 (1286 words)  ·  Style: Chicago  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Terrorism  ·  Buy This Paper

Islam Radicalization

The Radicalization of Islam

The forces of economic, political and religious distinction which have driven a wedge between the Western World and the Arab world are steeped in a long history of divergent interests. The conflict as we know it today, largely waged between the United States and such long-standing allies as the United Kingdom and Australia, is the fallout of centuries of subjugation, exploitation and occupation. The colonial forces of Europe and the United States exist on a continuum within which Arab states and cultures, once themselves a dominant and imperial global entity, have developed both historical and modern motives for violent and militant resistance. These motives relate as much to a sense of political resentment as they do to a belief in religious martyrdom, with the realities of western exploitation, a permeation of objectionable living conditions and the presence of deceptive governmental or media forces have collectively created a divide between East and West that implicates the Arab culture as a militant defender of a waning tribalism. Today, the greatest visible identifiers of this militant disposition are those 'terrorist' groups which perpetrated the attacks of September 11th and who continue to obstruct American interests in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. The degree to which this identity has come to be seen as the primary face of Islam in the world is both a testament to the distortions imposed by Western society and the degree to which these extreme sects of Islam have come to dominate impressions. So is this evidenced in the text by Husain (2007), which details the experience of one Briton who would move from a life of normal devotion to one of extremist engagement with little warning.

A consideration of Husain's experience reveals that in such contexts as Europe, the U.K. And the U.S., the experience of humiliation and disenfranchisement which has been foisted upon Muslims living as second class citizens has helped to stimulate a virulent form of political and ideological resentment. This is a reality which can be correlated to a modern history of exploitation connected both the colonialism and to the Cold War. For Europe, this is especially the case, as the Muslim population continues to proliferate. As Leiken (2005) indicates "the mass immigration of Muslims to Europe was an unintended consequence of post-World War II guest-worker programs. Backed by friendly politicians and unsympathetic judges, foreign workers, who were supposed to stay temporarily, benefited from family reunification programs and became permanent. Successive waves of immigrants formed a sea of descendents. Today, Muslims constitute the majority of immigrants in most western European countries." (Leiken, 1)

Not only is this so, but Muslims also constitute a particularly disaffected part of the population, often deeply isolated into ethnic neighborhoods and schools as was the case for Husain. He would report that "I was sixteen years old and I had no white friends. My world was entirely Asian, fully Muslim. This was my Britain. Against this backdrop, the writings of Sarwar's guru, Mawdudi, took me to a radically new level." (Husain, 35) for an individual such as Husain, the motives for engagement in jihad were somewhat muddled, but also consistent with the experience of indignity suffered by white British society. In some ways, Husain would be a counterpoint to the impression that Islamic extremists are produced by a set of devastating psychological experiences or confrontation of war.

Certainly, these are the qualities that have been emergent in the aftermath of such attacks as those on September 11 ths. To the point, when Islamic extremists used American commercial airliners as missiles and felled the World Trade Center in New York City while simultaneously using the same method to punch a whole in the side of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., the Western World came to understand the extent to which hatred between the modern and tribal worlds had… [END OF PREVIEW]

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