Is Europe to be blamed for radical Islamists?
- The radical Islamists in Europe are not living in refugee camps, like the Palestinians in Middle Eastern countries
- They do not want to integrate into European societies because they do not agree with their liberalism, secularism, and sexual freedoms
- However, the US and European countries are to be censured for one key oversight
Islamic terrorism in European countries has been blamed by some US media outlets on the inability and/or unwillingness of European societies to integrate Muslim immigrants. Unemployment among Muslim immigrants is higher compared to overall employment figures. Therefore, since many of these Muslim immigrants and their native-born children are jobless and not integrated, they are being conveniently recruited by the Islamic State to commit terrorist acts.
This narrative is worth examining.
The population of the European Union (EU-28) is close to 510 million, of which over 20 million are Muslim. The EU-28 unemployment rate was 8.9 % in January 2016, down from 9.0 % in December 2015, and from 9.8 % in January 2015. Moreover, the youth unemployment rate in the EU-28 was more than double the overall unemployment rate in 2014. At 22.2 %, more than one out of every five young persons in the labor force was not employed, but looking and available for a job. In the euro area, the youth unemployment rate was even higher at 23.8 %.
The unemployment rate among young people was higher than the rate for those aged between 25 and 74 in all member states. In Spain (53.2 %), Greece (52.4 %), Croatia (45.5 %), Italy (42.7 %), Cyprus (35.9 %), and Portugal (34.7 %) youth unemployment rates were particularly high. Germany (7.7 %) was the only member state with a youth unemployment rate below 10 %.
The unemployment rate among young Muslim immigrants and/or descendants of immigrants is comparable to youth unemployment rates in Spain, Greece, and other countries. Furthermore, jobless people in the EU-28 receive generous unemployment/welfare benefits, which, for most immigrants, are much more substantial and dignifying than anything they have seen in their countries of origin.
An overwhelming majority of these immigrants deserve the assistance provided by the European countries.
However, blaming European governments and societies for the terrorist acts committed by a few criminal thugs is without merit.
Some of the areas that those disaffected Muslim communities live are more than decent neighborhoods and may be regarded as charming tourist attractions (I lived in Paris for many years). Those discontented and alienated Muslim youth are not living in slums or favelas, and many of them just do not want to integrate into European societies because they do not agree with their liberalism, secularism, and sexual freedoms.
Let’s face it. Many of them refuse to adopt Western values because doing so would alter their religious and ethnic identities and thus betray their core beliefs and morals. No matter how accommodating and integrationist European societies are or will become—short of transforming themselves into Islamic societies and practicing the Sharia law—you’re always going to have self-ostracized and disgruntled people who will resort to acts of violence to try to destabilize the existing order.
The radical Islamists in Europe are not living in refugee camps, like the Palestinians in Middle Eastern countries. They are living in the most desirable cities in the world. Yes, many of them are struggling economically, but so are millions of other Europeans.
According to these media outlets, political commentators, and politicians, and using the same line of reasoning, the Treaty of Versailles should be blamed for the rise of Nazism, the persecution of the Jews, and finally the Holocaust. Furthermore, the rise of Palestinian terrorism, the rise of radical Islamism and its attendant atrocities, etc., should be blamed on the establishment of the Jewish state. The list is long, messy, and baneful.
How about the Boko Haram in Nigeria? How are those criminals and rapists to be integrated into their society? Do these political commentators and pundits have a judicious plan to integrate the Boko Haram thugs into the Nigerian society?
Self-criticism and self-examination are crucial attributes of civilized societies. However, in blaming terrorist acts on European societies and their failure to integrate immigrants, self-flagellation is misguided and spurious.
Why are so many Kosovar Albanians, who are Muslim, joining ISIS?
The Republic of Kosovo—among the most pro-Western Muslim-majority states in the world—is struggling to crack down on radical Islamists. The Kosovo Republic is in Europe and the United States and the European countries have tremendously assisted the Kosovars in their drive for independence. Washington and most of the EU-28 members recognize the Republic of Kosovo.
Hundreds of Kosovar Albanians have joined ISIS and have committed atrocities and sown hatred. Is this some form of appreciation for Washington and Europe’s efforts to help the Kosovar Albanians win their independence at the expense of alienating Serbia and Russia?
Again, you are going to have a few dozen, perhaps a few hundred radical jihadists in Europe, for whatever reason, who are fervently anti-Western and are determined to butcher and cause mayhem and destruction.
However, the US and European countries are to be censured for one key oversight: For not spending enough resources (both human and material) to track down, locate, and arrest (if possible) these terrorists. They are either underestimating these thugs and their ideology or lack the willpower to confront this scourge.
Either way, it is outrageous to blame European societies for this lamentable state of affairs. I am a social scientist, but, sometimes, the banality of evil, as Hannah Arendt would say, confounds and checkmates social theories and sciences.