Jennifer Oriel, courtesy of The Australian, 14 April 2015, where title is “Political Correctness shackles the War on Terror” … and where reader comments will be found
Guilty on all charges. When the Boston bombing trial jury handed down their verdict against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev last week, the courtroom was silent. The most important legacy of the trial was not the verdict, but the sombre realisation that the West must jettison political correctness to win the war against terror.
The Boston bombings constituted a horrific slaughter of innocents and a radical failure of the state to fulfil its primary duty of care to citizens. Counter-terrorism should have stopped the Tsarnaev family at the border, rejecting their plea for political asylum on the advice of Russian authorities. Counter-radicalisation should have stopped the brothers at their mosque, part of a government-funded outreach program. Intelligence agencies should have caught the thugs online after they posted viciously anti-Western tracts.
Instead, the Tsarnaev family, with two terrorist brothers and a sister now on trial for bomb threats, enjoyed the full favour of the welfare state. They lived off the earnings of US citizens taking free housing and food only to repay them with hatred and mass murder.
Ninety-six per cent of Australians who enlisted in Islamic State also lived on public welfare. Counter-terrorism expert Patrick Poole contends the culture of the political Left has enabled terrorism. He attributes the Tsarnaev’s success in terrorising the West in part to: “A full scale campaign of political correctness … under the Obama administration against any attempt to link jihadi terrorism with anything remotely connected to Islam of any variety (the most radical versions included).” Australia’s Coalition government has bucked the trend of political correctness with its counter-terrorism package, spearheading national security legislation since copied by legislators around the globe. But it is yet to prosecute the culture that enables Islamism to thrive on home soil.
The British Tory government has committed to reviewing citizenship tests and public funding to ensure the protection of British values if it is returned to power.
The cultural dimension of Islamist terrorism has been largely ignored by the billion dollar de-radicalisation industry. The result is an extraordinary degree of doublespeak, exemplified by French minister and socialist Thierry Mandon who recommended building more mosques would counter radicalisation. It takes only rudimentary logic to deduce that if mosques stopped terrorism, Islamic State wouldn’t exist.
The unpalatable truth is that like so many solutions imposed on Western states by leftist governments, mosques often undermine the values of the free world. In a study of 100 mosques across the US, researchers Mordechai Kedar and David Yerushalmi found 81 per cent contained materials advocating Islamist violence. The more Sharia-fundamentalist the imam, the more likely he would recommend Islamist texts to worshippers.
In Denmark, one mosque alone was frequented by around a fifth of the country’s Islamic State jihadists. The development of Australian jihadism also has been associated with hardline mosques in Melbourne and Sydney.
While the radicalisation process is becoming better understood, the same cannot be said of its antidote. The common indicator used to measure the efficacy of de-radicalisation programs is long-term recidivism rate.
Germany’s HAYAT program has garnered international acclaim with an early intervention model of counselling that coaches families to detect the signs of radicalisation and redress them. But the program lacks evidence of long-term efficacy.
As with many scientific experiments, the world is learning more about de-radicalisation by studying how it fails. The former Labour government of Britain provides the exemplar. Its Prevent program was a spectacular failure at a cost of almost £160 million. Political correctness meant minority status replaced merit as the principal funding criterion, resulting in a network of corrupt community experts who expropriated public monies for Islamist terrorist groups and personal gain.
In many de-radicalisation programs across the US and Europe, religious leaders and experts hired to de-radicalise youth instead have inculcated the culture of radical Islam. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has scrutinised the relationship between radical Islam and terrorism in her new book Heretic, suggesting the solution may lie in an Islamic reformation.
But President Barack Obama’s refusal even to acknowledge the role of Islam in producing Islamic State means the reformation won’t be coming to the US any time soon.
The political and academic elites’ refusal to discuss the relationship between Islam and Islamist radicalisation is not only dishonest, it is dangerous. Empirical research demonstrates jihadist beliefs and behaviour are correlated strongly with the culture of Islamic fundamentalism. For example, a survey of more than a thousand Muslims in Denmark produced valid empirical evidence that jihadism and sympathy for it are positively correlated with degree of Islamic religiosity and hostility towards the core values of the West.
Researchers Marco Goli and Shahamak Rezaeit found militant Islamists and their sympathisers are the groups most likely to reject integration, choosing not to socialise or live among native Danes. Their decisions about how to live, raise children and vote arise from a profound ethnic chauvinism and antipathy towards the country that welcomed them as immigrants. They have little respect for secular law, preferring the theocratic tenets of Sharia, with a third advocating the death penalty for apostates.
The findings from empirical research and analysis of failed de-radicalisation programs demonstrate jihadism is produced by the culture, religion and community of radical Islam. In plain terms, Western jihadism is an Islamic problem. As with any religion, Islam exists on a continuum from fundamentalism to apostasy. But unless we get the balance right, the Islamist core will destroy the freedoms for which our ancestors laid down their lives so that their children and our children’s children could be free.
Jennifer Oriel is a political scientist and commentator. @jenniferoriel
Michael Roberts: “Lone Cell Assaults: From Boston to Westmead-in-Sydney to the Unabomber. Inspirations and Enabling Conditions in Comparative Perspective,” 19 April 2013, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/lone-cell-assaults-from-boston-to-westmead-in-sydney-to-the-unabomber-inspirations-and-enabling-conditions-in-comparative-perspective/
Brendan Nicholson: “Man Haron Monis and Lessons from Sydney,” 10 December 2014, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/man-haron-moni-and-lessons-from-sydney/
Michael Roberts: “Marginalisation in Britain as Path to Islamic Fervour and/or Cricketing Fervour,” 16 December 2014, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/marginalisation-in-britain-as-path-to-islamic-fervour-andor-cricketing-fervour/
Jennifer Oriel: “Once upon a Time in the West,” 13 March 2015, The Australian, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/once-upon-a-time-in-the-west/story-e6frg6zo-1227260425925
Michael Roberts: “Where In-fighting generates Fervour & Power: ISIS Today, LTTE Yesterday,” 21 July 2014, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/where-in-fighting-generates-fervour-power-isis-today-ltte-yesterda/