Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Bombing suspect was born in England -- and what that means.

Manchester, England police identified as the suspect in the post-concert arena bombing 22 year old Salman Abedi.   He was born in England to parents who came from Libya. in 1994.   Abedi, who also died in the suicide bombing, was known to British authorities, but was apparently not under active surveillance.

It's important to keep in mind that he was a native-born English citizen when anti-immigrant propagandists try to use this bombing to bolster their arguments for closing borders and banning refugees.

There is a severe problem with the radicalization of disillusioned young men, and increasingly young women, who then ally with terrorists groups.    Sometimes this includes formally joining them abroad;  but more often it is an informal solidarity, performing individual acts of terror without ever leaving their homelands in the West.

The problem is not immigration.   More often it seems to be the second generation, the children of those who immigrated to live in the West.   We should wonder about the meaning of that pattern.

It is a much more complex socio-economic problem which a radical ideology appeals to with "solutions" that include violence. Our counter efforts should address those socio-economic issues, which includes the status of Muslims in world culture.  When our leaders were saying in 2001 that we have to take action against Afghanistan for the 9/11 attack -- my thought was:   instead of dropping bombs on them, we should drop food, medical supplies, building materials, and books.

The problem is now 16 years worse.   But, still, the long range answer is not killing but addressing underlying causes.   I believe it's not religious ideology as much as it is socio-economic.   Not so much good vs evil but have vs have-not.

To see this, look no further than Israel and Palestine, a constant reminder throughout the Islamic world of the superior powers they are up against.   Terrorism is the weapon of those who lack power and opportunity.

No, I am not condoning violence.  And I am not denying that some Islamists emphasize teachings by some of their religious leaders to justify "slaying infidels" and opposing modern, Western values and customs.    But I hope to understand why some resort to violence  and not just reduce it all  to "Evil vs Good."


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