Roger L. Simon

In the wake of 7/7...

Reuel Marc Gerecht explores the situation in Europe with his characteristic brilliance. This time the results are scary:

In Europe as elsewhere, Westernization is the key to the growth and virulence of hard-core Islamic radicalism. The most frightening, certainly the most effective, adherents of bin Ladenism are those who are culturally and intellectually most like us. The process of Westernization liberates a Muslim from the customary sanctions and loyalties that normally corralled the dark side of the human soul. Respect for one’s father, an appreciation for the human need to have fun, a toleration of eccentricity and naughty personal behavior, the love of art and folk music–all are characteristics of traditional mainstream Muslim society wiped away by the arrival of modernity and the simultaneous spread of sterile, esthetically empty, angry, Saudi-financed Wahhabi thought. In this sense, bin Ladenism is the Muslim equivalent of Western totalitarianism. This cleaning of the slate, this break with the past, is probably more profound in the Muslim enclaves in Europe–what Gilles Kepel called les banlieues de l’Islam–than it is in the urban sprawl of Cairo, where traditional mores, though under siege and badly battered by modernity, nevertheless retain considerable force. Cairo gave us Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s great intellectual; it’s not unreasonable to fear that London or Paris or Berlin will give us his successor.

(ht: Jamie Irons)