The PJ Tatler

Does Welfare Foster Terrorism?

News broke Monday that the Tsarnaev family has received about $100,000 in welfare payments since coming to the US in 2002. For a decade, until last year, the family drew government payments month in and month out. The benefits included cash, food stamps and Section 8 housing.

“The breadth of the benefits the family was receiving was stunning,” said a person with knowledge of documents handed over to a legislative committee today.

The state has handed over more than 500 documents to the 11-member House Post Audit and Oversight Committee, which today met for the first time and plans to call in officials from the Department of Transitional Assistance to testify.

Massachusetts officials, Democrat and Republican alike, are pledging to investigate. While they’re at it, they should take a look at the possibility that welfare actually fosters terrorism.

Ever since the Boston bombing, liberals have been casting about for a cause other than radical Islam to explain it. Maybe it was brain injury from Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s boxing (even though Dzhokhar was not a boxer). Or maybe the Golden Glove and “anti-immigrant” policy caused it.

Well, how about welfare?

Back in 2001 Mickey Kaus made a then comprehensive list of accused terrorists who had been on welfare. It was astounding.

The point isn’t simply that many terrorists take advantage of Western welfare states, the same way they take advantage of Western freedoms and Western technology. The point is that extreme anti-social terrorist ideologies (radical Islam, in particular) seem to breed in “oppositional” cultures supported by various government welfare benefits.

This is particularly evident in France, where—as this Los Angeles Times piece describes—unemployed and alienated North African Arab immigrants in subsidized public housing projects turn to crime and violence in a vicious cycle familiar to students of the African-American “underclass.” Except that in France, in the “violent neighborhoods, the housing projects where the young men can be recruited” into terrorism, an “ironic thing” happens, according to a French intelligence officer quoted by the Times‘ Sebastian Rotella:

“When the extremists take control, violence goes down. Islam brings discipline. But then we have to watch that neighborhood for a different reason.”


Now let’s look at the Tsarnaevs. The family arrived in the US and nearly immediately went on welfare. Zubeidat Tsarnaev ran afoul of the law at least once, and is accused of shoplifting in 2011. She allegely stole $1600 worth of designer dresses. If she travels to the US to visit her surviving jihadist son, she could face arrest and felony charges on that rap. News broke today that Katherine Tsarnaev, wife of the late Tamerlan, was also busted for shoplifting, in 2007. She confessed to stealing $67 from an Old Navy store. Oddly, the then 18-year-old who had not yet met the Tsarnaevs claimed she was married.

Petty crime. Welfare. Terrorism. They’re all anti-social and contemptuous behaviors. The Tsarnaevs exhibit all three.

What role did going on welfare play in the Boston bombing? Liberals won’t ask that question because increasing dependence on welfare is a cherished liberal policy. Increasing the welfare rolls has proven key to the Democrats’ stranglehold on urban voting, and helped Barack Obama win re-election.