The official website of Mohammed Ansar
Whilst European states have exported terror and conflict around the world, they are seeing the rise of homegrown terrorism. It isn’t being imported. It isn’t about immigration. This is certainly not about refugees fleeing death in Syria or Libya.
Radicalisation is more about the state sanctioned marginalisation of Muslim communities, rather than bad theology.
Malevolent neoconservative interests at the heart of our government and media are desperate to sell us an idea. It is that terror and radicalisation is alien, ‘other’ and about a medieval Islam in need of reform. It isn’t about actions of nation states, armies and governments. It isn’t about domestic policies and societies losing their way. The cold truth is that domestic radicalisation which leads to homegrown terror, whilst claimed by foreign entities, is more complex. It flows from social disenfranchisement, marginalisation and systemic, institutional, anti-Muslim policies. The radicalisation of people results from a complex concoction of circumstances – for Muslims it is a civil rights crisis pre-dating, Iraq, 9/11, 7/7, the Paris attacks and the latest horrors in Belgium. After Muslims gave birth to the high ideals of the enlightenment, religious tolerance, pluralism and scientific method in Europe, century upon century, Europe has responded with scorn and mistreatment. With ethnic cleansing. It has been a brutally barbaric cutting of the spiritual umbilical cord.
In the smoky ruins of Western colonialism, the media and ugly hard/far right neoconservative interests today collude with our state agencies in a giant scam. They are peddling the myth that radicalisation is merely about bad theology, that Muslims need to be targeted and that Islam needs to reform. This is a false and far from complete picture. It is being sold to governments and a political class who are utterly desperate for an alternative narrative to the idea that there is a far bigger structural and societal problem, or that radicalisation results from our own failed policies at home and abroad.
State agencies, civil society organisations and public and private sectors must accept their share of the blame.
Like an oil tanker being steered which takes an age to change course, we won’t be able to change our current situation until first we acknowledge the problem. Whilst we are rightly asking Muslims to address questions of values and behaviours, state agencies, civil society organisations and the public and private sectors must accept their share of the responsibility for the feeders of radicalisation. As it currently stands, they continue to refuse to accept, include and accommodate Muslims. Rather than any fault of Muslims themselves, disenfranchisement is about an institutional failure to accept Muslims into the middle classes.
At the heart of creating new Muslim ghettos in Europe, are failed policies, a stunning lack of investment and development of communities. One of the lessons of Molenbeek has been that widespread discrimination and disenfranchisement increased as the state rolled back. Infrastructure became less capable, not more, to tackle these issues. Marginalisation and anti-Muslim policies on housing, health, education and discrimination in employment, became cast in iron as the mainstay, rather than on a path to being eliminated. It has been an utter recipe for disaster which has fomented over decades. It can be no surprise that increasingly jobless and hopeless minorities existing in the margins of our societies (rather than living) become fodder for extreme views giving them a cause to believe in. Policies of austerity increase the disenfranchisement of poorer communities – if you want to see the continuation of extremism amongst Muslim communities and the domestic far right, you need policies of austerity.
Yes. Radicalisation is homegrown in every sense. By the State.
There are solutions if we want them. We can invest. We can build. We can educate. We can focus our resources on elevating our people rather than conflict overseas. We can reverse policies of austerity which have merely increased the wealth and disposable incomes of the elite, at the cost of the poor, disabled and vulnerable.
However, history suggests Europe has never done things the easy way. It is something about the mindset of people, or perhaps Europeans, that they must first drive things to crisis with bloodshed and intolerance fuelled by animosity, hate and fear, before any semblance of enlightenment is found.
But there is hope. And there is a way forward. We just need to choose it.