We’ve all seen or heard stories about the thousands of ISIS sympathizers who are leaving their home countries and sneaking into ISIS-controlled territory to join up with the fundamentalist-Islamist killers and psychopaths on the battlefield.
This morning I saw Mary Anne Weaver on MSNBC discussing her latest article for The New York Times Magazine, provocatively titled “Her Majesty’s Jihadists” and subtitled:
More British Muslims have joined Islamist militant groups than serve in the country’s armed forces. How to understand the pull of jihad.
Ms. Weaver had bewildered the panelists on MSNBC’s Morning Joe by writing this:
Many of the fighters from Britain — as well as those from Finland, Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands — came from comfortable middle-class homes. Many were university students or graduates; a surprising number were women, too.
In her article, Weaver also cited Shiraz Maher, a former Islamic militant and now a senior research fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London:
I asked Maher if, based on the center’s research, he could draw a typical jihadist profile. “The average British fighter is male, in his early 20s and of South Asian ethnic origin,” he began. “He usually has some university education and some association with activist groups. Over and over again, we have seen that radicalization is not necessarily driven by social deprivation or poverty.” He paused for a moment, and then went on. “Other than those who go for humanitarian reasons, some of the foreign fighters are students of martyrdom; they want to die as soon as possible and go directly to paradise. We’ve seen four British suicide bombers thus far among the 38 Britons who have been killed. Then there are the adventure seekers — those who think this will enhance their masculinity, the gang members and the petty criminals too; and then, of course, the die-hard radicals, who began by burning the American flag and who then advanced to wanting to kill Americans — or their partners — under any circumstance.”
That sobering reality being understood, the discussion this morning on MSNBC seemed to focus on just what could be done in countries like the United Kingdom to help assimilate Muslims and keep them from wanting to wage militant jihad against Westerners, including Americans. And, after giving the problem a lot of thought, I think that is the wrong question.
I have come to the conclusion that rather than try to bend over frontwards and backwards, or rather than try to lean sideways in order to make militant-minded religious radicals of all stripes comfortable in our liberal, secular societies, we should instead make it easier, not harder, for them to join ISIS on the battlefield. If there are those among us who would rather link up with murderous, Allah-praising jihadists—those who behead and slaughter innocents and throw homosexuals off buildings and stone women to death and not only execute Christians and other non-Muslims but kill fellow Muslims—if there are a few among us who want to live that way, then we should not only allow them to do so, but we should make it easier for them. No barriers. Just let them go.
That is an easy way to rid ourselves of people who have no intention of peacefully living in a secular, freedom-loving society. In that weird sense, ISIS is doing all Western societies a favor. Their creepy jihadist magnetism, their strange and strangely appealing dreams of establishing a Caliphate, are actually performing a social good for us.
And if those ISIS-loving, Western-hating Westerners so choose, they can die for Allah—or for their own pathetic adventurism or misplaced radicalism—on the battlefield, as we pursue their psychopathically fundamentalist mentors.