Terrorism's root causes

July 13, 2005|By Cal Thomas

PORTSTEWART, Northern Ireland - British politicians and much of the media in the United Kingdom are engaged in a familiar Western practice following a terrorist attack. They think they can explain it using Western standards.

Many Americans blamed the race riots of the 1960s on racism and unemployment, which contributed to hopelessness they said only equality and prosperity could solve. That most unemployed blacks did not riot escaped the mainly white sociologists and commentators who desired a "nonjudgmental" explanation for lawless behavior. Having abandoned a sense of personal responsibility for one's actions, the explainers and excusers of evil and illegal acts in America 40 years ago have been reincarnated in Britain.

Now it is unemployment and hopelessness among Muslims that are the root cause of terrorism. Finding jobs for them so they can drive nice cars, live in upscale flats and attend West End theaters supposedly will convert them to the British way of life.

Or maybe it is evil America that caused the terrorist attacks. If only the Americans had not invaded Iraq and dragged Britain along, perhaps Britain might have been spared the bus and tube bombings.

The Sunday Times of London carried a front-page story exploding the myth of a causal relationship between terrorism and poverty among Muslims. The newspaper reported on leaked documents that show al-Qaida is "secretly recruiting affluent, middle-class Muslims in British universities and colleges to carry out terrorist attacks" in Britain.

These are not Muslims without a future. These are bright and educated students who, if they wished, could be productive and prosperous members of British society. But many are embracing a theology that requires them to kill "infidels."

No amount of aid to the Palestinians, or resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, will pacify these current and potential killers. Even if Israel were obliterated (the goal of much of the Muslim world), the terror would continue until the entire world is under Islamic control.

This is not the belief of an "Islamophobic" bigot. This is what they say in their sermons and media, teach in their schools and believe in their hearts. It matters little that "the overwhelming majority of Muslims are not terrorists," to quote a familiar Western mantra. It matters a great deal that most terrorists are Muslims. The sooner Western leaders and Western media begin stating what is obvious to most people, the quicker the real root cause can be dealt with.

The excuses given by Westerners and many Muslim clerics for terrorism are just that: excuses.

If Britain and the West are guilty of failing to adequately address the "oppression" of Muslims in Kashmir and Chechnya, do they earn points for intervening in Bosnia to protect Muslims and sending billions to the Palestinian Authority?

Do America and Britain win friends among Muslims for allowing them to practice their faith openly? Why must America and Britain be held accountable for every perceived and actual slight against Muslims, but beheadings of Westerners receive little more than pro forma condemnation?

More than 25 years ago, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher noted that we in the West make a mistake when we transpose our morality on those who don't share it. Terrorists do not share and cannot be made to share our morality.

There will be no dM-itente, entente or peace treaty between the forces of darkness and those of light. As much as Western politicians may wish to avoid the true root cause of this war, they do so at the peril of their citizens. This is a religious war. The terrorists understand it as such. Too many in the secular and wimpishly religious West do not.

Cal Thomas' syndicated column appears Wednesdays in The Sun.

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