Bloomberg View: “To Defeat Islamic State, Treat Muslims Better”


At last, we have hit on the solution to the global jihad onslaught: just be nicer to Muslims, you greasy Islamophobes. All those people in the Brussels airport — just think of how mean they were being to Muslims. Some of them may even have been drinking alcohol. Oh, the Islamophobia! And those people at that Christmas party in San Bernardino, California: if only they had dropped their radically Islamophobic stance of going about their business and getting together for a friendly party with their coworkers. How dare they provoke Muslims in that way!

Stop resisting jihad: if you really want to defeat it, don’t fight back. Let it happen, keep smiling, keep being nice. Anything you do to defend yourself and your country may provoke the poor dears and “poke them in the eye.” We can’t have that. It’s time to cut out all the Islamophobia and be nice for a change. Then when global peace ensues, we can sit down for a hearty lunch (no pork or beer, you Islamophobes) with the caliph al-Baghdadi and share a hearty laugh over the folly of all that conflict.

In the 1940s, did Bloomberg View run the headline, “Want to stop Nazism? Treat the Gestapo Better”?

“In other words, people don’t join the Islamic State because their countries are poor or in crisis or because bad economic conditions increase the pressure on outsider groups. They join when a wealthy society fails to integrate them so that they could share in the wealth. Resentment, a feeling of being left out appears to be a stronger motivation for the recruits than economic hardship.” In reality, the New York Times reported in March that “not long after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001…Alan B. Krueger, the Princeton economist, tested the widespread assumption that poverty was a key factor in the making of a terrorist. Mr. Krueger’s analysis of economic figures, polls, and data on suicide bombers and hate groups found no link between economic distress and terrorism.”

CNS News noted in September 2013 that “according to a Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009, ‘Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.’ One of the authors of the RAND report, Darcy Noricks, also found that according to a number of academic studies, ‘Terrorists turn out to be more rather than less educated than the general population.’”

So they’re more integrated, rather than less — and yet they still turn to jihad. But the possibility that they could be motivated by the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah is one that Bloomberg is resolutely determined to ignore. Nor does Bloomberg’s Leonid Bershidsky see fit to mention that Muslims in Europe in particular have generally resisted integration: one Muslim leader, Dyab Abou Jahjah, said a few years ago that “assimilation is cultural rape.” But never mind: for the paternalistic Left, it’s always the West’s fault.

Muslims weeping

“To Defeat Islamic State, Treat Muslims Better,” by Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg View, April 25, 2016:

It is intuitively appealing to connect the number of fighters a country sends to the Islamic State with poverty and inequality. The more desperate and economically downtrodden people are, the more likely it is that they’ll join a terrorist group, right? Wrong, recent research indicates: It’s much more likely that the reasons for the Islamic State’s recruitment success are cultural.

The terror militia has between 25,000 and 30,000 foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq. Disproportionate numbers of these radicals hail from Muslim nations: Tunisia alone is responsible for 6,000 of them, according to the Soufan Group.

Thomas Piketty, probably the most fashionable economist since the 2008 financial crisis, has linked the phenomenon to the high income inequality in Middle Eastern nations, which he argued the West had helped foster by letting oil sheiks get rich and share little of their wealth. He also wrote that austerity policies applied in the wake of the crisis drove up unemployment levels and with them “national egoisms and identity tensions” that make immigrants feel unwelcome in countries such as France, which is the biggest Western supplier of Islamic State fighters.

Efraim Benmelech of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and Esteban Klor from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem tested Piketty’s hypothesis in a recent paper and found it inconsistent with the data.

They looked for correlations between the number of Islamic State recruits and indicators of countries’ social, political and economic health and discovered that the terrorists’ success rate at drawing in a country’s citizens is higher in wealthier, not poorer countries. A 10 percent increase in a nation’s per capita economic output is linked with a 1.5 percentage point increase in the likelihood that its citizens will join the Islamic State. Among non-Muslim countries, it is associated with a 5.1 percent increase in the number of recruits. A higher Human Development Index is also positively correlated with the militia’s success in a country. There are, however, no such correlations with inequality or unemployment. Otherwise countries such as Austria and Sweden wouldn’t be among the top 20 countries by per capita Islamic State recruitment.

Benmelech and Klor suggested a different explanation for recruitment success: It’s positively correlated with homogeneity in a society. The less ethnically diverse a society is, the more likely outsiders such as immigrants or second- or third generation Muslims are likely to turn to terror. The economists wrote of the Western European nations that supply a relatively high number of fighters:

“The more homogenous the host country is the greater difficulty immigrants such as Muslims from the Middle East experience in assimilating. As other research has shown, isolation induces some of them to become radicalized.”

In other words, people don’t join the Islamic State because their countries are poor or in crisis or because bad economic conditions increase the pressure on outsider groups. They join when a wealthy society fails to integrate them so that they could share in the wealth. Resentment, a feeling of being left out appears to be a stronger motivation for the recruits than economic hardship….

Advertisements

Share your views

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s