Saturday, 6 November 2010
Daniel has that excellent ability to squeak out issues that many other commentators have missed entirely, and then brutally nail that issue home, usually showing how ridiculous one leftist policy or another really is. Sure enough, he has done the same today with an excellent article on the disproportionate amount of Islamic extremists who just happen to be claiming welfare in Britain.
Now, apart from the obvious outrage that always ensues when we find out that our taxes are going towards funding the families and lifestyles of people who would like nothing more than to kill our citizens and blow up our buildings, Hannan's point goes deeper and asks whether welfare dependency is in fact a contributive factor in the extremism we see in many young men in Britain.
Now, before my readers start getting upset, thinking that I have gone soft, I am not arguing that it is all our fault, and that terrorist are all just poor victims etc etc. What I am arguing (and I believe Mr Hannan is as well although he does not say so specifically) is that Islamic terrorists and those who sympathise with them, before they attack anyone, first have to create a world of make believe for themselves.
This isn't just meant in a religious sense, but in the sense that they sit around with a false view of the world, completely separate from it, and have no interaction with the people that they hate so much. Jobs, and more specifically integration into the capitalist system, helps to solve this problem.
By this I mean that it is much harder to hate "Western Civilisation" if you are a living, breathing part of it, or connected to it in some way. So if you are an English Muslim who gets up every morning, prays, and then simply scowls at people who are on their way to work, it is a lot easier to convince yourself that they are the enemy. However, if you are part of that group of people making the commute to work, you quickly realise that they are just trying to make it, and be self-sufficient. Plus, it instills ambition - the idea that there are goals and aims that one might want to achieve in this life, not just the next. The focus becomes on providing for one's loved ones, and for oneself, as opposed to simply sitting around hating people
This can be shown on a global scale as well. Countries that become more globalised and enter into the capitalist system are generally more moderate than those that are not. Vali Nasr is an excellent author on this issue (I have mentioned his name before) and he points to Turkey, which has much more moderate strains of Islam as opposed to places such as Iran. The reason for this is that Iran has a boxed-in mentality of us vs them, hatred of everyone else who is not a fundamentalist. However, Turkey has entered into the capitalist system, and it is much harder to hate those who your are trading with.
So, while on the international scale we can work to push capitalist models in those extremist countries, and to encourage the growth of an Islamic middle class, we can also do that closer to home by ending welfare dependency. The idea that we can essentially pay young British Muslims to stop holding radical ideas is nonsensical. These people need to integrate themeselves into the societies in which they live. This will ultimately not be done by expensive government programs, schemes, and initiatives, but by forcing them to provide for themselves and their families.
The rise of an Islamic middle class both in Britain and internationally is nothing to fear, but this will not be created by pandering to nations like Iran, and handing out overly generous welfare payments to those at home who hate the country in which they live.