“This is not the radicalization of Islam, but the Islamization of radicalism”

France’s Oedipal Islamist Complex

http://foreignpolicy.com/: France is at war! Perhaps. But against whom or what?

Last November, when the Islamic State staged the shootings that killed 130 in Paris, it did not send Syrians. A year ago, when al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula purportedly ordered the deadly attack on the office ofCharlie Hebdo, it did not send gunmen from Yemen. Rather, both groups drew from a reservoir of radicalized French youth who, no matter what happens in the Middle East, are already disaffected and are seeking a cause, a label, a grand narrative to which they can add the bloody signature of their personal revolt.

The rallying cry of these youth is opportunistic: Today it is the Islamic State; yesterday, they were with al Qaeda; before that, in 1995, they were subcontractors for the Algerian Armed Islamic Group, or they practiced the nomadism of personal jihad, from Bosnia to Afghanistan, by way of Chechnya. Tomorrow they will fight under another banner, so long as combat death, age, or disillusion do not empty their ranks.

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There is no third, fourth, or nth generation of jihadis. Since 1996, we have been confronted with a very stable phenomenon: the radicalization of two categories of French youth — second-generation Muslims and native converts. The essential problem for France, therefore, is not the caliphate in the Syrian desert, which will disappear sooner or later, like an old mirage that has become a nightmare. The problem is the revolt of these youth. And the real challenge is to understand what these youth represent: whether they are the vanguard of an approaching war or, on the contrary, are just a rumbling of history.

* * *

Two readings of the situation dominate at the moment and are shaping the debates on television and in the opinion pages of newspapers: These are, basically, the cultural explanation and the Third World explanation.

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1 reply

  1. The world is at war with Islam. Because people who follow that cult r nuts. Their is no radicalization of Islam. They r following Mohammad war teachings, be it physically killing or Taqiyya it’s all Islam.
    Guardian you r becoming pro Muslim and anti Christian, about time some knows who owns your magazine now

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