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Calvin Freiburger

Hanson’s Refresher on Islamism (Paulites Take Note)

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Posted on January 9 2010 12:40 am
Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College. He also writes for the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.
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Most of the current acrimony over counterterrorism is stale. The debate is simply a rehash of issues that were discussed and, in fact, resolved early last decade.

Let us review them one more time.

MOST TERRORISTS ARE NOT POOR AND DOWNTRODDEN
September 11 taught us that a Mohammed Atta or a Khalid Sheikh Mohammed does not commit mass murder out of hunger, want, illiteracy, or Western oppression.

No doubt Middle Eastern poverty contributes to religious violence. But the poor in Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Yemen are no more impoverished than those in the slums of São Paulo, Mexico City, Ho Chi Minh City, or Johannesburg. And the latter, despite their frequent claims against the West, do not feel a need to murder in mass in the name of their particular religion.

A Major Nidal Hasan or an Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab wishes to kill Westerners not because he is poor or even on behalf of the poor, but rather out of a warped sense of pride, hurt, and anger.

Such passions derive from a radical religious creed that insists that comparative failure in the modern Middle East is not self-induced — much less a product of fundamentalism, anti-Enlightenment thinking, autocracy, gender apartheid, tribalism, corruption, and statism. Instead the fact that there is no longer an intercontinental caliphate of rich and powerful believers is due to some sort of contemporary Jewish or Western oppression.

The wealthier, better educated, and more Westernized the radical Muslim, often the greater the sense of shame, alienation, and anger that he and his religion are not shown proper deference. We knew all that in 2001, but have apparently forgotten it during eight years of relative calm.

Read the rest at National Review Online.

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