The 60 Minutes interview with Hassan Butt--a former terrorist recruiter in Britain who, apparently, is now going straight--was very interesting. Hassan Butt claims that one of the best recruiting tools for guys like him is that the Imams would give them permission to marry whomever they liked (provided she was Muslim) if they joined the cause. Otherwise, as is still customary among more traditional elements of Islam, they might be forced into an arranged marriage.
At the same time that this came out I was reading this review of Mark Steyn’s America Alone by Theodore Dalrymple in the latest CRB. In it, Dalrymple argues that one thing Steyn misses or--at any rate does not convey as fully as Dalrymple might like--is how attractive radical Islam is to young Muslim men in the west who wish to dominate women:
The principal immediate attraction of Islam to young Muslims brought up in the West is actually the control and oppression of women. After all, if you can be sultan of your own home, you need hardly look elsewhere for a sense of achievement or importance; this is hard luck on the women, of course, but it does give a clue as to what les jeunes were fighting for during France’s riots in autumn 2005. They wanted extra-territoriality, as it were, free from the incursions of the French state, so that in their slums they could continue their one economic activity, drug-dealing, and their domination of women without interruption.
Now, both of these arguments, taken by themselves, seem to make a great deal of sense. I’m not sure how or if they fit together, but I am inclined to think that they do. Another part of Dalrymple’s review alludes to Steyn’s thesis that the worst bits of Islamic and of Western culture have come together among certain elements of radical Islam--particularly in the West. Dalrymple (perhaps quoting Steyn) calls it the "multiculturalist equivalent of the Black Mass." That may be. But I wonder if it might more aptly be described as the Jihad equivalent of LA street gang culture. In all thuggish sub-cultures, there is this element of dominating and using women. Perhaps the western recruits Mr. Butt was after had only been westernized enough to want to choose their own B****?
I am not prepared to offer a fully digested thesis about this--but all of this begs a host of other questions on the subject of relations between the sexes in the West. I would not head down the path of D’Souza and suggest that they hate us because of our feminism--but I might suggest that feminism has made it more difficult for the West to assimilate these young men. The parallels between the activities and motivations of these young radical Muslims and the activities of young disaffected black and Latino men in street gangs are striking. One should be careful of overdoing the comparison--but failing to notice the similarities is intellectually dishonest.
The war that the West is engaged in is at least as much about persuasion and conversion as it is about battles and national security. If we are facing a situation--and I think it is fair to say that we are--where there is a significant number of young men born and raised in the West who, having not been sufficiently convinced of Western culture’s superiority in all those years of western education, have flocked to the closest radical Mosque in search of answers . . . it may be fair to ask if we’ve done something wrong. That is not to say that we deserve what we’re getting, but rather to suggest that we need to re-think our defense of ourselves. Perhaps we could use a surge here too.