The impunity to which Western countries have given Islamist/extremist preachers and imams in mosques have given rise to a climate of radicalization in the next generation of Muslims. It is a phenomenon that Western governments will need to confront if they hope to eradicate the terrorism plaguing today’s world.
One of the greatest tactics used is to radicalize Muslim youth is the narrative of victimization.
As anti-Islamist activist Majid Naawaz writes in his gripping autobiography, Radical: My Journey out of Islamist Extremism, “How easy it is for a victim to construct a narrative out of half-truths and inspire thousands in the name of righteous indignation.”
Hours before the Paris attack, in the Friday sermon at Aicha Mosque in Montpellier, France, Imam Mohamed Khattabi wove his net of “half-truths” to do just that (click here to see the full video below).
Meanwhile, the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr. Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, in his comments about the Paris attack named the “causative factors” of terrorism. In the mufti’s mind, “racism, Islamophobia, curtailing freedoms through securitisation [sic], duplicitous foreign policies and military interventions” are what causes terrorism. Each of these “factors” speaks to the victimization narrative.
As a blogger writes in the Australian Herald Sun, “The statement is a disgrace. Worse, it is dangerous and ominous … According to the Mufti and his imams, the main “causative factors” behind the kind of terrorism visited on Paris … have nothing to do even with interpretations of the Koran.
“In fact, even the Islamic State – which claimed credit for the mass-murder – is not mentioned as a “causative factor” … No mention even of the Muslim countries, like Iran and Saudi Arabia, which sponsor extremists and terrorists. There is only that familiar and lethal victimology – an accusation that the horrors unleashed in Paris and elsewhere are driven by the cruelty the West inflicts on Muslims.”
While the West has certainly made mistakes (which should be acknowledged), Western leaders need to call out this false narrative, expose its falsity and regain the trust of their Muslim citizens.
Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org