Teenage jihadists in your suburban home!
Begin with two key (and obvious) facts: the median age in the Muslim world is around 25, and young people have always been assigned the role of ground-level fighters by all nations and organizations, officially sanctioned or otherwise, throughout history. So, it is no more shocking that fighters for the violent Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists in Syria and Iraq would be “young people” than for any other enterprise.
Yet, The New Yorker, MSNBC, President Obama, and other mainstream and liberal/Left voices act as if the vanishingly tiny number of Muslim teenagers and young adults living in the United States and Western Europe who have joined, or attempted to join, ISIS, are just typical suburban kids. In the words of a former FBI agent quoted fawningly in the New Yorker: “Young people see videos on YouTube, they see speeches and sermons, they get really emotional… They don’t think, Is this a legitimate narrative, a legitimate religion? They don’t think about whether it’s the right thing to do.”
“ISIS’s message is increasingly resonant with Western youth” with a social-media “message that is proving romantic, heroic and alluring,” the Department of Homeland Security warned, without presenting evidence of increased allure. Law enforcement, “communities and families (have) to be on the lookout and to be vigilant about the potential that their youth are being drawn like the Pied Piper to this movement in the Middle East,” breathed CBS News Senior National Security Analyst Juan Zarate. “They (teenagers) are really romantic,” an MSNBC commentator scoffed.
Naturally, President Obama, who never misses a chance to trash teenagers (and grab worshipful press accolades), described the fight against ISIS recruiting of “young people” as a “generational challenge” in which shocked and wise older folks – law enforcement, parents, educators, religious leaders, government – must band together to straighten out the hordes of starry-eyed little bomb-tossing, gunfire-spraying, ax-swinging terrorist wannabes.
So, given that being unthinkingly seduced by social media into emotionally running off to Iraq to join militant jihadists is some kind of natural “teenage” behavior cops and parents in every community should be worried about, how many hundreds of thousands or millions of U.S. youth have actually done so? The DHS estimates a whopping total of 18 U.S. citizens who “tend to be between the ages 18 and 29” actually have joined ISIS.
Assume, arbitrarily, it’s 10 times that many. There are 60 million 18-29 year-olds in the United States. And, in a demographic nuance commentators seem unable to grasp, most 18-29 year-olds are not “teenagers,” let alone high schoolers. Or that, anecdotes aside, most terrorists, from Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and Kansas abortion-doctor assassin Scott Roeder to Osama bin Laden and the Charlie Hebdo attackers, are long past teen ages.
What about European teenagers, accused even more vehemently of romanticizing ISIS? A Russian news agency poll found very mixed results. ISIS support was strongest in France (16%) among all ages but particularly among the young (27%); weaker in the U.K. (7%), with considerably more support for ISIS among older people (11%) than younger ones (4%); and even weaker in Germany (2%), with little difference by age. Unlike the primitive U.S. teens-are-stupid commentaries, French analysts noted the contexts of support for ISIS: the 40% unemployment rate among young Muslims, traditional resentment of France’s colonial atrocities in North Africa, and a reaction against anti-Muslim intolerance.
Overlooked in yet another round of American teen-bashing is the shocking reality of the original funders of ISIS, who decidedly are NOT young people: “government or private sources in the oil-rich nations of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait—and a large network of private donors, including Persian Gulf royalty, businessmen and wealthy families.” There’s the real, impolitic story of the U.S.’s strongest allies in the region funding ISIS that has gone completely overlooked as American officialdom and media raise panics that “your teen” will suddenly dash off to slaughter for the caliphate.
Why do progressives join in such moronic anti-youth clamor? After all, mainstream liberals and the Left are vocal in rejecting right-wing scapegoating of Muslims for terrorism. To briefly review the logic:
- While ISIS is Muslim in the same sense that the Klan is white, only a tiny fraction of Muslims join or support violent terrorism just as very few whites join the Klan.
- Terrorist organizations exist for groups other than Muslims (i.e., the Klan and whites).
- Imposing collective guilt on (and assigning collective traits to) an entire group for the actions of a tiny fraction of the group’s number is crude bigotry.
Seems simple, right? Introduction to Modern Thinking 1. Why, then, do progressives abandon their anti-bigotry ideals when it comes to accusing teenagers of being natural-born terrorists? Is it just because they can? (Mike Males, 7/20/2015)