Yes, yes, yes
Posted December 14, 2006on:
Aziz Huq reviews two books that address, from different perspectives, the divide in continental Europe between self-identified Muslim minorities and the various national majorities (via Laila Lalami). This passage struck me in particular because I always get the impression that some feel that if you try to understand and explain the reasons people resort to violence you are justifying it. The brazen aversion to thought of that position never fails to make me breathless.
To understand that alienation, racism, and the deprivation of opportunity is the soil in which violent radicalism might grow is not the same as justifying or condoning violence. People who are wronged can, and often do, commit even greater wrongs in their misguided efforts at revenge. Indeed, perceived incidents of anti-Muslim bias in Europe often trigger reactions among Muslims that are far more hateful, bigoted and stupid than the initial incident.
This understanding, nevertheless, is important if European governments are to stall the growth of oppositional ideologies among Muslim minorities.