The myth of “homegrown” jihadists

(Note: see follow-up entry about “home-grown” jihadist Daniel Patrick Boyd.)

The latest unreflective phrase replete with liberal assumptions to enter the lexicon is “homegrown radicals”:

  • Judith Miller has an article at City Journal: “Apple-Pie Jihad: Homegrown terror takes root,” about the increasing number of U.S.-born Muslims who become jihadists.

  • Lydia Khalil, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, writes in the October 27 Boston Globe: “The apprehension last week of Sudbury native Tarek Mehanna is the fifth terrorism-related arrest in the United States in as many months, putting homegrown radicalism back on the radar screen.”

  • FBI director Mueller warns that “homegrown radicals, rather than foreign terrorists,” are infiltrating the country.

  • The UPI reports: “Homegrown U.S. terror called more likely … Terrorism analysts say the most likely attack in the United States would be similar to the 2005 subway bombings in London, which were carried out by homegrown radicals inspired by Internet jihadist Web sites.”

Phrases such as “home grown radicals” and “homegrown terrorists” are false and misleading. These people are NOT homegrown—meaning, they are NOT products of America and apple pie. They are NOT “British boys, born and bred,” as the British press with idiotic sentimentality and wounded feelings kept referring to the July 2005 bombers. They are Muslims, and it is the soil of Islam, wherever they happen to reside geographically, in which they have grown.

Describing a Muslim jihadist, even if he was born in the United States, as “homegrown” (i.e. as a product of America), is as false and offensive as describing an illegal alien, who entered the U.S. six weeks ago and raped and killed an American woman, as a “Denver man” or a “Dubuque man.” Such phrases insensibly eliminate the distinctions between the West and Islam, between our country and foreign countries, between our people and alien peoples.

- end of initial entry -

Canadian leftist Ken Hechtman writes:

I’m surprised you’re giving away something this big this easily.

Suppose a man born and raised in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia sneaks into the country on a forged passport with the intention of blowing something up. That’s Homeland Security’s failure and they have to answer for it but nobody else does. But if a Muslim born and raised here blows something up, that’s a lot of people’s failure. It’s the failure of everyone, myself included, who ever said Muslim immigrants can and should be assimilated.

True story: I argued this question out with Robert Fisk a few years ago, right after the Operation Thread arrests in Toronto. He took your position, that it was vitally important to identify the alleged conspirators by their ancestral homelands. Otherwise, he said, people might forget there was a problem over there.

LA replies:

But if I went along with the “homegrown jihadist” phrase, as you’re suggesting I should, I’d be validating the notion that Muslims are basically just like us and can be assimilated, and therefore that it’s a shock when a “born and bred” [American, Briton, Canadian] turns radical. By contrast, in challenging the very notion of “homegrown” jihadists, I’m stating that Muslims can never be a part of us, can never be assimilated, an assertion which the “homegrown” jihadist phenomenon actually proves. So I’m not giving anything away. I’m winning the argument.

Expatriot writes:

Regarding the myth of “homegrown” jihad, a related point needs to be stressed. Just as foreign Muslim enemies are not of us, the contrapositive is also true: so-called Muslim friends, i.e. those who actually end up assimilating or taking our side, cannot be true Muslims. Allowing them to continue identifying themselves as Muslims only muddies the waters and enables liberals to continue using their “moderate Muslim majority” argument. Whenever nominal Muslims disavow authoritative Muslim teachings and claim not to support the imposition of Sharia law, we should challenge their assertion that they are Muslims and point out that their own position makes them apostates. This would be superior to the typical conservative response of merely challenging them to prove their sincerity—an argument which inevitably produces nothing more than endless back-and-forth gainsaying, since sincerity is something that can never be proved to the satisfaction of a skeptic, especially in light of the Islamic doctrine of taqiyya. We have no way of looking into a person’s heart, but we can very well look into the Quran and other authoritative texts of Islam. We should be welcoming their disavowal of the principles of Islam, regardless of any doubts about their sincerity, insisting only that they call themselves what they truly are: apostates. While most of them would be reluctant to acknowledge the validity of our position, it would have the salutary effect of shifting the focus of the debate away from the subjective feelings of individuals onto the objective teachings of Islam.

Glynn Custred (here are links to his articles) writes:

You make a very good point here. Part of the “home grown” rhetoric, I believe, is an attempt to reduce the distance between us and the enemy by domesticating it as much as possible in an attempt to avoid the kind of polarization that acts of low intensity warfare provoke.

December 18

Howard Sutherland writes:

This is exactly right, and the analogy to the mainstream media’s lying descriptions of illegal alien criminals as, e.g., “Colorado man,” ‘New Yorker” or “Texan” is precisely on point.

But what to call these emphatically not-“homegrown” jihadists? There is no way anything Islamic can be home-grown in the West, as Islam is utterly alien to Western civilization and irredeemably hostile to it (to say nothing of its violent contempt for the West’s founding faith, Christianity, and Christianity’s faith-ancestor, Judaism). Anything that implies that Islam is “at home” in the West is a lie. So, lethally implanted jihadists, perhaps?

I’m not coming up with the right term, but I’m sure there is one.

Merry Christmas! Christianity: the best antidote to Islam. If only Christian leaders—I don’t exempt the Pope—would be less “ecumenical” and more forthright about proclaiming the truth of Christianity and the obvious converse: the falsity and spiritual and physical harm of Islam. Not only to those the mujahids blow up, but to the Moslems themselves.

Maybe in the New Year … HRS

Donna E. writes:

I totally agree. Our President has been seen praying to Allah in a Mosque. He learned that as a child and is a immersed in Muslim thinking and just like trying to learn a language other than the one you have used all your life, you will always think in that language, so our President will always think in favor of Muslim teaching and culture. Our nation has never been in such peril because we refuse to acknowledge the danger of the ‘multi-cultural’ chaos we have placed ourselves in. We refuse also to believe that this man is also a Marxist which is obvious by the company he keeps and the ideology that he is pushing on our country.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 17, 2009 01:12 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):