What can turn nice Western Muslim boys into bomb-wielding terrorists?

Surprise!  It’s the same thing that turns non-Muslim boys into bomb-wielding terrorists.  How did it not occur to me before?  For those who haven’t guessed, here’s some hints:  it starts with a “U”, and I work at one.  Is it any wonder that an environment that makes kids think it’s cool to go around wearing T-shirts with pictures of psychopathic mass-murderer Che Guevara might make it more likely that a minority of these kids will act on their own mass-homocidal impulses?

3 Responses

  1. Just a concentrator or, for us religious folks, a church; but the same ingredients are everywhere else in our debauched and poisonous society.


  2. I think the university contributes to radical chic and radical islam in slightly different ways. Radical chic flourishes in the soft disciplines (I’m a professor in one of them) because these disciplines largely consist of spongy ideas that can be put together almost any way one likes. The middle class radical student begins to think the world consists of spongy things that can be put together almost any way he or she likes, and the fact that it isn’t put together that way must be due to a sinister capitalist-racist-sexist conspiracy. Some of them recover from this radical anti-realism, some don’t.

    My impression is that radical islamic students frequently emerge from hard disciplines, especially engineering. What they learn from the general milieu of the university is that the West hates itself almost as much as they hate the West, and so it is not nearly as powerful as it appears. Their reasons for hating the west come from sources outside the university. What the university teaches them is to despise the West.

  3. Hi JMsmith,

    You may be right about the different experiences of people in the “hard” and “soft” disciplines. Majoring in physics at the University of Illinois, I was thankfully spared a lot of the propaganda. You always get some of it, though. In addition to the general milieu, there’s the gen. ed. requirements that exist mainly for this purpose. I remember a while back reading an essay by Martha Nussbaum (I think it was); she had visited India and was outraged that Indians were coming out of college with all this technical knowledge but with their Hindu and nationalist loyalties intact. As far as she was concerned, the universities weren’t doing their job over there, which just shows that it’s all about indoctrination with these people.

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