Friday, August 20, 2010

Do anti-Islam protests cause radicalization?

The New York Times reports:
Some counterterrorism experts say the anti-Muslim sentiment that has saturated the airwaves and blogs in the debate over plans for an Islamic center near ground zero in Lower Manhattan is playing into the hands of extremists by bolstering their claims that the United States is hostile to Islam.
The evidence the experts in question site is that radical and terrorist Islamic organizations are reporting the protests with seeming glee.

It is no surprise that al Qaeda and the likes would seize upon all of this, but I have to wonder what kind of impact it really has on radicalization. I can't see the Islamic world becoming any more radicalized against the United States just because a lot of US citizens equate Muslims with terrorists. I tend to think that those in the Islamic world who have not already become radicalized by religious or foreign policy concerns will not become radicalized by the domestic hostility of many American non-Muslims toward American Muslims. They may deplore that hostility, but would it really cause them to wish to kill Americans indiscriminately, any more than the mistreatment of non-Muslims in some Islamic nations causes those of us not already radicalized to wish to kill Muslims wholesale?

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