Terrorism is not random

The Venn-diagram overlap between the world’s Muslims and the world’s terrorists may be small, but it is not trivial, and the confrontation between the Islamic world and the West puts a cold light on areas of concern beyond political violence. In the Islamic world itself, we see a heritage of high culture and great civilizational achievements, but a great deal of it looks like Karachi at the high end and rural Yemen at the low end: violent, backward, cruel, and uninterested in progress to the extent that “progress” is synonymous with Westernization — which, multiculturalist pieties notwithstanding, it is. Even if you set aside the propensity of certain Muslim fanatics to bomb pizza shops and to name public plazas in celebration of fanatics who bomb pizza shops, there’s still a lot of real life as lived in Afghanistan or Egypt that just isn’t going to fly in Chicago. In places such as Minneapolis, we have done a fairly poor job integrating the relatively small number of Muslim immigrants we already have.

And that is of some intense concern in light of the experiences of the many Western European metropolises that are today home to large and poorly assimilated Muslim minority populations, immigrants and the children and grandchildren of immigrants, a non-trivial number of whom are not especially interested in becoming German, Dutch, Swedish, French, or British. It is from among this population that international terrorist networks are able to recruit their local boots on the ground, maladjusted misfits and losers (for once, the president’s penchant for insults is appropriate) such as Omar Mateen and Salman Abedi and the Tsarnaev brothers. It may very well be the case that 99 out of 100 members of Muslim immigrant communities reject jihadism and Islamic supremacism, but the 100th man is Salman Abedi. If you happened to live in a city that does not have a significant, poorly assimilated Muslim minority population on the Malmö model, would you want one? Why? Maybe there is invidious prejudice in that, but that is not all there is to it.