A short comment on the mindset of European terrorists

Much has been made of the dissolute lifestyles and paucity of religious knowledge of many of Europe’s current generation of terrorists. In my personal experience young Muslims who ostensibly live thoroughly Westernised lifestyles, indulging the same vices as their non-Muslim counterparts, tend to be beset by a deep sense of inner conflict, touching on depression. It is probably best explained as an internalised self-loathing for being too weak to resist the voluptuary lifestyle of the West. Whereas most eventually come to terms with their frailties, explaining them away as the contagion of a permissive milieu, when such self-loathing combines with experiences of racism, economic desperation and foreign policy grievances some are left desperately seeking a remedy. Such individuals are then highly susceptible to the saccharine offer of guaranteed absolution and passage to a better place viz. paradise. In some ways it’s akin to the mentality of the impoverished who play the lottery seeking that lucky escape from their interminably grim existence; except in this case the odds presented are not 40 million to one but rather a dead certainty.

The impoverished suburbs of European cities are currently home to hundreds of thousands of young 2nd/3rd generation Muslim men trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of petty crime and low paid employment. Many have experienced the sharp edge of institutional racism from the police or in the labour market (or both). Religious observance for such men tends not to exceed a weekly appearance at Friday congregational prayers. Saturday nights mostly a heady mix of drink, drugs and casual sex. To such men, Islamic State’s clarion call to murder offers an escape from this anomie and the promise of absolution followed by eternal bliss. All one has to do is use a car, truck, gun, knife or any combination thereof, to murder as many of their fellow citizens as possible before succumbing to the inevitable hail of police gunfire. Time will tell but unless European governments decide to engage in meaningful dialogue with their respective Muslim communities (and especially with those who command the respect of the mainstream), rather than ploughing yet more money into futile projects to promote liberalism and secularisation, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel is unlikely to be the last man to take up such an offer.

May the peace and blessings of Allah (swt) be upon Sayyidina Muhammad. Ameen.



4 Comments Add yours

  1. Imran says:


    Have you read this by Gladwell? Its written in the context of the mass shootings in the US but I do wonder if some of these dynamics are not playing out in other communities too.

    This theory is not without its detractors but at least he tries to make an effort to understand beyond the usual platitudes.


    1. I haven’t. Skimmed it just now. Some seriously messed up people in the world. But thanks for your comment and yes we need to move beyond the usual platitudes.

  2. Salaams,

    So to summarise – European Muslim men thrash around in ever decreasing circles, with IS offering an intoxicating clarion call / exit strategy. It’s beyond depressing…

    100%, ill thought through government engagement will exacerbate the problem, but what of the internal/Muslim response? Who has to take the reigns here? Theresa May or Muslim communities ourselves?

    1. Wasalaam

      Yes it is depressing. Of course as Muslims we have a duty to dissuade our young men and women from committing the types of heinous crimes such as we witnessed in Nice last week yet all our efforts will be to no avail if Western governments continue with their current disastrous foreign policy of interference in the Muslim world. That includes aiding and abetting Israeli brutality towards the Palestinians and supporting tyrannical regimes such as Sisi’s. Groups such as IS are the culmination of decades of such a policy. Countries such as France would also be advised to devise a strategy of raicing the economic status of its minority communities via investment in education and increasing opportunities for upward social mobility. Just my two pennies worth.

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