It was surreal to see CNN the other night (12/07/15 EST) alternating headlines between revelations about how the couple behind the Islamic terror attack in San Bernardino were “radicalized for ‘quite some time'” and bashing Donald Trump for trying to address the problem of Muslim terrorist infiltration in the U.S.
MSM navel-gazing about how a Muslim could be mysteriously “radicalized”—as if entering a black box then emerging from it—is nothing more than a red herring, just another mechanism to obscure the linkage between Islam and terrorism. It’s also consistent with the victimization narrative that so dominates our society: the passive construction of the word “radicalized” implies that it creates victims who have had some vague action done upon them as opposed to having made their own decisions for which they are accountable.
To hear the media tell it (with due credit to South Park), some sequence of events like this occurs:
While it’s trivial to observe that not all Muslims are “radical” in the sense that they wish to terrorize and kill non-Muslim populations or are sympathetic to those who do, it is also equally obvious that something inherent in Islam promotes “radicalization.” Anyone who attended an Islamic school (i.e., almost everyone) in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, or the Palestinian territories—or any number of madrassas in many countries in the world—has been “radicalized.”
A better heuristic to understand the phenomenon of Islamic terrorism might be to explore how so many Muslims have become de-radicalized in light of the societies from which they have emerged.