British City Linked To Islamic Jihadis Winces And Wonders Why Or Something

Navel gazing while missing all the lint

British City Linked to Jihadis Winces and Asks Why

Outside the Maasha’Allah internet cafe, Mohammed Hussain raised his voice over the recorded Quranic verses blaring from the abaya shop two doors down. He was furious that Britain’s latest terrorist attacker had amplified his city’s stigma.

“Why do all the jihadis come to Birmingham?” he half-shouted, prompting a passing group of teenage girls in bright-colored head scarves to frown, then giggle.

Exaggeration or not, many people are asking that question. Khalid Masood, 52, the Briton responsible for the deadly attack outside Parliament last week, remains a puzzle to investigators working on how, why and when he was radicalized.

But one aspect is familiar: He had a connection to Birmingham, having moved almost a year ago to this city of 1.1 million, where more than than one in five residents declare Islam as their religion.

Birmingham is chock full of Islamist extremists. It has been linked to many, many, many attacks and plots. I wonder why

Members of Birmingham’s Muslim communities acknowledged the linkage between their city and Islamist extremism, which many attribute to poverty and drug abuse that make youths vulnerable to jihadist recruiters who operate like gangs. But Muslims in Birmingham also deeply resent what they see as a grossly unfair reputation, countering that most residents are proud and law-abiding.

In other words, this is turning into yet another attempt to protect the extremists in Islam, a section of the religion that continues to grow. Poverty and drugs? Maybe for a small number, but, why not consider all the extremism being preached in the mosques and Islamic schools? Why not consider that Islamic leaders are teaching an extremist view of Islam, a more fundamentalist view, which then leads Muslims to the jihadi viewpoint?

Nonetheless, Birmingham, Britain’s second-biggest city behind London, has produced a disproportionate number of convicted Islamist militants, including some linked to the Sept. 11 attacks, and to last year’s bombings in Brussels.

So many Islamist militants have been born in Birmingham — or have passed through — that the Birmingham Mail newspaper once lamented that the city had the dubious distinction of “Terror Central.”

The problem is Islam, and, until the so-called moderates attempt to take control of their religion, those with hardcore viewpoints will continue indoctrinating others into those viewpoints. No, not all will turn into jihadis willing to fight. But, enough will. Some do attempt to counter the extremism. But, as long as they are still teaching Islam like it’s an 8th century religion, that women are second class citizens, that gays should be hung till dead, that women can’t drive, that they cannot go out in public with heads uncovered, and so much more, they will be exposing their members to the hardcore elements.

Interesting food for thought from the article

Mr. Videcette, the former counterterrorism official, said extremist networks are run “like the mafia” and include bookshops that sell extremist literature. They also organize tours and talks involving hate preachers, he said, and use some mosques to raise funds.

“It’s a business for them,” he said. “When we say terrorism, people tend to think it’s about religion. It’s not. This is always about money.”

One man in Britain who blurred the boundary between religion and violent extremism is Anjem Choudary, a founder of Al Muhajiroun, which is classified as a terror organization.

Mr. Choudary, who is now in prison after he was convicted last year of encouraging support for the Islamic State, had preached in Birmingham several times in recent years. His entourage would arrive in big vans on Coventry Road, an area associated with conservative Islam, preaching and distributing leaflets.

“They turned religion into a gang-type thing, with thugs around him saying, ‘Come join our gang,’” said Mr. Ashfaq, the director of Kikit. Their message, he said, was “you can be cool, you can become a gangster jihadi.”

That may work in Birmingham. How about in the Muslim nations around the world?

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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