To conclude, European nations seemto have more radicalized Muslims in contrast to the United States. These factorsinclude but are not limited to issues within Europe’s law enforcement, policyformation and lack of border control. Its differing laws against freedom ofspeech and religion are a major contributor. Although they have improved onpreventing some terrorist threats, the holes in their system contribute to majorradicalization. In addition, many Muslims who become radicals feel they do notbelong in the country they live in, pushing them to join radical movements.
However,the U.S. continues to monitor closely any acts or possible threats ofradicalization and terrorism and has maintained this same mission since 9/11. U.S.laws about freedom of religion and freedom of speech keep radicalization atbay, despite the fact that Islamist seek to detonate these same Western rights.In the United States, spreadinghate speech and propaganda is considered a crime when its intention is to incite violence.
Like some laws, there arealways exceptions or regulations. While civilians in the U.S. are protected bytheir First Amendment right, U.S. law prohibits speech that could incite otherpeople to perform unlawful actions or engage in activities that are against thelaw.
Moreover, it prohibits forced proselytizing as well as discriminationbased on religion. Americans place a significantly high value on not only freedom ofspeech but freedom of religion. For this reason, law enforcement in Americahas managed to maintain radicalization activities lower. In contrast to Europe, there is a lower fraction of Muslim people inthe U.S. andwho arewell integrated into society with educational and employment levels. However, even thoughhomegrownterrorism and radicalization occur in the U.
S. it persists at lower levels. After 911,throughout the next years, homegrown terrorism became a major national securityconcern.The U.S. has invested vast resources in fightingterrorism and factors fueling terrorism activities, including violent radicalization.
Furthermore, geography is anotherproblem.Routesfor jihadist who flee across borders from wars in Iraq or Syria arefacilitated. It is easier to reach Europe than other Western countries, especiallythe U.S. It is has become blatantly clear that cross-border control andcooperation is something that should be worked on.
Especially after so manyjihads from Belgium have fled to Syria. Even though many of those who are radicalized tend to be victims ofdiscrimination, unemployment, and poverty in their Muslim community; many jihadisare converts who do not share these same disadvantages. Many people areinspired by stories read online, and use the internet as a source tocommunicate with radicals abroad. The internet and social media networks havebecome an excellent source for recruitment. Individuals who become radicalized or are attracted to Islamic extremism believe their actions arefor a higher purpose or become motivated by personal or psychological means.
It is easy for radicalization to occur through a network ofpeers, as seen in the article. Not many young radicals have a history ofreligious or political militancy. In fact, while many European radicals have aMuslim background; a lot of them are converts or second-generation Muslims. But for those who are ofMuslim background, integration becomes easier when individuals don’t fully feelaccepted in the country in which they inhabit.
Many Muslims have been raised in poor populationswithout any access to good health care, education and employment possibilities. Those who feel disconnected or a loss ofidentity aremore vulnerable to integrating into a jihadist subculture. This is evident with manyof the young jihadis who joined Sharia4Belgium, and who join otherorganizations. It can further be understood through Sageman’s model of radicalization.
According to this model,radicalization can be modeled and observed. It starts with alienated young men meeting otheryoung men and forming a bond. The group then moves toward a religion which is later depicted in militant terms. Even thoughsome groups stop at this point, often they end up meeting and joining aterrorist organization (White, 2017).
In urban areas, it iseasier to foster terrorist grounds and to recruit people when they are nothappy with how the system works. The failure to prevent the radicalization ofIslamic youth has become a centralized problem not only in Belgium but in mostof Europe. Although law enforcement is improving at identifying and preventingattacks, there are many gaps in terms of intelligence services, policies, andhow law enforcement and border patrol is structured and controlled. Despite programs and anti-radicalization campaigns, European governments have failed to prevent anumerous population from journeying to jihad and participating in violent radicalization. For one, laws andconceptions of equality and freedom of speech differ in European nations fromthe U.S. When it comes down to manifesting one’s religion publicly, state limitson freedom of speech must be considered. Also, many European countries areconsidered militant democracies.
Certain policies against hate speech have targetedcontentious but non-violent speech. Therefore, some ideas are given legal freespeech protection while others are not. These restrictions cause controversy and conflict. This can be seen through the banningof full face veils in public and certain institutions. In the U.S.
hate speech can only be banned ifits purpose is to engender and carry out violence. Americans value freedom ofspeech highly, while certain European nations limit individual rights. Thebanning of hijabs in public arouses resentment in many of the frustrated young individuals who come fromdisadvantaged communities.
This can lead to radical and violent extremism. Radicalization refers to the due process that results inpeople adopting radical stands on various issues such as political andsocial-economic matters. The radicalization process involves accepting ideasand ways of life that are contrary to the general views of the society. These views and newlyadopted ideals may lead to terrorism. Some individuals or groups further employ violence to promote these views, also calledviolent radicalization. The New Yorker article ‘Journey to Jihad’ byBen Taub, illustrates the story of why teenagers are joining ISIS.
There are several reasonswhy Muslims from Europe appear to be more susceptible to radicalization unlikeMuslims from the United States. These reasons have resulted in Europecontributing a bigger percentage of radicalized Muslims who join Islamic groups.