Oh, what a remarkable morning!
The New York Police Department (NYPD) just released a 90-page report explaining how and why some young Muslims, some even richly possessed of the material advantages of living in western societies, become supporters of or even participants in the Salafi-jihadist movement that condones the killing of innocent humans.
By looking into the backgrounds of the jihadists involved in actual terrorist attacks on 9/11, in Madrid, Amsterdam and London and into the thwarted attacks in Australia and Canada plus examining our homegrown jihadist cells in Lackawana, Portland, Northern Virginia and New York City, the NYPD found some interesting similarities.
The NYPD study found four “triggers” that radicalize both native-born and naturalized Muslim males (ages 15-35) to become active participants of jihad against their “home” countries: “Economic (losing a job, blocked mobility); Social (alienation, discrimination, racism – real or perceived); Political (international conflicts involving Muslims), and Personal (death in the close family).”
One or more of these triggers caused these young Muslim males who were, otherwise, leading “unremarkable” lives to decide to do something “remarkable” by active involvement with the violent, Salafi-jihadist branch of Islam. (Interestingly, in 1949, Sayyid Qtub, the founder of Salafi Islam, became radicalized when he was a graduate student at the Colorado College of Education in Greeley.)
The desire of the converts to Salafi-jihad to do something “remarkable,” brings to mind Henry David Thoreau’s famous quote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” But a Harris Poll, released on August 15, 2007, found that 94-percent of Americans are happy with their lives. That is up four percentage points from a similar survey conducted two years ago.
While most Americans might be living what the Sinistra Media would term “unremarkable” lives, it appears they are not desperate as they go about their jobs, their family life and their involvement in their communities.
Meanwhile, the NYPD study reveals the presence of a dangerous minority within the larger Muslim community who are determined to become “remarkable” by supporting or conducting violent acts against their non-Muslim or even their non-Salafi Muslim neighbors.
Last Saturday, after being saddened by reading all 90 pages of the gloomy NYPD report, your humble correspondent and Wonder Wife witnessed a “remarkable” event. A predicted 5,000 motorcycle riders –people the Sinistra Media would probably term “unremarkable” – were gathering to honor America’s military.
At one of the assembly areas, we were privileged to share a pancake breakfast with members of the Patriot Guard Riders who, at the request of grieving military families, prevent protestors from intruding upon the solemnity of the funeral ceremonies for their loved ones. We swapped war stories with members of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association. We walked along a seemingly endless line of motorcycles thanking the riders for staging an event to thank America’s military veterans for their service and to show support for the brave young men and women who are confronting the jihadists in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Contrary to the anti-establishment bikers of the 1960s, these bikers of 2007 were intensely patriotic. Many were themselves military veterans and of every rank, from sergeant to colonel. When they rode in a column of twos out of their assembly area, it took a half hour for them to pass. Positioned to wave at each biker as he or she rode out, Wonder Wife almost wore out her arm.
Although they had been patiently sitting on their motorcycles for a couple of hours waiting for the parade to begin, when they roared out of their assembly area, not a scrap of trash was left behind. An interesting contrast to the mounds of trash the so-called environmentalists leave behind after their festivals and concerts.
Thus, a morning that began with the disturbing findings of the NYPD terrorism study was crowned by the spectacle of over 5,000 remarkable Americans riding off to join, many others in a salute to our veterans, our active-duty military, the MIAs, the POWs and their families. It turned out to be a rather remarkable morning.
Syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today, William Hamilton, is a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Naval War College and a former research fellow at the U.S. Military History Institute of the U.S. Army War College. He is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. Writing as William Penn, he and his wife are the co-authors of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – two thrillers about terrorism directed against the United States.
©2007. William Hamilton.