So, I'm at the gym tonight trying to work off some of my new Molson Muscle that has been added over the holidays.
As I'm about to get on the stationary bikes, I decide to grab a magazine and as I'm choosing between a Sports Illustrated with a story about Brett Favre and another with a story about Alex Rodriguez, I happen to notice an issue of the Economist lying there. I'm not sure where the gym got an issue of the Economist from; I can only assume it was either a freebie or it fell out of some chartered accountant's pocket. Anyway, this particular issue (from June) had a front page teaser about Islam in Europe.
Essentially, the article was looking at the way Muslims have adapted (or not adapted) in Europe and the US. It was pretty interesting. According to the writer and some of those interviewed, Europe has such a problem with Islam because it has no idea had to help Muslims adapt to a western secular society. On the flip side, Muslims in the US seem to adapt quite well because the US is all about pulling yourself up by your socks and forging a life for yourself while Europe is all about coddling people from the moment they slip from between their mama's thighs to the moment they slip from this mortal coil.
But, one thing shocked me: the Economist actually had the nerve to cite economics as a reason for the rise of terrorism. This is complete and utter bullshit and has been proven so in numerous studies of terrorists, their aims and their backgrounds.
Most of the 9/11 terrorists, as I remember, came from middle to upper-middle to rich backgrounds. bin Laden, himself, is a member of one of the wealthiest families in the ME (which is saying something, indeed). The jihadists who flood from one ME nation to another (as is going on in Iraq) or who choose to bring their bloodthirsty ways to other nations, are not the poor. As a rule, they are middle class and higher.
The reasons for this is quite logical. The poor and destitute, if they join resistance, militant or terrorist movements, usually do so in their own nations to fight the destitution and corruption there.
The jihadist movement has risen, and has been shown to have risen, from societal factors that have nothing to do with poverty - they are bored, they can't have sex or party or spend significant time on the internet or ever listen to music. They have been told since birth that a martyr goes to Paradise where all the stuff they're denied on Earth will be waiting for them.
If the West ever wants to end jihad, it should flood the ME and Pakistan with computers and provide wide open Internet access and cheap booze. Then, we should burn about a billion tonnes of really high-grade BC bud (always plugging for my home economy) and float it over the ME and then we should deny them Cheesies until they knock it the fuck off.
Simple. If only George Bush had asked me.
Now, as for the Economist: it's difficult to believe that such a highly-regarded publication would perpetuate such a ridiculous myth. Maybe they just felt they needed the word "economy" in their somewhere to justify the article.