Identity and Terror in Western European Muslim Diaspora

The increasing trend of extremism among the Muslim diaspora youth and its role in terrorism lure great interest in the Western World. Researches and area surveys clearly demonstrate that terrorism and radicalization find more advocates among the Muslim youths compared to their parents’ time. We should accept that it is really difficult to understand this trend for the West because, contrary to their parents, the new generation Muslims are relatively growing up in a wealthier and more stabilized environment. They are richer and more educated than their parents were. Most of them are citizens of the countries where they live in and have more rights compared with their parents. The question at this point is that if they do not have any serious economic and political problem with the country they live in so why the problems in other countries like Palestine or Iraq, where they have never lived before, cause great damages in their personality and lead them into extremism and terrorism. Why was not the Palestine issue so important for the parents to become extremist or terrorist in the past and why has the same problem played a great role in making extremist their sons and daughters? At this point we encounter with the “identity’ issue. Without understanding of Muslim diaspora identity of the young people and their parents, it would be difficult to understand the roots of the extremism among the Muslims living in the West. The identity of an individual or/and a society could be described as their roots. What a root for a tree is is the same for an individual and a society. If individuals have problems with their cultural, religious, ethnic or family roots it is very difficult for them to enhance their identities on a healthy and balanced base. If a root (past, family of a religion, culture etc.) has been abandoned and if that individual or society is being transformed to a new culture, religion, understanding, economic system etc. or all of them at the same time then a new identity must be constructed on new roots. In another word, soul of human must be nourished from a powerful source. If we left a source, we have to find a new and more powerful one. That’s why converts are normally more radical than the others. Converts must legitimate their new choice of life, and he/she makes great efforts to find the good sides of new religion or culture he/she has entered. It is almost impossible to give a meaning to human life in the emptiness. And it is easier for meaningless lives to be thrown to very extreme points. The meaningless of the life and lack of strong identities have big role in the recent radicalization of diaspora Muslim youth. Although immigrant parents came from severe poverty, political crises or even war and conflicts, they had strong ties with their motherland countries. The first immigrants were not educated people yet they were aware of that they were immigrants and the host country was still a foreign country for them. They were grateful to the host country and they made all possible efforts not to harm the neighboring people and the state in the new country. They may even love and embrace the host country more then their motherland country but they were aware of that they were Algerian in France, Turk in Germany or a Moroccan in Netherlands. Most of them could not speak the host country’s language. For instance in Germany, a significant number of Turkish immigrants spoke only Turkish and had no serious contact with the Germans living around. However, contrary to expectations, these people were happy without speaking German language or living under Turkish culture at the heart of Germany. Sedat Laciner reports.