Thursday, February 01, 2007

Home Grown Menaces

I woke up this morning to hear the news about the 20 people arrested in the U.K. on terrorist charges, plotting to kidnap and behead someone.

What makes a person, who was born and raised in a country, hate it so much that they want to harm it? To me, the more targeted question is: why would kids, like me of Islamic Indian subcontinent hertiage living in the Western world, desire to do this?

As my faithful readers will know, I spent one year (almost every weekend) in London, so I do have a number of English friends of Pakistani heritage and after having spent so much time with them - I think I can see where a large part of this hatred comes from. Unlike here in America, where for the most part, kids of this background intergrate into the larger American society, my friends in England lived very isolated. It was very insular. None of them have friends who are not Muslim. They are no part of the greater English society, they have no claim or sense of community or even remote affection for the country to which they hold citizenship. Instead, I noticed a lot of animosity. Being the largest minority in the U.K, it feels like the hatred of the second class citizen to the owners of the place. Most of my friends in the U.K. identified more with Pakistan (and the subsequent psedu-Islamic culture that they believe [falsely] is an accurate representation of their religion).

This is so different from my experience - as an American Muslim. I feel as if I'm an American, this is my country and I love it. I love that people want to learn about the religion and that there is a dedicated effort to overcome discrimination on all levels in American society. To my way of thinking, for most American Muslims, until the G.W. era, there had never been a sense of injustice against Muslims in America (most Muslims I know still to this day love Bill Clinton, if we had our druthers he'd be re-elected ASAP).

I can't say with certainty, as I don't know every Muslim in America, but I do feel strongly that this country, because it is much more inclusive than others I've seen (and doesn't treat Muslims like horrible pests but as equal members of society) the US will not have the problems of home grown kids enacting violence on the home country.


Blogger Tony said...

I personally called every muslim in america.

They all pretty much agree with you.

tho, none of them are as cool and sweet and sexy as VG.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Random Kath said...

You know, Virginia Gal, your post makes me think about the fortunes of African Americans in this country, compared to those of more recent African immigrants. There are lots of studies going on comparing status and outlooks that tie into your discussion of British Muslims and American Muslims . . .

What I just wrote may not make much sense, but it does have to do with how perceptions and history affect how one sees things . . .

10:37 AM  
Blogger Virginia Gal said...

Tony - hee hee, me sexy, sadly only in my dreams : ) But thank you darling.

Random Kath - That is so ironic (is that the right use of that word), because I do think there is a bit of a similarity between the fortunes of African-Americans and Muslims in the UK. And I do wonder if that is part of the reason why Muslims in America are not as upset, we are not the main minority target. In a large way we are shielded by larger minorities, who unfortunately take the brunt of alienation.
I do think England has a severe problem and they need to address it. I can't even imagine how to fight homegrown terrorism without instilling levels of animosity between the communities...reminds me of post WWI Germany.

1:06 AM  

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