Multicultural crises, radicalisation and the enclave mindset

It is the emergence of homogeneous thought and dogmatism – impermeable to dialogue with anyone perceived to be outside the group, and built around rigid understandings of identity and enmity – that fuels the threat of terrorism.

By Sara Silvestri

Whilst throughout the past decade European policy makers were occupied, rather obsessively, with the threats of ‘radicalisation’, ‘alienation’ and lack of ‘integration’ of Muslim youth, an ‘autochthonous’ Norwegian criminal was able to breed his evil plan and spread his propaganda unchecked. The events of last July have shown that it is possible for non-Muslim members of the so-called mainstream society to isolate themselves and to act as violently and indiscriminately as al-Qaeda.

For quite some time specialists and community activists had been concerned with the potentially dangerous consequences of right-wing views taken to the extreme, but these claims went largely dismissed. In Britain, for instance, it was only with the Government counter-terrorism strategy of 2009 that broader societal grievances and multiple forms of ‘radicalisation’ outside Muslim circles were acknowledged. These concerns were later downplayed in the new Contest strategy published only days before the Norway incidents proved the opposite.

The fear of Muslim ‘radicalisation’ has gone hand-in-hand with a discourse on the crisis of multiculturalism, a grievance that was also central to Breivick’s manifesto. This lament has certainly not been helpful in healing ruptured relations in our societies or in addressing the malaise provoked by social transformations. This language has probably provided ammunition for Breivick’s rationale and for connecting with like-minded people on the internet. Yet, it would be naïve to hold the anti-multiculturalism discourse responsible for ‘influencing’ people like the Norwegian killer, or to assume that everybody who is proud to be Christian or votes or sympathises for parties and movements on the right of the political spectrum are also potential killers.

Responding to crises through reifying categories and Manichean visions of the world is dangerous. There is no clearly definable or curable ‘pattern’ of radicalisation and I really doubt religion has anything to do with this. I repeated this endlessly in security consultations in the past, and I repeat it now. It is more helpful to think of the phenomenon as a process, which involves a rational choice and cannot be put down simplistically to factors such as religiosity, insanity, poverty or ‘lack of integration’: terrorism experts have conducted countless biographical examinations of convicted terrorists without ever finding clear profiles that would allow us to detect in advance the next likely perpetrator of a similar violence.

Rather than concerning ourselves with another debate on ‘multiculturalism’, ‘radicalisation’ or ‘extremism’, we ought to be alarmed by the spreading of enclosed exclusivist mentalities, of ‘tunnel thought’. Breivik’s reference to the golden past of Medieval Christendom chimes with the rhetoric of terrorist groups on the opposite side of the spectrum, who have been calling for the restoration of the Caliphate. Al-Qaeda and the Norwegian criminal have in common a dangerous mindset, despite purportedly professing ideologies at the opposite side of the spectrum. Commentators of Norway’s tragic events have compared al-Qaeda and Breivick’s tactics, weaponry, use of the internet and claims to a ‘religious inspiration’. Of course terrorists learn tactics from each other and tend to chose their targets selectively. Terrorists, however, seek above all publicity and taking human lives is only instrumental in their cold-blooded mind. They are focused on projecting a message of confrontation. The two plans are comparable not because of the use fertiliser to make bombs but because of the langue of hate towards an idealised ‘other’ and for the murderous intention to ‘correct’ the perceived corruption of society with an alternative Weltanschauung and political system. Beside the symbolic attack on the institutions of Norwegian society, the killing served to maximise media coverage and to attract public opinion.

The enemy we need to fight has no particular nationality, religious, cultural or political background – it is the emergence of homogeneous thought and dogmatism, impermeable to dialogue with anyone else perceived to be outside the lucky tribe, and built around rigid understandings of identity and of enmity. These mindsets have been spreading everywhere – from Europe to American, to Arab to Asian countries – regardless of religion, culture, education, and economic status. This is how al-Qaeda works, this is how Breivick and his fellow Templar Knights (assuming his claims of belonging to such a group are true) have been waging war to humankind and to the common good.

Sara Silvestri is a senior lecturer in religion and international politics, City University London

This article, which was originally published by UN Global Experts, is presented as part of TransConflict’s Confronting Extremism initiative, further information about which is available by clicking here.

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  1. This Comment

    If Multi Ethnicity is to work, then there needs to be freedom of Speech, because each Community have their own Version of History that they believe, and should be allowed to believe.

    Councillors from ethnic Albanian Political Parties in Bujanovac, Southern Serbia, have adopted a proposal to change the names of several local streets; and among them is Fatmir Ibisi of Gnjilane, who as a member of a Terrorist Albanian Group in February 2000, attacked a Serbian police vehicle, killing one officer and seriously wounding three others.

    In a Democracy, People are allowed to believe anything they want, and to say anything they want, as long as it is done in an educated and civilized manner, and they should not fear reprisal because of what they genuinely believe.

    The Kosovo Albanians with American approval, are treating any one even Albanians who do not agree with the Official Version of History, which are mostly Lies and Propaganda, as some type of heretics that should be punished like the Taliban punishes heretics, and they are using this method, because the real heresy for Albanians is that there are Non-Albanians in their part of the World, and even Albanians will confess that their religion is Albanianism.

    If the European Politicians can lie to us constantly and demand the Right to be safe and protected, then I also Demand, Yes, Demand that Right.

    What this means is that if the Serbs in North Kosovo believe that Slobodan Milosevic did not have any plans to have no Albanians in Kosovo, then the Albanians must accept this is their Democratic Rights.

    The problem for the Albanians of Kosovo is that they want to steal Serbia’s Province of Kosovo, and they need the Lie that Operation Horseshoe was Slobodan Milosevic’s and Serbia’s plan to have no Albanians in Kosovo.

    This Monstrous Slander that the West and the Western Media, along with the Albanian Leaders should be known as Operation Horsedung.

    All Serbs, except those South of the River Ibar should state this Fact, that Slobodan Milosevic and the Serbian People never had any plans to have no Albanians in Kosovo.

    If the Albanians are Deliberate Liars, or if they are Ignorant, then they Cannot Under Any Circumstances qualify to have Serbia recognize even South Kosovo.

    If those misled Albanians one day realise the facts, then they will want Autonomy as Serbian Citizens, and they will apologize for their unintentional Slanders against Serbia that were not Deliberately Malicious, but which they thought were true, because of Western Propaganda.

    In the Second World War, Hitler enjoyment was that he wanted the Jews in Northern Europe to ENJOY the Same Rights as the Jews in Southern Europe, and His Recipe for Atrocity was called Reciprocity, because it was the European Standards of those days.

    I think that Serbia should put a motion to the United Nations General Assembly to vote on a proposal to have the Media stop lying that Slobodan Milosevic ever wanted to have no Albanians in Kosovo.

    We know that there will not be 100% of Countries that will tell the World that what is known as Operation Horseshoe was never a plan to drive all Albanians out of Kosovo.

    America will pressure Countries to lie for them, but the World knows that America always lies, just like they did with Saddam Hussein having Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    America and their Nazi Puppets, their Bribed Puppets, and their intimidated Puppets should not be allowed to diverge by saying that Slobodan Milosevic was a bad Person, but the Question is that Slobodan Milosevic and the Serbian People never had any plans, or have any plans to make the Albanians leave Kosovo, and we must restore the truth one Fact at a time.

    The World, including America’s Puppets know that America always lies, but we want to know if America has the audacity to continue to lie of this matter.

    The truth of the matter is that the Albanians have since 1878 League of Prizren Declaration had the intention to drive all Non-Albanians from Kosovo, but they need their Lies of being the Victims in order to steal Serbian Land and make it a Mono Ethnic Albanian Para state.

    It is true that the Albanians did leave Kosovo because of the NATO targeted bombing, and the Albanian Leaders orders that any Albanians who did not leave Kosovo would be murdered by separatist Albanians, and America would blame those murders on the Serbs, and NATO and the Albanian Leaders did this for the cameras.

    America knows and appLIES the Fact that if a lie is repeated often enough, then it will be believed, and Serbia should tell America that they refuse to be Slandered any longer, and that the Serbian People were the most innocent of all the Groups in the former Yugoslavia.

    If America can make People believe Lies, then logically, Honest People should be able to believe the truth, but they have to hear it first.

    This is why the Serbian Government must start telling the World the truth, and not worry about the Worthless Trinket of European Union Candidate Status, and if Serbia does receive anything good from America and the European Union, it will not be because of the Puppets and Traitors, but because of the good work of others.

  2. Pingback : Kosovo/ Multicultural crises, radicalisation and the enclave mindset « Rassegna Stampa Militare

  3. Many Agree

    Many Correct Thinking People regard the Policies of Political Parties as being either; correct or wrong, good or evil, and foolish or wise, and not as extreme without further explanation.

    Policies could be extremely correct, extremely good, and extremely wise, and they could be extremely wrong, extremely evil, and extremely foolish.

    However, to just say that they are mere extreme and not to mention in what way they are extreme, will deceive People either deliberately or unintentionally, because for all we know they could really be defined as Moderate Policies.

    There are People who will claim that populism is always wrong, but the Party that wins the Election is the Popular Party, and must have had popular policies, but populism can be both good or evil, or even moderate depending on what it is that is Popular.

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