Angry Second-generation Immigrants – New Canadian Media

Richard Landau on radicalization and second-generation immigrants. Not very conclusive, understandably, as there are no simple solutions.

And Leiken, the author of a recent Foreign Policy article cited, fails to link to the broader social and economic context of the various approaches to diversity:

And here we have arrived at a dangerous intersection. While young men may find an international conflict exotic, I have seen enough disaffected youths drawn to religious cults and extremism to know that it, too, has a special idealistic lure. Young men, drifting and unaccustomed to lives of prayer, obligation and fasting, may find the rituals alluring. Ritual + an exotic overseas conflict + romanticism may equal something like catnip for young men who are not well grounded. Et voila, radicalization!

Yes, there are extremist pied pipers who prey upon the young, the lonely and disaffected, telling them they are being disrespected and that the society at large hates them. Extremists like the late Anwar Al Awlaki tell young men that they will finally find meaning in their lives when they take up arms against the West. Simple, uneducated minds buy this drivel. The Boston Marathon bombers had a cult-like belief they were doing the Almighty’s will. The thing about fundamentalism, be it religious conversion or political, is that converts have an unending reservoir of zeal.

So how should Western societies deal with the roots of homegrown terrorism? With only limited successes, they have tried three approaches for dealing with immigrant populations:

  • Multiculturalism: Promotion and financing of integration, and equality of opportunity;
  • Assimilation: Forced assimilation/melting pot that leads to resentment;
  • Avoidance: Laissez faire benign neglect that produces a Balkanized and segregated society.

Writing in a Foreign Affairs article “Europe’s Angry Muslims,” Robert S. Leiken observed: “Yet it is far from clear whether top-down policies will work without bottom-up adjustments in social attitudes. Can Muslims become Europeans without Europe opening its social and political circles to them? So far, it appears that absolute assimilationism has failed in France, but so has segregation in Germany and multiculturalism in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.”

It appears there is no simple, proven answer that will assuage the angry second generation. The answers may involve an amalgam of the three approaches and an educational system that addresses the issues of this generation head on.

Angry Second-generation Immigrants – New Canadian Media – NCM.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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