Muslim Boomers

So by now you've read the alarming news that 26% of young Muslims living in the U.S. approve of suicide bombings against civilians in some circumstances, compared with 8% of American Muslims overall. In itself I don't think that's necessarily cause for panic --faced with the option "never," I think the mind naturally contorts itself to think of some extreme situation that encourages the option "rarely." The news becomes more troubling, however, when I read that 61% of American Muslims fear the rise of Islamic extremism in the U.S.

Reading through the poll, it becomes clear that the most pro-American Muslims are first-generation immigrants, who tend to be the least religious, the most hostile to al-Qaeda, and have the attitude that Muslims in the U.S. should conform to American culture. In other words, Muslims who have experienced life in Muslim countries are capable of assimilation. Their children, however, less so, and that fear of extremism in the U.S. suggests Muslim parents fear their own kids and what they might do. The kids, as a matter of fact, remind me of nothing so much as Baby Boomers --spoiled and feeling guilty.

Last month I drove through the neighborhood in which I grew up and found the Methodist church 6 blocks from my home now sports a minaret. Christopher Hitchens recently returned to his hometown, which is now majority Muslim, and I was interested to note he reaches a similar conclusion:

In the 1960s, many Asians moved to Britain in quest of employment and education. They worked hard, were law-abiding, and spent much of their time combating prejudice. Their mosques were more like social centers. But their children, now grown, are frequently contemptuous of what they see as their parents' passivity. Often stirred by Internet accounts of jihadists in faraway countries like Chechnya or Kashmir, they perhaps also feel the urge to prove that they have not "sold out" by living in the comfortable, consumerist West.

A recent poll by the Policy Exchange think tank captures the problem in one finding: 59 percent of British Muslims would prefer to live under British law rather than Shari'a; 28 percent would choose Shari'a. But among those 55 and older, only 17 percent prefer Shari'a, whereas in the 16-to-24 age group the figure rises to 37 percent. Almost exactly the same proportions apply when the question is whether or not a Muslim who converts to another faith should be put to death....

He even cites a Muslim author making the same observation: ‘
They remind me of the 60s revolutionaries in some ways," said Hanif Kureishi as we sat in one of London's finest Indian restaurants. "A lot of romantic talk, but a hard core faction who will actually volunteer to go to training camps."
The Pew findings make it difficult to argue that Islam is a religion of peace, that's for sure. The more religiously observant Muslims claim to be, the more prone they are to approve al-Qaeda & justify terrorism at least in some circumstances. All of this suggests that wealthy Muslim kids confront a spiritual vacuum in the West that is going to be filled somehow. The current "multicultural" approach is failing these kids. And we have to fear --most Muslims do-- that at least some these "boomers" may actually go boom.