This article first appeared in New English Review.
With the identification of Khalid Masood, the London attacker of March 22 in front of the Parliament building, the expression, "home-grown" terrorist is once again in play. Masood, was born in Kent, England. Those who oppose President Trump's travel ban on six Muslim nations often point out that terrorism also comes from domestic sources, therefore restricting the entry of Muslims into the US is pointless. They are wrong.
Much like immigration activists use the term, "immigrants" to refer to those who are in our country illegally, the term, "homegrown terrorists" is highly misleading. The fact that Masood was born in England is irrelevant. The fact that the attacker of the gay nightclub in Orlando was born in the US is irrelevant just as the fact that one of the San Bernardino attackers was US-born is irrelevant. Here is what is relevant, and what is a common thread with virtually all the terrorists running around the West. They are Muslims and acting in the name of Islam, of Allah, and of jihad. The motivations are the same.
There is a sad fact that we must come to terms with: Children of immigrants in the West are just as likely to become radicalized as those who immigrate. Let's take a look at the main countries that have to deal with homegrown terrorists.
In the US, unlike Europe, most Muslims who came here decades ago were professional people including engineers and people in the medical field. They were not manual laborers like those who arrived in Europe and never assimilated.Their children are now attending college or have graduated. They are living in the same neighborhoods as you and I. In a way, you could say they have become assimilated. Yet, in other ways, they are not. That I blame on Islam. The main problems as I see them are the rules placed on their lifestyles as well as the teachings they receive about the West and non-Muslims.
As for the young ones attending college, I have seen many of them in action. Without putting the finger of blame on all of them, there is cause for concern. While many, if not most of the Muslims who join the Muslim Student Association (or Union) chapters do so for legitimate reasons, there is a political element in the leadership in that these chapters are involved in causes which they describe as "justice" especially as it pertains to Muslim issues and the Palestinian cause vis-a-vis Israel. Agitation against Israel is a central feature of all-too-many MSA chapters in universities around the country.
In addition, many former MSA leaders have gone on to a life of radicalism including most notoriously, Anwar Awlaki.
While we don't have the street crime, rapes, riots and other problems associated with Muslim migration in Europe, the possibility of radicalization is always here no matter the generation.
The UK, on the other hand, largely due to its colonial past, is home to millions of immigrants and their native-born children from Pakistan and India. Due to the UK's lax policies, the radicals have established mosques, no-go zones, and even their own sharia courts. That the Parliament attacker was born in the UK is hardly surprising.
France has the largest percentage of Muslims in Europe due to its own colonial past with the Maghreb (North Africa) and other parts of Africa. A large part of these people are French-born. Similarly, France is faced with a two-edged sword consisting of immigrants and native born Muslims.
In Germany, you have Europe's largest Turkish population thanks to the guest worker program instituted decades ago. The Turks historically faced discrimination while working in Germany, but many have stayed and prospered. Thus, you have many German-born Turks. Initially, most Turks were a product of the secularization that Turkey enjoyed thanks to the polices of Kemal Ataturk. In recent years, however, Turkey is changing under the Islamist policies of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Sadly, many Turks are turning from secularization to radicalization.
The Netherlands also has a long colonial history that has resulted in a large segment of their population being from the Caribbean, Sint Maarten, Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire and Suriname as well as Indonesia, which is the world's largest Muslim majority country in terms of population. Many of their current crime problems involve Moroccan immigrants, of whom opposition political leader Geert Wilders has spoken openly.
As for the other countries like Belgium and the Scandinavian countries, they are dealing for the most part with immigrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, and other migrants. They are also facing serious problems.
But once again, the common thread is Islamist ideology. When people use the term, "homegrown" terrorists, they are implying that the next Timothy McVeigh may be living next door to you or me. That is misleading.