Is 'a radicalized Muslim' a meaningful term in 2016?

We hear in the west that there’s an epidemic of radicalized Muslims, mostly young disaffected males living in places like Europe, the US and here in Australia too.

But the reality seems to be that the perpetrators of recent atrocities in the west have been, for the most part, disaffected young males acting alone and with no demonstrated allegiance to a Mosque: they are as connected to Islam as I’m connected to Judaism when I exclaim, “Oi Vey” or Buddhism when I bung a stick of incense into my little fat buddha statue in the bathroom.

To be sure, there’s an army of Isis ‘warriors’ at war in Syria…may they all be struck by a massive bolt of lightning. Many of them have indeed been imports from the west, radicalized to the max and dangerous as all buggery.

But the bulk of the more recent attacks in the west? I believe we’re aggrandizing them by calling the perps ‘radicalized’. We’re giving them ideological credence (IMHO) that they haven’t earned and don’t deserve. They’re fucked up kids with access to weapons who shout ‘Allah Akhbar’. They’re no more ‘radicalized Muslims’ with a religious axe to grind than any other suicidal boffin who goes on a rampage.

The common factor I see is the Internet. Certainly in the UK there are systems in place to ID potential radicals who go to mosques so, I agree, they don’t seem to generally be actively religious. They are looking for a cause or a reason for their life circs.

Those influenced do seem to be generally somewhere on a spectrum from ‘lonely’ to disturbed to mentally unwell.

They have been radicalised and they were born in Muslim families or societies but that is often as relevant as a US drone pilot having been born in a Christian culture.

I have no doubt that if someone wrote a manifesto explaining their dedication to Islam and why Islamic culture, tradition, and religious rules dictated that they commit a terrorist attack, and they swear that they were solely motivated by their religious beliefs, and left behind a list of references who could attest to their religious beliefs, and then got caught on video camera shouting “I DO THIS FOR ISLAM!” as he blew himself up in a crowd, there’d be no shortage of people rushing to tell us how this had nothing to do with Islam.

I agree that ‘radicalised’ is not a very meaningful term here.
Every culture has it’s share of people snapping and running amok.

Islam is unique in giving ‘repenting sinners’ a way to redeem themselves through jihad.
Where someone from a christian or budhist background, who suddenly regrets the things he has done, can seek redemption by joining a monastary or doing good work, Islam offers another way. Killing non-believers in an act of jihad will give you instant access to paradise.

For a baseline, could you link to an article or post by one of the people you think would do that, showing them doing something similar?

Because the “nothing to do with Islam” is, in my experience, an exaggeration, an oversimplification, of the claim that’s usually made–namely, that the person acting is using Islam to justify what they already want to do, that Muslims who aren’t murderous sociopaths aren’t compelled to turn into such by their religion.

I’ve not yet encountered your “nothing to do with Islam” version in the wild, and would appreciate a link.

This is an excellent point. Christian cultural traditions of crusades, of Christian Soldiers going off to fight Holy Wars, of God’s Army; traditions of lynching black people to protect Christian values, or just of forcible conversions/enslavement in the name of turning people to Christianity; these are not at all comparable.

What makes Islam unique is that its followers alone among religious followers in the world use their religion to justify killing people.

If a terrorist wrote a manifesto explaining his dedication to Christianity and why Christian culture, tradition and religious rules dictated that he commit this act, and he swore he was motivated solely by Christianity and left behind a list of references who could attest to this, and then was videotaped shouting “JESUS SAVES” as he blows himself up, would you blame Christianity for it? Would you demand that all Christians apologize for it?

So let’s take the Paris attacks as a specific example. Are you saying that we should not call the perpetrators “radical Muslims” if we can’t show what mosque they attended? Is it acceptable, in your view, to call them “terrorists?”

I understand that you think we are “aggrandizing” them by calling them radical Muslims. How does this aggrandizement manifest itself? Are you saying that society is setting itself up for more attacks by lone wolves who are most certainly not in your opinion radical Muslims, but somehow are attracted to committing attacks in hopes that they will be called radical Muslims? Uh, if using the term “radical Muslims” somehow inspires more terrorist attacks, doesn’t that seem to indicate that the perpetrators see themselves as radical Muslims?

And who do you think has earned the right to be called radical Muslims?

Yes you are right! Golly gee whiz, you are so,so right!!!
These are not at all comparable.

Because you and I live in the twenty-first century, not the middle ages.

Yes, Religious people used to do shitty stuff-----IN THE PAST.
Christians burned Jews during the Inquisition. They burned half of Europe during the 17th century.

But NOBODY in the western world does that kind of shitty stuff today.

Except for, ya know… radicalized Muslims. Who are proud of it.

And “educated” people who can’t see the difference scare me .

Timothy McVeigh was a radicalized Muslim?

Did you even pay attention to what I wrote?

The Crusades were Middle Ages.

God’s Army disbanded in 2001.

Lynchings were rampant in the South in the mid-twentieth century.

If you want more, how about we look at laws against homosexuality in Sudan? Let’s look at Christian Identity terrorism in the US in the past few decades. Let’s look at Dylann Roof, who was a member of a Lutheran church and who argued scripture with his victims before they became his victims.

The idea that Christian violence is a thing of the past is a fantasy. Yes, it’s true that the death cult that’s recruiting people from within Islam is stronger than Identity Christianity; but it’s a matter of degree, not of basic form.

How about this?

How many organized religious organizations urge their followers to act like McVegh?
Did a single Lutheran pastor anywhere in the world praise Dylann Roof and offer him a place in heaven (with or without 70 virgins)?

They were murderers. Like the Unabomber. Like Charles Manson.
Scary… but not as scary as organized terrorist movements.

There are crackpots everywhere. Especially in America–neo-nazis, gun-loving militia organizations, end-of the-world-preppers, etc.
But how many of them have world-wide audiences?
How many politically-correct universities proudly welcome members of such organizations to speak on campus?

So what’s the difference between a mass-murderer and a terrorist?
Well, like the difference between erotic art and pornography:it may be hard to define, but level-headed people know it when they see it.

Huh. It’s the first time I’ve seen the argument put so simplistically. Thanks for the link!

Note also the nearly-universal disagreement with the claim. When Senorbeef says “there’d be no shortage of people rushing to tell us how this had nothing to do with Islam,” I think I’m still detecting a shortage :).

Let’s be clear on what we’re talking about, so the goalposts don’t go jogging all over the field. Are you saying that individual crackpots are less frightening than organized terrorist movements? Because I absolutely agree.

Or are you saying that

Because I absolutely disagree.

Maybe you’ve heard of this guy.


You have to resort to a Karen independancegroup?

I’m so glad to live in the modern world where people working at abortion clinics no longer need to fear for their lives because of Christian crusaders. :dubious: Radicalized Christian terrorists in the western world. And ya know those Christians are proud of it! Over 40 attacks since 1990 I believe.

I heard an interview with someone recently who made a good point. Before you make a sweeping statement about Muslims replace the word Muslim with the word Jew. If you sound like a Nazi when you say it that way, rethink your position.

But if someone agrees with the OP – that the term “radicalized Muslim” should be off-limits, then pointing out that there are Christian terrorists should similarly be shuffled off down the memory hole, too, right?

What you and LHD are forgetting is the premise of the OP.
Are we talking about radical Muslims or are they just misfits that ran amok.