Opinion: “Why American Muslims Haven’t Turned to Terrorism”

December 12, 2005

Source: Candide's Notebooks/The New Republic


On December 12, 2005 The New Republic ran an opinion piece by its associate editor, Spencer Ackerman. "The significance of the London bombing is impossible to overstate. Although debate still rages over the degree to which Al Qaeda's increasingly disassociated leadership orchestrated the attack, the fact remains that the broader jihadist movement was able to draw upon radicalized Muslim citizens of a Western country, who then acted with relative autonomy. By contrast, the September 11 attacks required the insertion into the United States of foreign operatives, traveling on visas, whom bin Laden and his lieutenants directed and funded... There's nothing predetermined about the contours of an emerging, public American Muslim identity. But, to the great credit and for the mutual benefit of both American Muslims and the United States itself, there exist powerful structural forces, rooted deeply in both U.S. and Islamic history, that portend well. In the wake of the London bombings and the French riots, a great irony of the post-September 11 world is that one of the most urgent requirements of European stability is the emulation of the United States: a place where liberalism and religiosity support a viable and beneficial Western Muslim identity."