PORTSTEWART, Northern Ireland - British politicians and much of the U.K. media are engaged in a familiar Western practice following a terrorist attack. They think they can explain it using Western standards.
Many Americans blamed the race riots of the 1960s on racism and unemployment, which contributed to hopelessness they said only equality and prosperity could solve. That most unemployed blacks did not riot escaped the mainly white sociologists and commentators who desired a "nonjudgmental" explanation for lawless behavior. Having abandoned a sense of personal responsibility for one's actions, the explainers and excusers of evil and illegal acts in America 40 years ago have been reincarnated in Britain.
Now it is unemployment and hopelessness among Muslims that are the root cause of terrorism. Finding jobs for them so they can drive nice cars, live in upscale flats and attend West End theaters supposedly will convert them to the British way of life.
Or maybe it is evil America that caused the terrorist attacks. If only the Americans had not invaded Iraq and dragged Britain along, perhaps Britain might have been spared the bus and tube bombings.
Sometimes it takes an outsider to bring people to their senses. Former Israeli Prime Minister (and current Cabinet minister) Benjamin Netanyahu told BBC's "Breakfast" program Sunday that Iraq and other actions by Britain and America are the consequences of terror attacks, not the cause.
He said to blame Britain and the United States for causing terrorism is "reverse causality." Netanyahu recalled the numerous terror attacks before the Iraq war and prior to 9/11, noting there was Islamic terrorism before 1948 when Israel became a modern state. If recent Israeli, American and British policies cause terrorism, how does one explain earlier terrorism?
In the U.K., The Sunday Times carried a front-page story exploding the myth of a causal relationship between terrorism and poverty among Muslims. The newspaper reported on leaked Whitehall documents that show "Al-Qaeda is secretly recruiting affluent, middle-class Muslims in British universities and colleges to carry out terrorist attacks" in Britain. The targets of the "extremist recruiters" are students with "technical and professional qualifications."
These are not Muslims without a future. These are bright and educated students who, if they wished, could be productive and prosperous members of British society. But many are embracing a false theology and a god who requires them to kill "infidels."
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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