At least the British bombers were first-generation Brits who had grown-up in an Islamic subculture. Their actions might be, however perverted, seen as a reaction to discrimination against British Muslims.
But the people in Belgium have no such “consolation.” Their latest home-grown jihadist looked and talked just like the “girl next door” because she was the girl next door. Her story is a cautionary tale: not only about the spread of radical Islam, but about the kind of culture that makes that spread possible.
According to the Independent, “Murielle Degauque was, by all accounts, a normal child.” As a teenager, she dabbled in drugs and paid more attention to boys than to her schoolwork.
Nothing about her upbringing in southern Belgium suggested that she would do what she did last week: that is, strap explosives onto herself and detonate them near an American patrol in Iraq—killing herself, but fortunately, no Americans in the process.
In an attempt to make what happened seem like the product of a personal pathology, commentators point out that Degauque was attached to Muslim men: She married and divorced one; dated another; and finally went to Morocco with a third. And it was on this trip that she converted to the brand of Islam that led her to become a suicide bomber.
This shocking incident reminds us that Islam is no longer confined to oppressed and angry Arabs. It is in our midst and deadly dangerous. But there’s something else going on: that is, the cultural setting in which people like Degauque make their choices.
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