This was sent to me by a friend, but I thought it was worth adding to the general debate … particularly given that we spend an inordinate amount of time discussing the foreign end of this global war against terrorism and it might be nice to focus on home once in a while. And related to the ‘home’ end of events, is the question of how to police the extremism or Jihadism problem. Over the last eight years there has been the suggestion by some security experts and demographers that the concentration of particular populations can be a soft indicator for ‘chance of terrorism’. This appears to be challenged by the following, which has been presented to the House of Commons:
“There is no evidence to link areas that have a high proportion of Muslim inhabitants with terrorism. In their book ‘Sleepwalking to Segregation?’ Challenging Myths About Race and Migration (pp.107-8), Nissa Finney and Ludi Simpson analyse the data for the districts of origin of Muslims charged with terrorist offences. They write:
“If ‘segregated areas’, where there are the largest concentrations of Muslims, were hotbeds of terrorism … then one would expect more to be charged in these areas. Seventeen of those charged in the period August 2004 to October 2006 were residents of Bradford, Luton, Newham or Wandsworth, four of the seven most Muslim districts where 18% of the population is Muslim. But just as many lived in other areas; for example, 16 lived in districts with on average only 1% Muslims, coming from Breckland in Norfolk, Doncaster, Bournemouth, Reigate in Surrey, Bexley, Brighton and Hove, Aylesbury Vale and Greenwich. The only set of districts where more Muslims were charged than others was those with the second-lowest concentrations, including Crawley, Lambeth, Wycombe andManchester. (My bold) So, Muslims living in highest concentration Muslim areas are not more likely to be terrorists than Muslims living in any other type of area. There is no reason to link particular levels of concentration with terrorism.“
So, what we have – therefore – is a needle in a haystack problem. The structural causes are not sufficient, and we are into a question of individual psychologies and circumstances. Or are we??