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NYT: Assimilation's Failure, Terrorism's Rise

Author: Kenan Malik
July 6, 2011

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To understand homegrown terrorism in Britain,  Kenan Malik looks to the failed policy of multiculturalism in this New York Times op-ed.

Six years ago today, on July 7, 2005, Islamist suicide bombers attacked London's transit system. They blew up three subway trains and a bus, killing 52 people and leaving a nation groping for answers.

In one sense the meaning of 7/7 is as clear to Britons as that of 9/11 is to Americans. It was a savage, brutal attack intended to sow mayhem and terror. Yet whereas 9/11 was the work of a foreign terrorist group, 7/7 was the work of British citizens. The question that haunts London, but that Washington has so far barely had to face, is why four men born and brought up in Britain were gripped by such fanatic zeal for a murderous, medieval dogma.

British authorities have expended much effort in seeking to understand how the 7/7 terrorists acquired their perverted ideas and became “radicalized.” In the immediate wake of the attacks, much ink was spilled over the role of extremist preachers and radical mosques. More recently, the focus has shifted to universities as recruitment centers for terrorists.

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