"British Muslim Leaders Facing Generation Gap," a Los Angeles Times headline informed us on Thursday. Is this news to anyone? Aren't most leaders in Western cultures facing a generation gap of some kind or another? I know for a fact that there are gaps between generations [insert snarky comment here]. But this has tugged at my curiosity. Do Muslim leaders in Middle Eastern and South Asian countries face similar generation gaps? Or is traditional Islam passed seamlessly from generation to generation? While I'm less certain about this than I am about Western generation gaps, somehow I doubt it.
The article says elders are turning in youngsters to the police for expressing extremist ideas. The elders expressed shock and amazement over the extremist views of some in the younger generation:
[Muhammed Abdul] Munim, the currency trader, said the anger was such that he had heard some "extreme, extreme views" from younger people, either in conversations after soccer matches or hanging out at the fried chicken and pizza joints that dot Muslim neighborhoods here.
"From comments like, 'If I had a bomb, I'd drop it on the U.S.,' or, 'If I had a bomb, I'd drop it on Israel,'" he said, before stopping himself. He added, "In the current climate, I don't want to mention too many things."
Numerous questions come to mind regarding these quotes, and stats cited earlier in the piece regarding the percentage of Muslims that sympathize with terrorism. Does a young Muslim saying he wants to commit an act of violence necessarily implicate him as a terrorist sympathizer? Switch the roles around to a rapper in the United States saying he wants to kill the police. What is the difference?
Is a young person expressing hate that unusual? It doesn't help that young Muslims expressing extremist views have acted upon them. And that's where the rubber meets the road.
So instead of reporting on how elderly Muslims are frustrated that their kids don't understand or listen to them anymore (or visa versa) go out, dig deeper and find the root of this hatred. And no, I don't want to hear that it's because they have problems finding adequate work. There's more to terrorism than a lack of jobs.