Religion & Philosophy

Young Brit Muslims more radical: generational comparisons of interest

Have a look at this chart on how older vs. younger Muslims in Britain view Islamic issues.

I’m not sure exactly how British generational dynamics map onto the US model or how religious cultural issues complicate things, but to the extent that there’s some parallel to America that’s not just young people – those are Millennials. And if you study that cohort as much as I have, this is exactly – exactly – what you’d expect. More conventional. More drawn to easy answers. Less prone to (or capable of) critical thinking. And so on.

I’d love to hope that the UK challenge – especially with this demographic – was different, but evidently not.

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6 replies »

  1. Given Millenials general “group” mentality (which we both know a good bit about), this seems pretty ominous, doesn’t it? If these young Muslim embrace a radicalized self image, they’re likely to become excellent recruits for the likes of Al Qaeda or their own kind of Taliban.

    You know, Strauss and Howe do a dance about how these Millenials are akin to their grandparents – those of Brokaw’s “greatest generation” – but weren’t all those Germans who embraced the Nazi way part of the “greatest generation,” too?

    That should give us all pause….

  2. Howe and Strauss, despite their fetishization of the Mill Gen (both have Millennial kids) do acknowledge the dark side. It’s a generation that makes great followers, but the lack of critical skills means that they can be drawn into following bad things as well as good.

    So the authors do pay some attention to that potential. Maybe not enough….

  3. The clearest cause I’ve heard posited for this generational shift is the youth’s contempt for their parents’ passivity, along with the romanticising of the battle-hardened mujahiddin in far away lands battling evil. Amongst young people desperate to radicalize their identity by submission to something their progenitors dislike or fear, the seeds of this brand of hatred from these sources can grow into something rather unpleasant.

    The UK is, ironically, in a better position to combat this type of contagion within their borders than the US due to their tighter restrictions on speech, but they will first need to swing a hard 180 away from their current policy of automatic appeasement of all things Arab.

  4. I’d have instinctively associated this age-based reactionism to the simple anti-establishment rebelliousness characteristic of past generations as well, but the more I think about it the more I find that many academicians and sociologists are taking note of the phenomenon in the last five years, with particular attention to newer anomalous characteristics.

    One example that comes to mind (and this is simple off the top of my head) is that cited by professor of criminology and Serbian inellectual Dr. Du