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The Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) says that radical Islam in the Netherlands encompasses "a multitude of movements, organizations and groups." Some are nonviolent and share only religious dogma and a loathing for the West. But AIVD stresses that others, including al Qaeda, are also "stealthily taking root in Dutch society" by recruiting estranged Dutch-born Muslim youths. An AIVD report portrays such recruits watching jihadist videos, discussing martyrdom in Internet chat rooms, and attending Islamist readings, congresses, and summer camps. Radical Islam has become "an autonomous phenomenon," the AIVD affirms, so that even without direct influence from abroad, Dutch youth are now embracing the fundamentalist line. Much the same can be said about angry young Muslims in Brussels, London, Paris, Madrid, and Milan.

 

THE RANK AND FILE

Broadly speaking, there are two types of jihadists in western Europe: call them "outsiders" and "insiders." The outsiders are aliens, typically asylum seekers or students, who gained refuge in liberal Europe from crackdowns against Islamists in the Middle East. Among them are radical imams, often on stipends from Saudi Arabia, who open their mosques to terrorist recruiters and serve as messengers for or spiritual fathers to jihadist networks. Once these aliens secure entry into one EU country, they have the run of them all. They may be assisted by legal or illegal residents, such as the storekeepers, merchants, and petty criminals who carried out the Madrid bombings.

Many of these first-generation outsiders have migrated to Europe expressly to carry out jihad. In Islamist mythology, migration is archetypically linked to conquest. Facing persecution in idolatrous Mecca, in AD 622 the Prophet Muhammad pronounced an anathema on the city's leaders and took his followers to Medina. From there, he built an army that conquered Mecca in AD 630, establishing Muslim rule. Today, in the minds of mujahideen in Europe, it is the Middle East at large that figures as an idolatrous Mecca because several governments in the region suppressed Islamist takeovers in the 1990s. Europe could even be viewed as a kind of Medina, where troops are recruited for the reconquest of the holy land, starting with Iraq.

The insiders, on the other hand, are a group of alienated citizens, second- or third-generation children of immigrants, like Bouyeri, who were born and bred under European liberalism. Some are unemployed youth from hardscrabble suburbs of Marseilles, Lyon, and Paris or former mill towns such as Bradford and Leicester. They are the latest, most dangerous incarnation of that staple of immigration literature, the revolt of the second generation. They are also dramatic instances of what could be called adversarial assimilation -- integration into the host country's adversarial culture. But this sort of anti-West westernization is illustrated more typically by another paradigmatic second-generation recruit: the upwardly mobile young adult, such as the university-educated Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker, or Omar Khyam, the computer student and soccer captain from Sussex, England, who dreamed of playing for his country but was detained in April 2004 for holding, with eight accomplices, half a ton of explosives aimed at London.

These downwardly mobile slum dwellers and upwardly mobile achievers replicate in western Europe the two social types that formed the base of Islamist movements in developing countries such as Algeria, Egypt, and Malaysia: the residents of shantytowns and the devout bourgeoisie. As in the September 11 attacks, the educated tend to form the leadership cadre, with the plebeians providing the muscle. No Chinese wall separates first-generation outsiders from second-generation insiders; indeed, the former typically find their recruits among the latter. Hofstad's Syrian imam mentored Bouyeri; the notorious one-eyed imam Abu Hamza al-Masri coached Moussaoui in London. A decade ago in France, the Algerian Armed Islamic Group proselytized beurs (the French-born children of North African immigrants) and turned them into the jihadists who terrorized train passengers during the 1990s. But post-September 11 recruitment appears more systematic and strategic. Al Qaeda's drives focus on the second generation. And if jihad recruiters sometimes find sympathetic ears underground, among gangs or in jails, today they are more likely to score at university campuses, prep schools, and even junior high schools.

 

THE IRAQ EFFECT

According to senior counterintelligence officials, classified intelligence briefings, and wiretaps, jihadists extended their European operations after the roundups that followed September 11 and then again, with fresh energy, after the invasion of Iraq. Osama bin Laden now provides encouragement and strategic orientation to scores of relatively autonomous European jihadist networks that assemble for specific missions, draw operatives from a pool of professionals and apprentices, strike, and then dissolve, only to regroup later.

 

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