Austin: Is Islamist extremism a bigger problem now than it was before 9/11?

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21 January, 2013
By: Jack Austin
Former Senator from British Columbia, special advisor to Stern Partners Inc

There is no change in advocacy that is cost free. The self-proclaimed mission of the United States and other western nations to encourage democratic norms and structures in societies which are historically authoritarian and/or totalitarian is having unexpected and multifaceted results. Was it expected that Hamas would win in Palestine or the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt? I doubt these were the expectations or desires of the democracy now advocated.

Western secularism is also seen as a major threat to societies whose whole-of-life structure is based on religious societal constructs. Much of the animation of Islamist extremism is based on a perceived threat to the historic and religious construction of their societies, including, and with great significance, the role of women.

The invasion of Afghanistan, of Iraq, the constant exchange of threats with Iran, the Israel-Palestine situation, and historic colonialism of the Moslem world from Indonesia to Morocco create a powerful image of threat and resentment. With the possession of new technological capabilities in military tools and communication tools – western-developed technologies by the way – the extremism in the Moslem world has become an enhanced threat to both Moslem and western societies.

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