In which spirit, this comment from yet another 'root cause' debate.
Back in 1999 I was working with homeless young people, and a number of them converted to what seemed to me to be a fairly radical form of Islam. These were not young people from Muslim families, but white kids from Christian/ atheist backgrounds, mostly girls who then adopted veils ranging from headdresses to burkas or niqabs. I thought at the time the appeal was twofold. Firstly, they were being offered moral certainty and clarity for the first time in their lives. For many of the girls, they welcomed the veil because it gave them a chance to think of themselves as being defined by something other than their sexual attractiveness. The other appeal, however, was simply that it became fashionable. Those that were "in" formed an exclusive club, and those that weren,t felt they were missing out.
My point is that we can't address this issue until we recognise how little our desperately vacuous, morally empty, celebs'n'shopping culture offers to all our young people, and the powerful sense of importance and belonging conveyed by involvement in "jihad". By all means stop the hatemongers from preaching, but we also need to take a good look at our society, and the world we are making for our children.
I'm just remembering a couple I met twenty years back, hippy travellers who left a convoy to live in the sticks in their decorated caravan. Nice people, and she was a pretty girl who used to drive the local bikers crazy by turning up at the pub in a purple string vest top which made looking her in the eye during conversation a real test of will power.
One day they went off, pretty much on a whim, thirty-odd miles north to visit a Krishna community living in a stately home near Worcester. One of the other bikers had visited and said it was an interesting Sunday out. Next thing I know they're living there, and she's in a sari up to the neck, explaining to me why women are so much less spiritual than men, and her duty to serve her husband.