In a video that attempts to explain the reason European Muslims go to Syria and Iraq to fight with ISIS, the “comedian” and “actor” Russell Brand recently lent his two cents worth of social awareness to the problem. One is not sure if this was his latest sad attempt at stand-up (or sit-down) humor, or if this is his true beliefs. By starting off with the observations that the recently unmasked “Jihadi John” was a computer programmer from a rather well-to-do family, he claims that there is nothing in the Koran that would lead anyone to go off and join ISIS. To them, the culture they immersed themselves in- radical Islam- is something they just recently came to after reading, in his words, the latest edition of Islam For Dummies. This fits nicely into the belief that Islam is a religion of peace totally ignorant of historical facts that show that among the three great religions, Islam spread by the sword, not the word.
He notes that greater than half the number of Europeans who joined ISIS come from non-Muslim, comfortable backgrounds. He got it perhaps half correct- they certainly came from comfortable backgrounds. However, to make the claim that greater than half the European recruits to ISIS were non-Muslim to begin with seriously misstates the facts. These people were/are clearly practitioners of the Islamic faith.
But then Brand goes even further off the deep end by equating the atrocities committed by ISIS in the name of Islam as just an extreme reaction of the general public in response to alienation and isolation felt by British subjects. To Brand, also along this continuum are other behaviors like drug use, alcoholism, and…wait for it… soccer violence. So there you have it: the occasional flare-ups of violence at soccer matches in Great Britain is just like someone beheading a western journalist in the desert of Syria according to Russel Brand. He even declares that joining ISIS is just an extreme example of a natural reaction to the alienation felt by Brits.
To Brand and the other apologists for radical Islam, it has nothing to do with the religion. It is Western society in general and capitalism in particular that creates the atmosphere that allows radicalization. Brand even doubled down on his comments by suggesting that Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is a good candidate for radicalization, although the reasoning is rather convoluted.
Brand even cites some psychological literature by asserting that Great Britain is the most depressed and loneliest country in the European Union. Actually, according to the World Health Organization, that is not true. Both Holland and Austria have higher rates of depression than Britain and countries like Norway and Finland have even higher rates than Great Britain. Right from the start, Brand cannot even get his facts straight. Regardless, even more ISIS fighters have come from France which is considered a less alienated/depressed society than that of Great Britain. In fact, the number of ISIS fighters from France is double that of Great Britain which makes sense; France’s Muslim population is roughly double that of Great Britain.
Hence, it has nothing to do with the level of alienation anyone feels within any European society. The simple fact is that despite one’s place on the Islamic continuum, they will likely feel like outcasts since Islam itself is antithetical to Western beliefs. This is simply victimization of a group for their own shortcomings, namely the inability to assimilate into their adoptive cultures. Perhaps the reasons in Great Britain are even worse since that country has adopted a policy of multiculturalism rather than assimilation. Perhaps that is the true reason- half the blame lying at the feet of the British government and their policy towards Muslims and half the blame lying at the feet of the Muslims themselves.
It would seem strange that Brand would become such a defender of Islam considering his past. Muslims worldwide condemned and threatened his ex-wife, the equally minimally talented Katy Perry, over some images she used in a video. Brand himself had to cancel a “comedy” tour with stops in Lebanon and Abu Dhabi because of threats from “misunderstood alienated” Muslims in those countries. He touts as his friend BBC regular Mohammed Ansar who passes himself off as a Muslim moderate in Britain. According to Brand, they sit around in the local mosque talking Islam and philosophy (oh, to be a fly on the wall at those conversations). Unfortunately, Ansar also supports known terrorist organizations and is a regular defender of slavery.
For an idiot like Russell Brand who views the world as enslaved to capitalism, he cannot see true slavery when it hits him in the head. And like most socialists, the fault for something always lies elsewhere than the most obvious. The sad fact is that even if Europe was Brand’s great Utopia, there would still be an ISIS. Instead of becoming an arm chair sociologist explaining and apologizing away atrocities and equating them with soccer violence or alcoholism, perhaps he could take an improv class, or even some acting classes to further his miserable career. Better yet, see how far your theory extends in Raqqa, Syria or Mosul, Iraq.
This has nothing to do with alienation, loneliness, or collective depression. This has to do with a fundamental clash of Western culture with Islam and, to the individual, religion wins out over adopted culture every time. It is a religion born of the sword and expanded by the sword. They have not let go of the fact that the Crusades are over and that a Jewish state exists in the Middle East. Nor have they let go of the fact that they lost at Vienna in 1683. This is a religion still living in the Middle Ages and as long as they live there, there will always be terrorists, ISIS and European Muslim fighters. Unfortunately, there will also be no-talent “stars” like Russell Brand furthering their cause.