October 18, 2004

Hearts 'n' Minds: Homegrown Imam edition

European universities have come up with a slick new approach to spreading moderate Islam: breed a new generation of Western-trained Muslim clerics:
The goal of the European Institute for Human Sciences, as the coeducational school is known, is an urgent one shared by political leaders and intelligence and law enforcement authorities across the Continent.

They believe that the growing Muslim population of Europe must stanch the migration of Muslim clerics who often are self-appointed, unfamiliar with the West, beholden to foreign interests and in the most extreme cases, full of hate and capable of terrorist acts. To that end, they say, a homegrown breed of imams must be created.
While it's worth noting that a number of Western-trained Islamic fundamentalists became extremely radicalized because of their experiences in Europe (Sayeed Qutb, for one), the EIHC obviously might be on to something. It's also worth noting that some of the most innovative approaches to waging an ideological war against militant Islam will probably come from Europe over the next few years. France, Britain, Germany--all of them have radical clerics in their midst, and while making arrests and spying on immigrants have their place, no doubt, the only viable solutions are all of the "hearts and minds" variety.
-- Brad Plumer 3:17 AM || ||