Published in the Washington Post July 3, 2015
When three young men left behind the gentle West Yorkshire hills to blow themselves up on London trains and buses 10 years ago next week, the astonishment felt by people in this multiethnic area of northern England soon gave way to a desire to come together.
Rabbis, priests and Imams linked arms and called for peace. Police and community leaders agreed to cooperate on efforts to stamp out Islamist violence. The government soon rolled out an ambitious program to make sure that nothing like the July 7, 2005, bombings, which killed 52 people and are known in Britain as 7/7, would happen again.
A decade later, nothing like it has.
But when three sisters left their homes here last month and traveled to Syria with their nine children, ostensibly to live within the Islamic State, the local reaction illustrated just how much has changed in Britain’s fight against extremism. Authorities whispered that something must have gone wrong in the women’s homes or communities. Family members countered that the police had driven the women to a desperate act…
“What’s happened in the past 10 years is that we’ve become more polarized as a society,” said Alyas Karmani, a Bradford city councillor and Muslim community leader. “We haven’t really achieved anything. We’re just repeating the same mistakes.”
Britain is hardly alone in that respect. Thousands of young Muslims from Western countries have heeded the bloodcurdling call of the Islamic State, leaving behind societies they see as decadent, hypocritical and irreligious to start new lives in a war zone… Read more.