Here they go again: the pundits and the politicians and the editors of newspapers, repeating the same, tired urban legends we have already heard so often as they struggle to explain the Jan. 7 terrorist attacks in Paris. You know the keywords by now: “disenfranchised youth,” “unemployment,” “ghettos,” “banlieues,” “oppressed.”
The upshot of the claim is that Western Muslims are radicalizing and turning to terrorism because they are unemployed, disenfranchised youth who live in deteriorating ghettos. And sometimes that argument is followed quickly by another: their actions have nothing to do with Islam.
It’s a popular argument. But none of it is true.