They’re certainly young Muslim men, but other than that who are they?
There is no question that Muslims, and especially young Muslim men, are a force to be reckoned with. Muslims make up a quarter of the world’s population, their young men probably a good portion of that. As a single religion Muslims are only outnumbered by Christians.
But their number is not what makes them so noteworthy, let alone threatening to the rest of us. What is most notable about them is their extreme thinness of skin. They dislike, better hate being singled out, criticized, made fun of, caricatured as in Charlie Hebdo, and if and when they are, rather than criticize, make fun of, caricature, or best, ignore their tormenters, they may, and often much too readily as in the offices of Charlie Hebdo, respond with Kalashnikovs blazing.
When I look at the picture above (from TNR this week) I wonder if these young men are representative of hundreds of thousands of their co-religionists, or rather, and as I’d like to have it, if they are only a small minority population of Jihadists like themselves that will disappear in their respective countries as living and especially working conditions for the young begin to improve, as they must if the Muslim populations would as a whole leave the Middle Ages behind and join the rest of us in the 21st. century.
In other words how deep into the Muslim 1.8 billion population do the extreme anti-Western, anti us views, probably held by the men pictured above, descend? Do the Muslim leaders, the Muslim authorities have any idea themselves? Do these leaders hold the same ideas? Well there you have it, what some would call it, the elements of a Clash of Civilizations.