The terrible link between jihadists and Islamophobes
In her book “Home Grown: How Domestic Violence Turns Men Into Terrorists,” human rights campaigner Joan Smith makes the case that “there is a close link between private and public violence.”
What do jihadists and right-wing killers have in common other than the fact they committed an act of public violence? Is there an unsuspected link between those who perpetrated attacks in the name of Islam in Britain, France and the United States and those who have attacked Muslims in the West? According to human rights campaigner Joan Smith, all were men with some history of domestic violence, mostly as perpetrators but sometimes as victims.
Many were wife beaters, misogynists and control freaks who terrorised the women in their lives. Some, such as the French-Algerian Kouachi brothers who killed the staff of Charlie Hebdo magazine in 2015, suffered at the hands of violent fathers. There is a “close link between private and public violence,” Smith writes in “Home Grown: How Domestic Violence Turns Men into Terrorists.”
The title — just like Smith’s premise — is a thought-provoking assertion. If one goes by Smith’s argument, it is time to rethink counterterrorism strategies because a person’s ideology and faith — or lack of it — doesn’t matter quite as much as their record of violence against women.
Does the argument hold water? Smith makes her case through an examination of disparate incidents of terrorism going back to 2013. In that year, the Chechen-American brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev detonated bombs at the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring several hundred. Tamerlan Tsarneav, Smith writes, was prone to violence against women, having battered a girlfriend and abused his wife.
The year after the Boston bombings there was the siege of a Sydney cafe, which was treated as a terrorist incident. The perpetrator, an Iranian-Australian man, sustained a 16-hour standoff with police but it ended with the death of several people, including the perpetrator. The attacker made confused and scattered claims that suggested a perverted view of his religious duty but Smith says the real giveaway was his…