British newspapers have begun to read like a highlights reel of what many perceive as an irreversible trend in Britain: The attacks on the London Transport in 2005 by British-born nationals, the brutal killing of Lee Rigby in 2013 by converted and radicalized Muslims of Nigerian descent, the heartbreaking beheading of journalist James Foley and others by a British-accented militant (a jihadist known as "John the Beatle") along with an estimated 500 other Britons fighting for ISIL in Syria, not to mention almost two dozen women emigrating to become jihadi brides. Even domestic institutions seem to be vulnerable; Operation Trojan Horse revealed a detailed plan by hardline Muslim community leaders in Birmingham to remove head teachers hostile to Islamic principles in city schools. This pattern is not an escalation but – perhaps more troubling – reflects the continuation of a malignant and deep-seated problem: not all citizens of free societies value freedom, especially freedom for others.
This is not a problem of religion. This is not a problem of immigration. And, despite British Prime Minister David Cameron's assertion, the root of the problem is not even the "poisonous" political ideology of fundamental Islam. The root problem – where ideological extremism flourishes – is alienation. Disaffected, second- and third-generation immigrant youth are seeking alternative communities of belonging that conflict with a free society. To this problem, there is plenty of blame to go around.