Sunday, December 07, 2008

Starbucks, churches, and jihadis

Ha! This is funny...(hat tip Religion News Service)


Its a nice parody - this competitive selling is quite familiar in the US - with the mega-churches and all that, but I was thinking about the tactics used for recruitment by the various Jihadi groups here in Pakistan and the differences and similarities between the two modes of recruitment. I had posted earlier on an excellent Atlantic Monthly article on secularism and wealth, and it talked about the growth of American religions:
Religious monopolies or near-monopolies, such as state-sponsored churches, generally throttle religious practice over time, especially as a country becomes wealthier; the European experience amply demonstrates this. Lacking any incentive to innovate, churches atrophy, and their congregations dwindle. But places with a free religious marketplace witness something very different: entrepreneurs of the spirit compete to save souls, honing their messages and modulating many of their beliefs so as to appeal to the consumer. With more options to choose from, more consumers find something they like, and the ranks of the religious grow.
Can we think about the growth of Jihadi groups in the same way (in terms of recruitment strategies)? Jihadis are operating in a free Jihadi marketplace here and there is no Jihadi monopoly. They have been inventive and their diversity (not in terms of religion - but rather in their goals and modes of operation) provide choices for people with various level of discontentment. But of course guns may alter the free marketplace model...

Hmm....may be a starbucks parody of Jihadis won't be as funny...