Gabriel Sandler was 3 years old. Aryeh Sandler was 6. Miriam Monsonego was 8. Abel Chennouf and Mohamed Legouad were French soldiers. Ahmed Merabet was a policeman. Stéphane Charbonnier drew cartoons. Their lives were all cut short by the hatred of violent Jihadists. Their names will eventually mean little as Europe becomes acclimatized to living with Islamist extremism. Soon enough, deaths by the bullets of Allahu Akhbar shouting terrorists will be as banal as those from car accidents or heart attacks. It shouldn’t be like that.
Left-wing political commentators and pseudo-Marxist university professors will appear on TV to tell us that the deaths of the more than innocent 130 people in Paris were actually our fault. If only Muslims in France had bigger apartments, they wouldn’t become radicalized and feel the urge to kill people at rock concerts, restaurants, and schools. Maybe they are just responding to the legacy of European colonialism, even though by now most perpetrators are likely to have been born and raised right here in Europe, where they were given housing, an education, and the opportunity for a life that their parents and grandparents could never dream of. Or it’s all about Israel. If Israel could just go away the extremists wouldn’t massacre Jews in their synagogues and shops.
But the size of your apartment, a history through which you never actually lived, or the existence of a country you may not like is not what drives a person to worship death and to forsake life. Only an idea is strong enough to make death preferable to life and only an idea can convince a person to take the lives of those who don’t share that very same idea. If the idea comes from God himself and it promises paradise with many pretty girls in exchange for eradicating those that God hates, then it will motivate its adherents to stop at nothing. And it is an idea that must be defeated.
The people who orchestrated the attacks are laughing at us. Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind behind the Paris massacres boasted about how easy it was to kill Europeans in their own land. The leaders of the Western world have decided to drop a few more bombs, but refuse to enter the real battlefield, that of ideas. They refuse to argue that our values, those of Life, Liberty and Equality are superior to Death, Oppression and Subjugation. Instead Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are trying to outdo each other in who shouts louder that the attacks had nothing to do with Islam. They have such a low, patronizing opinion of Muslims when they claim that criticizing an idea will just force more people to become head-cutting Jihadists. In the meantime, thousands more young men will leave to join Islamic State, which offers them a sense of purpose, an adventure, as well as a few Christian and Yazidi sex slaves. In order to win the war of ideas, three basic things must be acknowledged.
First, we must openly admit that ISIS and the broader forms of Islamic extremism have something to do with Islam. Islamist terrorists recite the Shahada, the affirmation that there is only one God and that Muhammed is His (final) prophet. When they kill, they openly say that they do it in the name of Islam. However, the opinions of infidels on who is or isn’t a real Muslim are irrelevant. In 2014, Al-Azhar University, the intellectual center of Sunni Islam, which accounts for 90% of the global Muslim population, clearly stated that “No believer can be declared an apostate, regardless of his sins,” thereby affirming that the Jihadists are in fact still Muslims.
Second, we must accept that no bombs or bullets can defeat an idea. Even if we chase the terrorists out of Syria and Iraq, they will still carry out their attacks from Brussels and Paris. Only Muslims can defeat Islamic extremism by reforming their religion. It is understandable that many of them are equally terrified by the violent Jihadists and very sincerely believe that ISIS has nothing to do with real Islam. However, when good people remain silent and passive, they allow those among them who preach hate to dominate the debate. Calls for violence against homosexuals, against Muslims who disagree with you over who should have succeeded Mohammad, against people who have no desire to ever convert to Islam, and most importantly against Muslims who wish to leave the faith should be resisted and condemned by all Muslims. It is true that those willing to commit atrocities are few in proportion to the faith’s 1.6 billion followers. However, the ideas that propel them to murder others have the support of hundreds of millions.
Third, we infidels must confront and thoroughly discredit the self-appointed, politically correct police among our ranks who continue to make excuses for every massacre and prevent the necessary societal debates from happening. While these people don’t pull the trigger themselves, they are directly complicit in the murder of every gay person, Jew, Christian, Yazidi, Shia, Ahmadi, Hindu, Kurd, and atheist. They were the ones who had the guts to argue that Mohamed Merah was the real victim, even while he extinguished the life of an eight year old girl when he shot her in the head at point blank range.
There is no quick and easy solution. The reality is that more innocent lives will be lost and we will finally get a taste of the struggles that people in Iraq, Kenya, and Nigeria have to endure. In the meantime, we need to police our borders and thoroughly vet all migrants to ensure that they do not have connections to radical organizations. We need to help those already fighting the extremists. Few have given so many of their lives like the fighters of Kurdistan, as they struggle to be free people in their own land. However, the ultimate clash is one of ideas, the ideas that will convince all Muslims to tolerate those who disagree with them and the ideas that will allow us to confidently state that our free and open society is superior to the culture of fear and death espoused by the Jihadists.
There is of course another alternative, which should scare Europeans far more than any act of terror. If we continue appeasing extremists and giving in to political correctness, eventually the people will get tired of watching their cities burn. They will turn to those who will solve the problem without caring about our human rights and liberties. These people will make the likes of Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders look liberal and they will destroy everything that Europe has tried to build since the closure of Auschwitz.