Yehuda Lapian
Building bridges in Israel and supporting IDF veterans

From Sanctuary to Strife: European Mosques Becoming Incubators of Global Terror

Recent attacks by Hamas on October 7, followed by hundreds of missiles from Hezbollah, and the attack this week by Iran, served as a reminder to Israelis that they are at war not just with neighboring countries but also with states located far away. The primary motivation of these countries is to spread hate and antisemitism and to gradually execute the Islamic legal system in Europe. Despite all this, Israel can still breathe and perhaps celebrate Passover thanks to our brave pilots, the Iron Dome defense system, and the support of President Joe Biden.

Most leaders around the world believe that terrorist attacks were planned and developed in the heart of European cities, at mosques linked to radical Islam, and that these attacks are a frightening manifestation of the growing threat to the free world. In the wake of recent terrorist attacks across Israel, in addition to the pro-Hamas demonstrations throughout Europe that are full of racist chants and encourage murder and rape in the name of Islam, it has become increasingly evident that the seeds of extremism were not sown in distant lands but rather cultivated right in the heart of European cities. These “peaceful” mosques, once revered as places of spiritual solace, have tragically transformed into breeding grounds for radical Islam, serving as the incubators for ideologies that fuel acts of terror around the world.

Let us not forget the pivotal moment in modern history: September 11, 2001, when the world witnessed the horrors of terrorism on an unimaginable scale. The September 11 attacks not only shook the foundations of the United States but also changed the way we view security, travel, and international relations. Let us not forget 2015, which marked a watershed moment in Europe’s struggle against extremism. The horrific attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo was carried out by two French-born Muslim brothers who murdered 12 people and sent shockwaves across the continent, laying bare the extent to which radicalization had penetrated European communities.

But the atrocities did not end there. Just months later, the streets of Paris were once again plunged into chaos as terrorists unleashed a massacre at the Bataclan Concert Hall and other locations across the city. The perpetrators were a group of French and Belgian-born Muslim gunmen and suicide bombers who, this time, murdered 130 people. Many of these terrorists had been radicalized within the confines of European mosques and indiscriminately took the lives of innocent civilians in the name of their perverted ideology. Fast forward to 2021, and Europe found itself once again reeling from the devastating impact of terrorism. From the bombing in London to the attacks in various cities across the continent, the specter of extremism continued to haunt the streets, claiming lives and instilling fear in the hearts of millions. As investigations unfolded, it became increasingly clear that the roots of these attacks could be traced back to the very mosques that dot Europe’s urban landscapes.

Amidst the darkness, there is still hope. It is crucial that we tackle this problem head-on by addressing the underlying issues that have allowed extremism to take hold in our society. This means holding accountable those who spread hate speech and incite violence within the mosques while also promoting a culture of inclusion and tolerance that celebrates diversity rather than demonizing it. Don’t wait until your streets become unrecognizable. Please don’t wait until violent and radical individuals threaten our communities. We must act decisively and proactively to protect our values, liberties, and the principles that Europe holds dear. It’s not too late; we can still ensure that the light of tolerance and peace triumphs over the darkness of extremism and terror.

Even though our hearts are broken, we will celebrate Passover with pride and joy for our tradition and country here in Israel. We will remind ourselves how our ancestors left Egypt and built a wonderful country. We will move forward with the words of Winston Churchill to the nation while fighting darkness and evil: ‘Keep calm and carry on’.

About the Author
Yehuda Lapian is a community manager at the Peace of Mind program, working to support IDF veterans in their transition to a healthy civilian life. Formerly an advisor at the Knesset, he worked to strengthen the relationship between Israel and America and inspire influencers to learn the truth about Israel. Yehuda graduated from the Ma'ale Gilboa Yeshiva and Elul Program in "Beit Prat" and had the privilege of getting to know Rabbi Sacks Z"l, who motivated him to move to Tel Aviv and to stay in Israel and be connected to tradition. Yehuda recently completed 120 days of service in Gaza. Since returning, he's been speaking publicly at different demonstrations and TV channels about equal drafting in the IDF and helping post-traumatic veterans. A lover of books and movies, a competitor for the Israeli ice swimming team, and although usually losing, playing chess online.
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