Europe has been struggling against Islamic militancy for some time, though they are eager to avoid that label. Europe’s anti-Semitism, anti-Israel rhetoric, and political correctness have only exacerbated the problem.
In 1529 the armies of the Ottoman Emperor Suleiman the Magnificent lay siege to Vienna. Having conquered Hungary and with the Balkans firmly under his control, Suleiman had brought Islam to the very heart of Europe. in the centuries that followed, the Ottoman Empire would decline and slowly recede from Europe. By the late 19th Century, the Ottoman Empire would be the “old man of Europe.” Islam would not again pose so serious a threat to Europe until modern times.
The Siege of Europe
Soccer matches have been cancelled, security checkpoints established, and homes have been raided by police. Terror warnings and alerts are becoming a part of the daily routine. Europeans are now living with grief, horror, and fear. The rhythm of western life has been interrupted. This is not the first time, and it will not be the last. The Paris attack and its aftermath are an unpleasant reminder of the conflict into which westerners, including Europeans, have been thrust.
Since the influx of refugees from Syria, most made up of young men, there have been thousands of murders, rapes, thefts, assaults, and vandalisms perpetrated against Europeans with no end in sight. An attack in San Bernardino, California brought terror home to the United States, adding to a growing list of attacks perpetrated on President Obama’s watch. No one is immune, no place is safe; Islamic State and militant Islam are pervasive.
How Matters Came to This
Following post-war baby booms, European birthrates plummeted. By the 1960s, starved for unskilled labour, European states were taking in large numbers immigrants to fill the need. These immigrants largely came from former colonies in the Middle East and North Africa. They came with the intention of seeking the opportunities Europe afforded. This generation largely integrated into Europe as best they could, adopting European customs and lifestyles. There was a problem, however: the children of this first generation were not all to be unskilled labourers. The next generation had grown up “French” and “German.” They expected social mobility offered to all Europeans — opportunities they were denied by the closed ranks of an elitist European society.
This next generation felt largely cheated and were more susceptible to radicalization. In their mosques, European Muslims are bombarded with a constant torrent of anti-Jewish and anti-European rhetoric. Political correctness and anti-Semitism have hamstrung European efforts to combat militant Islam, or even name it specifically as a problem. Egged on by European anti-Israel rhetoric and socialist propaganda about “equality” and “openness,” radicals have infiltrated to, and incubated in, Europe.
How has political correctness hurt? Consider the fact that nearly all of the Paris attackers were on watch lists. The French government knew these men were dangerous but refused to arrest them for fear of public backlash. These men should have been under closer surveillance. Europe has failed to root out radical clerics. Anti-Israel and anti-Jewish rhetoric is tolerated as a seemingly justified and natural response to the Palestinian cause. Do Europeans really believe that the Palestinians are their friends? When one compares Islamic State and Hamas, for example, it is difficult to see any contrast. Yet one group directs their murderous terror campaign against Jews while the other has launched attacks inside Europe. Jews in Europe cannot feel safe, they are under a constant threat. Are Europeans really choosing militant Islam over their long standing Jewish minorities? Which group has their best interests at heart?
Even now this problem of militant Islam is being compounded by the sudden influx of refugees, the greater number of whom are young men, from Syria and North Africa. How many of these young men are benign? How many are Islamic State operatives? How can we know with certainty? One thing that can be said for certain, is that Jews can only be less secure in Europe today.
I recently wrote on the refugee crisis and the security concerns it raises. It is inhumane to people to die in the backs of lorries in Austria or in dinghies off the coast of Greece. It is likewise unacceptable for hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Middle East to scurry across Europe’s porous borders without any idea as to who these mostly young men are and what their intentions may be. The increased crime referenced above and the insecurity caused by their presence are significant concerns for which Europeans have no outlet: few political leaders or parties are willing to address the root problems.
How to Respond
Terrorists thrive off of weakness. If they see their enemies run and hide, show indifference, or worse yet, make a half-hearted effort to strike back; they will declare victory and begin planning the next attack. The way to defeat these terrorists is to stand against their agenda and show them that the use of terror tactics does not accomplish their aims. In fact, the opposite should be true: their cause should weaken from every attack. The terrorists themselves also have to be targeted and attacked divisively and effectively. This involves a combination of strengthened domestic security and the gathering of intelligence, and going overseas to root the terrorists out of their bases. Most essential of all, follow the money. Even terrorism has its expenses. Take away the financial support and the terror cells will ultimately collapse.
In brief, the three means of defeating Islamic Terrorism:
- Weaken the overall political agenda of the terrorists.
- Improve security to prevent future domestic attacks.
- Defeat the terrorists in their bases of power.
- Cutoff financial support.
While French President François Hollande claims to be after the second and third items on this agenda, let us not forget that it is his government that took no action against the Paris attackers who moved freely to and from Syria. His government was also a party to American President Barack Obama’s half-hearted efforts against Islamic State over the past year which have only seen the group gain wealth, territory, and new recruits. It was not until Russian President Vladimir Putin stepped in, primarily in support of his friend, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, that Islamic State began to feel the pressure of an effective bombing campaign. It was Putin who joined the Arab states in arming the Kurds, which the United States and allies had refused to do (to satisfy Turkey).
Nevertheless, Hollande will not effectively address the first and most important response to terrorism: he will not go against the most desired goals of militant Islam: the destruction of Israel and the Islamization of Europe. If Hollande and Europeans abandoned the Islamist agenda and supported Israel more wholeheartedly, these terrorists (of all stripes) would not only see an effective response to their campaign, both in Europe and abroad, but they would lose ground in their ongoing war against the West. Terror groups gain momentum and glory from seeming to overpower much more formidable enemies. If those formidable enemies hand the terrorists a sound defeat and show that terrorism of all forms cannot stand up to the western values of freedom and tolerance, then and only then, will they begin to weaken.
Hollande is not alone, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also failed in this agenda. Her efforts to have Israeli products from beyond the 1949 armistice line labeled are counterproductive. Especially, since many of these products are made by Arab workers. Denying economic opportunity to Arabs and legitimizing the cause of Islamic terrorists will accomplish little. Nor has she made a firm stand on the refugee situation, preferring instead to transfer the onus to Turkey for stemming the tide of refugees. For what reason should Turkey make a stand?
Europe is suffering from a total lack of leadership. If divide and conquer is the strategy of militant Islam, it is succeeding brilliantly. Even if Islamic State is defeated, the next head to appear on the chimera of militant Islam will pick up right where they left off.
Advocates for a more appropriate response to Islamic militancy are labelled bigots and racists. How can we begin to address the real threat if we cannot even name it for fear of such name calling?
Incompetence Bordering on the Surreal
The Paris attacks are a recent memory, and the wounds are still fresh. Nevertheless, a conference on Climate Change was convened in Paris shortly thereafter. Presidents Obama and Hollande have claimed that holding this conference is the best way to combat the terrorists. How? By making them laugh themselves to death? This is precisely the kind of weakness the terrorists thrive on! By claiming that global climate change is the greatest threat, our leaders again prevaricate and vacillate. They show that they are incompetent and unable to address the greatest threat facing mankind: Islamic militancy and terrorism.