Jihad in Europe and the threat of terrorism: an honest assessment
Every few weeks it happens now. One or more radicalized Muslims launch a gruesome attack on random civilians in Europe. Paris, Brussels, Nice, Berlin, Stockholm, London, Manchester and countless others fill the infamous list of Jihad in Europe.
The shock seems to be getting more tempered. It appears that people are somehow trying to get used to the threat of terrorism, and indeed, many realize that it is bound to happen again. The expressions of mourning that follow, are more clichéd, more routine than the time before; flowers, teddy bears and the singing of feel-good songs by a multi-cultural crowd. Leaders often speak about such tragedies as if they are horrific twists of fate, accidents almost.
People of Europe, we must not forget what we are facing here, namely acts of political violence aimed at murdering as many civilians as possible. We are talking about the massacre of our fellow European citizens during a night out, at a concert or a football match, or during a Christmas celebration. These are attacks on our society and culture; directed attempts to destabilize and ultimately bring down our civilization itself.
Of course, we need expressions of sorrow and calls for cohesion and of course we need to remind ourselves that most Muslims reject radicalism, but we need more than that. A growing number of Europeans want to see immediate and decisive government action against the threat of terrorism. Moreover, they want leaders to strongly denounce militant political Islam, a violent ideology from the darkest corners of the Middle East. If our current politicians will not act soon, more and more people will be tempted to vote for Kremlin-backed anti-European parties in the future.
The reaction of European governments is even more unsatisfactory given their failure to counter the continuous Migrant Crisis in Europe. In particular, Europeans cast their blame on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her controversial open-door immigration policy. Although Merkel’s intentions were undoubtedly good when she invited Syrian refugees to Germany in the summer of 2015, the effects of her ‘invitation’ have been destabilizing for the whole of Europe. From the start, many warned against bringing in massive numbers of people from a sectarian civil war in the Middle East to the heart of Europe. After all, the threat of terrorism by Islamists was already looming and EU-countries were still struggling with the integration of migrants from previous decades.
When more and more boats started arriving, we also saw that many of the incoming asylum-seekers were actually migrants from different countries than Syria, ranging from Morocco to Bangladesh. Instead of strongly affirming that her invitation had been strictly for war refugees from the Middle East, and that all others were not welcome, Angela Merkel kept encouraging the stream of people that was now crossing our continent; media outlets branding them all as ‘refugees’. In Western Europe and especially in Germany, people who publically expressed their worries about the arrival of ‘the refugees’, were quickly accused of xenophobia by the politically correct consensus.
The new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe did object as tens of thousands of (primarily) young men from Africa and Asia were illegally passing their borders, but Merkel refused to listen to the concerns of her EU-counterparts. Neither did she listen to those who pointed out that her policy was facilitating the people-smuggling business. Asylum centres soon ran out of beds and at many border crossings in the Balkans makeshift slums appeared. German politicians, including members of Merkel’s own party, tried to push for a restriction in the number of migrants, but Merkel kept tiresomely repeating that there is ‘no limit to our humanity’. With streams of people continuing to move into our continent, Merkel had de facto nullified Europe’s outside borders.
Then came 13 November 2015, the day when terrorists, including some who had used the migrant-route to enter Europe, committed a massacre in downtown Paris. Since then we have seen increasing acts of barbarism we thought not possible anymore in Europe; the attacks in Brussels, Nice, Berlin and Manchester, the mass sexual assault in Cologne; suicide bombings, shootings, random knife attacks, the crushing of crowds of people under the wheels of cargo trucks. The threat of terrorism now lives in the mind of every European.
Many Europeans see that the situation on their continent is deteriorating and they are, at least partially, right in pointing their finger at Angela Merkel. The German chancellor has, against the advice of citizens, scholars and European leaders, pushed for the migration of hundreds of thousands of people from Africa and Asia to Europe. As many had feared, some of these people turned out to be terrorists and criminals. We have recently seen numerous cases of terrorism and sexual violence, and immigration related fears in the UK have been a major reason for the victory of the 2016 ‘Brexit’-campaign. In many EU- countries, including Germany, the far-right has become a potent political force.
Despite all this, Merkel still defends her policy. A policy which has turned out to be hopefully naïve and, for someone in Merkel’s position, criminally negligent. “Nobody said it was going to be easy” she responded after one of the many incidents of senseless bloodshed in the streets of Germany. Many Germans asked: is it not the primary task of a government to protect its own citizens? If we know now for sure that some of the migrants mean harm to us, it means that our government’s migration policy has failed, because unacceptable security risks have appeared as a result of it.
Then, what is there to be done? We all know that one cannot prevent every terrorist attack, but a large number of Europeans want to see a stop to an obvious contributing factor to Islamist terrorism on our continent, namely the open border policy promoted by people like Angela Merkel. The vast majority of migrants illegally arriving to Europe are not sent back, even if these people come from safe countries, like the Berlin-Christmas market attacker did. Plus, if a terrorist attack does take place, Europeans want to see a powerful, strident response. We need an assurance that all legal means will be used to keep us safe. Moreover, we want political leaders to strongly condemn the backward ideology of Islamism that has no place on our continent. If the current policies do not change now, people will possibly not only blame Merkel for increasing the threat of terrorism, or for implementing a massive demographic experiment with an uncertain outcome, but also for far-right electoral victories in the long term, and therefore for the fall of the entire EU.
Original version posted on our Facebook page.