Counter-Terrorism: Why The French Catch More Terrorists

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May 19,2008: French, German and Dutch police arrested ten Turks who were raising money for a Central Asian terrorist group, the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU). Last year, three other IJU members, including two Germans who had converted to Islam, were arrested while planning a car bomb attack in Germany. French counter-terror police have been watching the IJU for over a year, and that investigation led to the recent arrests.

The Europeans have been far more successful at finding and arresting Islamic terrorists than their American counterparts. Part of that is because there are ten times as many Moslems in Europe as there are in the United States, and it's much easier for Islamic terrorists to get into Europe (mainly because the homelands of Islamic terrorists are close). Another reason is the tendency of American Moslems to integrate into their communities more than is the case in Europe (where governments have long encouraged migrants to maintain their language and culture.) Thus U.S. Moslems are more likely to report any suspicious activity. For this reason, even before September 11, 2001, al Qaeda warned terrorists operating in the United States, to avoid American Moslems. The greater integration into U.S. society also means American Moslems are more economically successful than their peers in Europe. It's the unemployment and sense of helplessness among European Moslems that causes so many of them to become Islamic terrorists.

There are al Qaeda fans in the United States. Some are just young, or not-too-bright. But others are older and smarter and dedicated to the goals of Islamic radicalism. It's just that there aren't that many of them (the FBI won't say exactly how many, just that the number is growing), and apparently they are carefully monitored. But if a few of these lads go unnoticed, for too long, there could be another terror attack.

 


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