Counter-Terrorism: Hiding In Plain Sight

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April 13, 2016: One of more embarrassing, for Europe, side-effects of the recent ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) attacks in Paris and Brussels was unwanted publicity for the way the European justice systems works, especially when it comes to Islamic terrorists. Many of the planners and participants in these attacks had been identified as Islamic terrorists before the attacks. Often the first indications were from the Turkish police who have been monitoring, and sometimes arresting, European Moslems (known or suspected of being Islamic terrorists) travelling to or from Syria via Turkey. In the case of the recent Paris/Brussels attacks some of the Islamic terrorists involved were not only noted by the Turks but French and Belgian police had records of these alerts and verified some of the suspicions. But it was discovered that, other than adding some information to a database, police in Europe did little or nothing in most cases. Worse, some of the Islamic terrorists involved were arrested on weapons or non-terrorism criminal charges and either released or given sentences that did not involve jail time (or not much of it).

All European states are guilty of this sort of thing, although the south European states are more “Islamic terrorist friendly” than Britain and Germany. Europeans regularly criticize the United States for prosecuting and jailing Islamic terrorists for long terms in very secure (supermax) prisons but as Middle Eastern Islamic terrorism experts will tell you, that is the best approach. While Europeans strongly believe in the rehabilitation effect of imprisonment and the need to keep most convicted criminals out of prison, the Islamic terrorists tend to be more dedicated to their lifestyle and see the European style justice and penal systems as a weakness to be taken advantage of. The aftermath of the Paris and Brussels attacks made all this quite obvious but there is still a lot of resistance in Europe to cracking down on known Islamic terrorists and their supporters. It may take more major attacks to change minds about the difference between traditional European criminals and ideology driven Islamic terrorists.

There is a more serious problem with the sheer number of Islamic terrorist suspects and sympathizers among the millions of Moslems in Europe. Moslems in general say they oppose Islamic terrorism and that Islam is the “religion of peace.” But given the fact that 95 percent of terrorism deaths are attributable to Islamic terrorists and that has been the case for over two decades what is one to make of the situation? Multiple surveys of Moslem populations worldwide show that about 12 percent of the 1.5 billion Moslems on the planet support Islamic terrorism. That’s nearly 200 million people. That explains why after every major Islamic terrorists attack in the West there are open and unmolested (by the police or anyone else) celebrations in most Moslem nations and even in some where Moslems are a minority. This was noted in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, but most governments of these Moslem nations made loud and unequivocal condemnations of these Islamic terror attacks, at least to non-Moslem countries. But internally Westerners who were present in Moslem countries at the time (as some U.S. military personnel were) often saw these celebrations and those who spoke the local language had no illusions about what was being celebrated. There are no such celebrations (most of the time) when the Islamic terrorists are killing Moslems somewhere. In fact most of the victims of Islamic terrorism are Moslems. Thus Moslems can say, with some degree of truth that all Moslems condemn Islamic terrorist violence, without adding that this regret only applies when the victims are fellow Moslems.

You would think that Moslems who move to the West would all be hostile to Islamic terrorism no matter who the victims were. That is not the way it works. Fewer of these Moslems support Islamic terrorism, but there are still a lot who do. A 2014 survey of European nations to discover support for ISIL resulted in some surprising results. In Germany two percent of the adults supported ISIL, while in Britain it was seven percent and in France 15 percent. While many of these supporters are Moslems, only 4.6 percent of Germans, five percent of Britons and 7.5 percent of the French are Moslems. Thus there is support from non-Moslems and a closer look at the data shows that ISIL support is higher among the young and falls sharply among older people. Many of the ISIL supporters are actually angry at their own government for various reasons. Still, the ISIL support is part of the overall support (or tolerance) for Islamic radicalism in the West and the recent growth of European anti-Semitism.

In the wake of the 2005 Islamic terrorist bombings in Britain a survey of British Moslems was conducted. Not surprisingly 88 percent of the million Moslems in Britain were either hostile or unsympathetic to Islamic terrorism. But 24 percent has some sympathy for the motives of the terrorists (“defending Islam” and all that) while six percent believed the Islamic terrorist violence was justified. More troubling was the 18 percent of British Moslems who felt little loyalty towards Britain.

The fact of the matter is that Islam is fundamentally hostile to the non-Moslem world. Many Moslems in the West complain about how many of the Moslem clerics trained in Moslem countries and then brought to the West to serve Moslem congregations there automatically give sermons backing hostility and even violence towards non-Moslems. These clerics take it for granted that such hostility is demanded from all Moslems. Nearly all religious schools that train Moslem clerics accept this hatred and hostility although many are prudent enough to stop short of actively supporting Islamic terrorism.

Most Moslems, especially those living in the West, when confronted with this problems (especially in a one-on-one discussion with a non-Moslem) will admit that there is no easy solution. Most Moslems move to the West for economic reasons but many also come to get away from the constant calls for violence against non-Moslems and any Moslems who don’t agree with that or belong to some Moslem sect (like Shia or Sufis, who comprise over 15 percent of all Moslems). This violence is usually carried out by Moslems who consider themselves more “authentic” (more conservative and strict in adherence to Moslem religious practices.) A growing number of Moslem nations are trying to control the degree of hatred (against non-Moslems and “other” Moslems) in religious schools but are finding it difficult. Most Moslems just accept this nasty cultural artifact and ignore the implications when they can. But as more Moslems and non-Moslems are killed by Moslem religious fanatics a growing number of Moslems are beginning to take responsibility for what is happening because not enough Moslems actively oppose the hate and tolerate those who carry out mass murder in the name of Islam. Until there is a large scale and active Moslem opposition to the purveyors and practitioners of violence in the name of Islam, the violence will continue.

 


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