Terrorism: July 18, 2005


The Islamic terrorist attack on London on July 7th was not unexpected. With twenty million Moslems in Europe, and European and Moslem media enraged by the liberation of Iraq (calling it an illegal occupation instead), its amazing that there have been only two attacks in the last two years. Euro-Moslems have been overwhelmingly opposed to operations in Iraq, and Afghanistan as well. Worldwide, Moslem media have bought into the idea that the war on Islamic terrorists is actually a war against Islam. Since European nations have been energetically pursuing Islamic terrorists, and have not been completely accepting of their Moslem citizens, there ought to be a huge pool of support for Islamic terrorists in Europe. But there is not. 

To be sure, dozens of Islamic terrorist plots to launch attacks, similar to those in London and Madrid, have been thwarted by efficient and energetic European police forces. Unlike the United States, European nations have long maintained internal intelligence forces and stricter control over their own citizens (mandatory identity cards and the like). This has made it easier to detect terrorist activity. But the Islamic radicals have a major advantage in Europe, because Moslem migrants there take generations to be assimilated, while the process in the United States is much quicker. As a result, Europe is full of Moslem communities where the languages and customs of the old country, not their new homeland, prevail. It's easy for an Islamic radical from the old country to come in and try recruiting terrorists. In the United States, a much higher proportion of people in the Moslem community will promptly call the police if this happens. In Europe, this is less likely to happen. 

Of all the European nations, Britain has been the most assimilationist, followed by France. Elsewhere in Europe, the ancient belief in blood prevents foreigners from being accepted, including getting citizenship. But al Qaeda recruiters have not had it easy. Despite the hostile atmosphere, the Moslem migrants are in Europe because they were unhappy with life in the old country. While the migrants may demonstrate homesickness by continuing to speak their native languages, and practice their old customs, they dont want to go back, and want their children to take advantages of the educational and employment benefits in their new homeland. 

Over a century of experience in the United States has shown that a small percentage of second generation migrants will be attracted to radical ideas from the old country no matter what you do. This has produced over a century of anarchist, fascist, nationalist and communist terrorists and activists in America. Now Europe has a generation of Islamic terrorists. So whats new?

One major new development is the ease with which these young activists can travel back to the old country for more training in terrorism and activism. Another difference is that, with the war on terror, most of the European media backs the terrorists indirectly by agreeing with the Islamic activists that the removal of the Baath Party in Iraq was wrong. This is a side effect of the European custom of trying to make deals with international terrorists, offering sanctuary as long as there were no attacks in the host country. This has not always worked, but often it has. Britain, for example, has long been the refuge for Islamic radicals. These people got political asylum, even though they were wanted for Islamic terrorism in their home countries. It was believed that these Islamic radicals would not endanger their refuge by getting involved in planning or encouraging attacks in Britain. But it turned out that Islamic radicals hiding out in Britain continued to support and encourage Islamic terrorism within Britain, despite the risk to their own refuge. 

Europeans have been rethinking their asylum rules, but their legal systems provide considerable access to appeals and delays for suspected terrorist recruiters. Moreover, since Islamic radicals and terrorists are on a mission from God, they see any opportunity as a means to carry on their war against infidels (non-Moslems). Europeans are having a hard time accepting the nature of the enemy. Europeans have also developed an attitude that the ills of the Arab and Moslem world are the fault of Europe and the West. Logic, liberalism and good intentions dont seem to have much impact on the hard core Islamic radicals. Europeans are having a difficult time accepting this, for it means accepting that some European assumptions have been wrong, and some American attitudes were correct. There is a lot of resistance this, and it adds yet another dimension to the war on terror.


Article Archive

Terrorism: Current 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close