Terrorist attacks in Paris

The coming Islamism

Radical Islam—for not saying jihadism—is incompatible with our way of life, values, and interests. Here and in any place in the world. The West and Islam do not match, unless we surrender and submit.

2015-01-09 by Rafael Bardaji

Charlie Hebdo’s editor and cartoonists believed that publishing Muhammad cartoons repudiating the Islamic State’s jihadists was an obligation in defense of the sacred liberal principle of freedom of expression. I do not think they thought that, in fact, they were sticking their heads out of a trench of a civilizational war between modernity and barbarism – that is why they ultimately died. In Europe we still do not want to understand the nature of the threat that we face. It is not a matter of publishing, or not, satirical images, but to think, or not, that Allah is our god and Muhammad is our prophet. As we have seen since the Islamic State launched its offensive on Iraq, back in June, what awaits the non-believers is simple and clear: Deportation or death. More often than not, in fact, it has been decapitation.


European governments have taken seriously the danger posed by thousands of young men traveling from Europe, most often via Turkey, to enlist in the ranks of the bloodiest version of jihadism. If they return, thanks to the rights granted to them by their French, Spanish, or German passports, they would return with combat experience, expertise in explosives, and highly motivated to continue with their particular holy war. Undoubtedly, this is a real threat: Mehdi Nemmouche, the Frenchman who attacked the Jewish Museum in Brussels last May, had traveled to Syria and joined the ranks of jihadism, just to give one example. Recent estimates put the Europeans who have joined the Islamic State between 3,000 and 5,000, according to the source. In Spain, a minimum of 80 and a maximum of 200 might have done the same.


But let me be clear: When we talk about Europe, we mean Muslims naturalized or of Muslim immigrant descent on European soil. That is, Europeans in name only because of their passports, but little else. This is the result of years just putting multiculturalism in the forefront and celebrating the culture of denigrating our own history and values. The real problem for Europe is not that thousands of European citizens will kill and die in Syria and Iraq in the name of Allah. The real problem is how they go from normal youths to fanatics and ultimately ruthless terrorists here on our soil, among us – and all practically with the blessings of our societies and institutions, that not only allow them to be different, but that defend their right to do so. Our police forces and intelligence agents work in this field with one hand tied behind their backs because the judicial system—held hostage by political correctness—does not allow them to be sufficiently aggressive in the struggle against jihadism, from its cradle to the bomb.


Moreover, Islamic terrorism is not and cannot be considered a police issue. This is not an episode of Castle or Sherlock, in which the murderer is wanted after the crime. This is an outdated approach because nobody can be satisfied with that justice is served if we are already dead. Yesterday, it was bombs on trains and subways. Today, it is submachine gunshots (or in Israel, being stabbed.) Tomorrow, it could be much worse and massive. The action against militant political Islamism and must be, above all, preventive. That requires methods and a philosophy of action quite different from crime investigation. What sense does it make to stop a 5-year old child to be searched at an airport, but a woman is allowed to pass customs control wearing a burka and without taking off the veil? Why are sermons inciting hatred permitted simply because it is offered in a mosque?


Spain’s defense minister, Pedro Morenés, has said that jihadism pounds the weak. In fact, it smells fear and takes advantage of the ensuing paralysis. Now, after the attack against Charlie Hebdo, police measures will increase, but the fear to say what must be said will increase. No matter how obvious, here it goes: Radical Islam—for not saying jihadism—is incompatible with our way of life, values, and interests. Here and in any place in the world. The West and Islam do not match, unless we surrender and submit. But everything can happen when we no longer believe in something, not even in ourselves.

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