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Terrorism in France: The threat of radical Islamists

The Paris tragedy highlights the danger posed by radical Islamists in France and the West

Said Shehata , Sunday 22 Nov 2015
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Views: 1659

Pursuing Western targets has now become the new stage of atrocities committed by the so-called the Islamic State; 129 were killed and 350 injured in the Paris incidents.

Some individuals from Belgium are implicated in those attacks and it should be mentioned that the highest percentage of radical Islamists who have joined the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq come from Belgium.

France had already experienced a similar massacre earlier this year, when radicals attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine and other locations, killing 17 people.

There were many plots to launch similar attacks in different European cities which have been foiled. For example, a few days ago 13 people were arrested in simultaneous operations in Italy, the UK and Norway after arrest warrants were issued.

Other operations took place in Germany, Finland and Switzerland, and authorities said that suspected leaders and members of a Norway-based group known as Rawti Shax were arrested. Investigators said they had enough support to recruit and transport fighters to Syria.

At the centre of the alleged extremist ring being targeted is Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad, a radical Iraqi preacher who lives in Norway and is known as Mullah Krekar. Ahmad was facing an 18-month prison term for praising the murder of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists at the start of the year.

There are thousands of radicals like Ahmad in the West, and it seems that it is a daunting task to eliminate the danger of those evil elements from Western societies. The freedom and laws in these countries are a fertile soil for such Islamists, and the radicals have exploited legal mechanisms in order to recruit and to encourage hatred among potential jihadists who seek to commit terrorist acts against innocent people.

Other elements contribute to the dark picture of the flourishing number of radicals in Europe. The main one is Islamic thought and discourse. As far as Islam intervenes in politics, it will be used to justify those acts of terror. Islam should be separated from politics and the state, as happened in Europe with Christianity.

Before then, Europe lived in a dark era under the rule of the church. It witnessed enlightenment and progress when religion and the church were kept in the private sphere and excluded from the public sphere.

In addition, Western governments should find creative ways to integrate Muslims in their societies. Both France's assimilation policy and the UK's multiculturalism have proved a failure. Refugees and migrants should be scrutinised before being received in Europe; the open door policy is dangerous since some radicals might be among the big wave of migrants seen recently by Europe.

In addition, some refugees and migrants hate the West and believe in restoring the Islamic caliphate by force. Europe and especially the UK, has welcomed radical Islamists into their territory.

Furthermore, those mosques, Islamic schools and Muslim organisations in the West that are are found to recruit, encourage or finance radicals should be closed. Claims of Islamophobia and tolerance should be challenged when they are abused and political correctness must be dropped from politicians’ discourse.

The so-called Islamic State should be weakened. It is considered the symbol of the Islamic caliphate and inspiration for jihadists. Finally, Western foreign policies in the Middle East should be revised to take into consideration the anger and concerns of people from this region as well as other countries, such as Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Unfortunately, it is not going to be the last attack, since many steps must be taken to face this nightmare. Security and intelligence agencies alone are not able to stop all future terrorist plots, and here other elements should complement, this such as schools, universities, media, mosques, Muslim leaders and integration policies.

The writer is a political analyst. 
 

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Sam Enslow
24-11-2015 08:52pm
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@Tut
No one will reward Egypt for doing what is in its own interests. The reward is Egypt's freedom. However, if Egypt reformed its judicial system, its police forces, actually fought corruption (not just against people stealing from the State but also government employees stealing from the people), and established internationally recognized laws on investment, banking, etc and enforced them, US firms have over two trillion US$ looking for investment opportunities. The companies would identify areas in which they want to invest. Governments cannot tell them where to invest. They will see opportunities. It would help if they and their employees were greeted as friends and not as thieves and spies.
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Tut
25-11-2015 12:15am
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Sam; no one looking for reward
It's called "International Investment Plan" based on a meaningful economic Masterplan and democratic environment. The world needs an Arab country to so the heavy lifting on terrorism; no Western country will be able to defeat ISIS on the ground, but this is a different discussion.
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Tut
24-11-2015 01:33am
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Time for actions, Egypt!
Timid, coward, and apathetic Islamic leaders in the Mid-East and Europe run their course. It is time for a new bold leadership that takes actions against Islamic terrorism with the stomach to defend these actions. Egypt is well positioned to assume this role, not with the wishy-washy approach it’s taking now. This is the opportunity for Egypt to take 4 actions: (1) use the beefed-up army to lead Arab ground troops defeating ISIS with Western airpower. (2) Denounce distorted Salafist and Wahhabi teachings, if it means loosing GCC aid be it. (3) develop a 1 Trillion-dollar economic plan funded by the international community to develop Egypt and compensate for its sacrifices. (3) Revamp its internal democracy to reflect a new modern Egypt playing a civilized Islamic leadership. What other alternatives Egypt has with large capable army, dire economy, degraded regional role, youth despair, and no national unity? Create a new purpose to help Islam and the civilized world.
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Dan
23-11-2015 07:06pm
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Sad but true
To me it is sad but true that Islamic centers of worship and learning must be challenged, both in the west and in the middle east to move away from political discourse. If Islamic leaders turn a blind eye to the Muslim Brotherhood and all their many affiliates,Daesh and the Salafists will be successful, in polarizing the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds. I hope (and pray) that Islamic leaders can clearly identify how to stop Salfist ideology from destroying Islam from within and find new ways to bring all the people of the world together.
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