The ill winds that have been gathering over Europe descended with a tornado last week in Paris with the barbaric Charlie Hebdo massacre, followed by the horrific terror attack at a kosher supermarket – a total of 17 dead in three days. But alas, the horrors will in all likelihood soon recede and life will continue as usual until the next attack.
Let me say at the outset that, while obviously condemning the murders and unequivocally defending freedom of expression, I do not associate myself with the “Je suis Charlie” movement. In condemning these barbaric acts, we are not obliged to identify with the racism and vulgarity of the victims. Charlie Hebdo was obscenely offensive to Christians and Muslims and promoted vulgar anti-Semitic satire. On the other hand, some Mormons were presumably outraged by the satirical musical “The Book of Mormon” but that did not grant them license to embark on a killing spree of the producers.
Western governments have yet to internalize the reality that what happened in Paris was not merely another instance of “terrorism” but a classic manifestation of the “clash of civilizations.”
Aside from murderous attacks primarily directed against Jews in Europe over recent months, there have been ongoing massacres and atrocities committed by Islamic terrorists throughout the world. To name a few: the butchering of 2,000 Nigerians this week in the wake of the Boko Haram enslavement of 300 schoolgirls; the murder of 130 schoolchildren in Peshawar, Pakistan by the Taliban; the barbaric videos broadcast of hostages being decapitated; ongoing mass murder in Syria and Iraq; oppression of women; and gruesome persecution, expulsion and murder of Christians in the Middle East.
Today, as the global impact of Islamic fundamentalism with increasing manifestations of brutal terrorism grows exponentially, Western leaders lack the courage even to identify the enemy. It has ominous parallels to the struggle with Nazism. Then as now, Western governments initially sought to avoid conflict by appeasing the barbarians – which only served to embolden them.
This originates in 9/11 when U.S. President George W. Bush, in his call for concerted military action against global Islamic terrorism, sought to placate his Arab allies by describing Islam as a “religion of peace.” This absurd mantra was repeatedly chanted whenever Islamic terror was mentioned and has become an overused term of the political lexicon.
But it was President Barack Obama and his administration that, despite the dramatic mushrooming of Islamic terrorism, must be held accountable for systematically denying its existence, even avoiding the term “Islamic terrorism.”
The same obstinate refusal to face reality and an effort to appease their increasingly radicalized Muslim communities motivated all European governments – in particular the French – to repeatedly state, despite all evidence to the contrary, that these acts of terrorism were unrelated to Islamic radicalism and were the actions of “lone wolves” or demented individuals. Even now, when the massacres were accompanied by calls of “Allahu akbar” and “We are avenging the Prophet Muhammad,” French President François Hollande refused to use the word “Islam,” merely referring to “obscurantist” forces. However, in stark contrast to Obama, Hollande at least condemned the kosher supermarket attack as a “dreadful anti-Semitic attack.”
Throughout the world, jihadist mullahs and preachers promote hatred and extremism. In European cities, second-generation homegrown Muslims and converts are indoctrinated to endorse and in some cases participate in jihad and the murder of infidels. Those who convert are not necessarily from the underprivileged, but “ideologues,” many of whom belong to comfortable middle class families and are university graduates.
But worse has been the unspoken acquiescence of most governments and the media, preventing any meaningful discussion of the threat from Islamic extremism. Apart from downplaying and often even denying the overriding Islamic element in acts of terror, governments and media have disgracefully branded as “Islamophobic” any serious effort to discuss and analyze the problem, even promoting “hate speech” legislation to stifle any such public discussion. The 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference has attempted to make blasphemy (i.e., criticism of Islam) a crime in international law.
They have been further emboldened by the failure to immediately prosecute Islamic extremists who threaten violence against those who express criticism or dishonor Islam. What is truly ironic is that many of those on the Left who normally endorse the crudest outbursts against Christianity and Judaism, are the first to accuse any critics of Islam of Islamophobia and they display far greater concern for the sensitivities of Muslims. In many instances, Obama and European leaders have apologized and even groveled every time some crude outburst against Islam was expressed by individuals, many of whom were of marginal importance.
Of course not all Muslims are terrorists. But the number of radicals is dramatically increasing and like al-Qaida in the previous decade, Islamic State is providing them with a sense of empowerment and imbuing them with a willingness to die in pursuit of their objectives. The Paris massacres exemplify what we can expect from the thousands of well-trained indigenous battle-hardened assassins imbued with a fanaticism to sacrifice their lives to promote Islam and terrorize infidels, especially Jews, after returning from Middle East conflict zones.
While local Muslim leaders and heads of Islamic states condemned the massacres, it is chilling to witness the extent that popular public opinion, especially in the Arab world, supports terrorism. We should remind ourselves that it originated with the Iranian ayatollah’s fatwa to murder novelist Salman Rushdie, which was overwhelmingly endorsed in the Islamic world.
Even if only 20 percent of the Muslims are considered pro-jihadist – and there are in all probability more than that – this would represent two or three hundred million potential terrorists. To persist in denying the existence of such a huge Islamic terrorist presence is utterly delusional.
Above all, this undermines the moderate Islamic forces striving to stem or isolate this poisonous fanaticism that has arisen from within. Yet the Obama administration has mollycoddled the Muslim Brotherhood (a more nuanced but nevertheless direct extension of the terrorist network) and condemned the leader of the largest Muslim Middle Eastern country, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.
Ironically, in a historic and critical New Year address, largely ignored by the mainstream press, Sissi publicly expressed what Obama and Western leaders have been denying. He stated explicitly that jihadism and terrorism were linked to “the corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the centuries.” He warned that this was “antagonizing the entire world,” that “this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed … by our own hands,” and that “we are in need of a religious revolution.” (click here for video link)
Clearly, now that all parties engaged are no longer committed to democracy, this is a time to review our multicultural policies. Western governments must cease their groveling, impose draconian measures against Islamic extremists and intensify pressure on Muslim communities to purge themselves of these elements.
Issues of civil liberties must be considered secondary when the safety of innocent civilians is at stake. If that requires special surveillance and interrogation of suspect Muslims, so be it. It is common sense, not bigotry, to racially profile and concentrate on those from whose midst 99 percent of terrorist outbreaks originate.
It will require intensified penetration of mosques and Islamic community centers to identify and deal with those mullahs and fanatics promoting jihadism, including the Saudi financed Wahhabi outlets in the immigrant ghettoes. It will necessitate a rigorous monitoring of Muslim schools and Internet outlets to eradicate and prosecute the extremists who are transforming youngsters into beheaders.
Failure to act will intensify the prevailing massive swing toward parties opposed to immigration and parties of the far Right like the National Front in France, whose leader, Marine Le Pen, is now the frontrunner in presidential polls.
Jews have reassumed the role of the canary in the mine and are the first to be targeted, but the world would face the same threat if Jews did not exist. Israel has been at the frontlines confronting Islamic extremism but has received scant support. Indeed, until recently Western governments ignored the carnage in Syria, Iraq and other countries, preferring to concentrate on condemning Israeli housing construction in the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem and regarding Israel as the major lubricant to Islamic extremism. French support of the PA application to the U.N. Security Council on December 30, obviously designed to curry favor with local Muslims, did not deter terrorists from committing their massacres in Paris a week later.
For Jews, the writing has been on the wall for a long time. The virulence of the anti-Semitic hatred closing in on Jews in Europe (and elsewhere) is horrifying. Robert Wistrich, the world’s leading scholar on anti-Semitism, says that anti-Semitism in France is now in “an advanced stage of disease” that cannot be reversed. There were a series of anti-Semitic murders in France and Belgium preceding the Paris massacre but they failed to raise the same level of outrage as the Charlie Hebdo murders. There were no popular campaigns saying “Je suis Juif.” Indeed there seemed to be greater concern about “Islamophobia” than the targeted Jewish victims.
Europe is today facing a crisis as serious as the confrontation with Nazism. If Western leaders continue behaving like Chamberlain and fail to stand up to this global threat, it could usher in a new Dark Age in which the Judeo-Christian culture is subsumed by primitive barbarism. The writing is on the wall.
For Jews, the Zionist vision has once again been tragically vindicated.
Isi Leibler’s website can be viewed at www.wordfromjerusalem.com.
He may be contacted at [email protected].
This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom