We must stop blaming ourselves for Islamist terrorism
How many more excuses are we going to make before we face the facts? How many more fifth-rate, sixth-form debates will we have to sit through? Why, whenever any act of Islamist terror is carried out on Western society do we race to ask all the wrong questions, all based on the central fallacy that this is somehow our own fault? We wring our hands and make excuses. And then we blame ourselves. “What did we do to make this happen?” we ask, time after time.
Unfortunately, there are always people on hand eager to feed our self-absorption and ignorance. “It is your foreign policy,” they say. Perhaps after Brussels people might question this response a little more searchingly. Aside from Bhutan, Belgium probably has the least interventionist foreign policy of any country in the world.
Other apologists answer that terrorists are moved to blow up trains and gun down people in cafes because they feel disenfranchised and ostracised, with few employment opportunities. This is particularly strange when you consider that there is record unemployment in Southern Europe right now and none of our cities has yet been visited by a jobless Catholic Italian modelling a suicide vest. It is about poverty, excuse-seekers say. Yet nobody from the most deprived estates of Glasgow has yet carried this idea to its illogical conclusion.
Indeed, people like to think that deprivation and radicalisation go hand in hand; they claim that the areas these young men are forced to live in aren’t nice enough and it makes them feel marginalised. Molenbeek in Belgium lacked “gentrification”, apparently, and this was a causal factor. If only we could only find them somewhere nice to live, they would find it easier to integrate.
What nonsense. Earlier this month I was in Holland, visiting their predominantly Muslim ghettos, including the one where Mohamed Bouyeri was living when he assassinated the filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004 for making a film which criticised Islam. This mini-Morocco was not Mayfair, but it was a lot nicer than most estates in Britain. We really have gone mad if we’re blaming the mass-murder of fellow citizens on inadequate social housing.
It all tracks back to this infuriating idea that we have not done enough to “integrate” people. But immigrant groups nearly always want to stick together. Some Muslims in Britain want to live in entirely parallel societies with their own system of laws and customs. “Perhaps they don’t want to live with us because we’re racist” is the final fail-safe of the self-abuser. In fact, it is more commonly the other way around.
The real answer to why it’s happening is right under our noses. Consider Nicola Sturgeon. After November’s terror attacks in Paris, Scotland’s First Minister led the now traditional sympathy delegation to the local mosque. Given that politicians like Ms Sturgeon insist that Islamist terror has nothing to do with Islam, isn’t it strange that their first port of call after any Islamist attack is always the local mosque? At Scotland’s biggest mosque – Glasgow Central – Sturgeon gave the traditional speech condemning “bigotry and prejudice”, by which she meant “Islamophobia”.
Yesterday, the Imam of that mosque was in the news. Why? Had he been the victim, post-Brussels, of an “Islamophobic attack” by Scottish racists? No – Imam Maulana Habib Ur Rehman had been caught praising an Islamist terrorist, specifically Mumtaz Qadri, who last month was hanged in Pakistan for murdering Salman Taseer – a governor who opposed blasphemy laws. In a set of messages on social media the Glasgow Imam said, among other things: “I cannot hide my pain today. A true Muslim was punished for doing which [sic] the collective will of the nation failed to carry out.” The mosque has said that its Imam’s praise for the assassins of secularists was “taken out of context”.
Did Ms Sturgeon know the radical politics of the Imam of the mosque she went grandstanding to? Of course not. Like most of our politicians and media, she lacks the knowledge to know what questions to ask and – more unforgivably – it appears she doesn’t actually want to know. Because if she and others did ask the right questions, then they might get answers they wouldn’t like.
Three steps to combating Islamic extremism in UKPlay!01:27
The problem of Islamic extremism is caused – astonishingly enough – by Islamic extremism. As France, Belgium and many other societies can now attest, the larger your Muslim population, the larger your Islamic extremism problem. Not because most Muslims are terrorists. Obviously not. But because that “small minority” we always hear about grows proportionally bigger the larger the community is. What matters is the numbers, the density (thus their ability to hide and be hidden) and the type of Islam that is followed. Given Europe’s current demographic trajectory this poses a pretty terrifying problem which we’ll have to face up to one day. But in the meantime it remains so much more comfortable to blame the only people we’re kidding. Ourselves.
- In a nutshell:
- “The capital of political Islam in continental Europe”, according to Belgium’s Interiror Minister, Jan Jambon
- North-west Brussels, a 30 minute metro ride from the city centre
- 100,000 approx
- Unemployment rate:
- 30 per cent, three times the national average
Brussels shoot-out – 15 March 2016
Armed Belgian police hunt two gunmen who wounded three officers during an anti-terror raid close to Molenbeek, Brussels, linked to the investigation of November’s Islamist attacks in Paris. Just days later, three bomb attacks at Brussels airport and metro station, leave 31 people dead and 300 people injured.
Paris attacks – 13 November 2015
Three men from Molenbeek are suspected of involvement in the Paris killings. Their vehicle was stopped by French police at Cambrai, near the French-Belgian border, but allowed to pass.
Thalys train attack – 21 August 2015
The Moroccan born Ayoub El Khazzani, who tried to open fire on passengers with a Kalashnikov rifle on a Thalys high-speed train from Amsterdam and Brussels to Paris, lived for more than a year in Molenbeek and boarded the train at Brussels.
Jewish Museum, Brussels – 24 May 2014
Mehdi Nemmouche, who last year opened fire with a Kalashnikov rifle at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, killing four, lived in Molenbeek.
Madrid bombings – 11 March 2004
One of the men behind the attack in Madrid, which killed 191 people, was from Molenbeek
“I see it is almost always related to Molenbeek. It was a form of laxity, to allow this. We are paying the bill for past laxity” – Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.