Thursday, February 04, 2016

Islamophobia, Europe, and the future of terrorism


One of the Muslim-Americans at the mosque visited by President Obama yesterday:

The words of this pledge[of allegiance] never seem to resonate as much. Here we were waiting for the President of the United States to speak to us because the spike in anti-Muslim hate had so skyrocketed that he felt compelled to address the issue. I had to fight back tears as we got to the last line of the pledge: “one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Of course only a tiny minority of Muslim Americans are terrorists or potential terrorists. Discrimination, not to mention hate crimes, against them is completely unacceptable, though it's not clear that it's a serious problem yet here in the US. 

The FBI's website on hate crimes still doesn't show a big "spike" in anti-Muslim crime, though anti-Muslim hate crimes were 16.3% of all anti-religion hate crimes in 2014, which is up from 14.2% in 2013. Maybe the 2015 numbers will show a more dramatic spike.

On the other hand, anti-Jewish hate crimes in the US outnumber anti-Muslim hate crimes by a wide margin: they were 59.2% of all religious hate crimes in 2013 and 58.2% in 2014.


Peter Bergen, also on Vox, tries to put the Islamic terrorism threat in the US in a realistic perspective. All-American jihad: Peter Bergen on the homegrown terrorism threat:

There's a sort of paradox here: Americans are more concerned about terrorism now than at any time since 9/11, yet really the actual threat is contained and managed. But as a political matter, no one's going to say that who's running for office. Even though it's true, and any sensible person knows that we've managed this problem pretty well, no politician is going to say we have this thing pretty well under control, because the political costs of something very minor happening later, which can somehow be associated with ISIS or al-Qaeda, are very large.

Two things are true: The problem is going to be persistent, yet at the same time we've managed it into a situation where it's pretty contained and low-level, and that's why the main threat is homegrown militants who are often very hard to detect.

Yes, the perpetrators of "individual jihad" are difficult---even impossible---to stop before they strike, like the Boston Marathon bombers, the Fort Hood shooter, and the San Bernardino couple. The Boston bombers got their information on how to make pressure cooker bombs from the internet. These terrorists didn't belong to an organization or a conspiracy that could be monitored. They acted as individuals:

Consequently, individual jihad is often carried out by ordinary people, and the act of terrorism has a very primitive character. The training isn’t really needed, some video uploaded to YouTube or discussions at Jihadist groups at Facebook would be enough for basic knowledge. The very sense of “lone wolf” attacks is based on passion and desire to fight the kafirs (infidels) by all possible means. The purpose of individual jihad isn't limited to any framework---any person, irrespective of skin color, religion, nationality and social status can be targeted. As for the weapon, anything can be used for the attack, from an ordinary kitchen knife or an iron rod to a gun or homemade bomb.

The chance of Americans being killed by these attacks by individuals---brothers, couples, or small groups---is very small. But the danger is that the political impact of every attack will be cumulative and that the Donald Trumps of the country will then magnify their overall significance in our 24-hour news cycle, thus making anti-Muslim hate crimes more likely. 

Besides, how do you tell a victim's family that the death of their loved one is not significant?

Europe has a much bigger jihad problem after Germany allowed in a million refugees from Muslim countries, many of whom are young men, added to Europe's already large Muslim population. For a full-blown "traitor elite" conspiracy theory on why this is happening, see Tet, Take Two: Islam’s 2016 European Offensive.

Hard to believe, like the author, that European leaders deliberately set this volatile situation in motion, but that doesn't make it any less dangerous. Here's the author's worst-case scenario:

In Mumbai in 2008, ten Pakistani Muslim terrorists armed with Kalashnikovs and grenades created utter havoc over a four day period, attacking a train station, a hospital (unsuccessfully), landmark hotels and a Jewish center, murdering 164 people and wounding over 300. Simultaneous Beslan, Mumbai and Paris terror attacks, accompanied by car bombs, will be the model for the 2016 jihad offensive in Europe...

Best case scenario, and I don’t see this as likely: the 2016 Islamic Tet attackers will be wiped out the way the Viet Cong were in 1968. But if there are enough simultaneous attacks, in total numbers involving anywhere near the 80,000 or so fighters of the Vietnamese Tet, I can’t see how the present European forces can defeat the jihadists in less than a month, if at all. 

By very simple math, that number of jihadists means ten thousand Paris-level attacks. Think about that. Ten thousand Paris level attacks! All taking place in the same month, the same week, even on the same day, right across Europe. The politically-correct and overly polite European policemen (and even their militaries, at first) won’t be up to mounting successful counterattacks and rescue operations against a score of Beslans happening in schools, hospitals and concert halls. Not while at the same time, airports, train stations, power plants and other targets are being hit by Paris-sized terror squads right across Europe...

Here in the US, on the other hand, for the foreseeable future we'll face individual jihad attacks that will cause relatively few casualties but that could have a toxic impact on our political life and our civil liberties.

Andrew Bostom on individual jihad.

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