image Photo: Reuters, Flash90

Islamofascism Europe (and the West) Asleep at the Wheel?

By Dr. Tassos Symeonidis
(RIEAS Academic Advisor)

The recent Islamist outrages in France and Austria have again pushed the bitter crisis of
Islamofascism to the fore. In the wake of the gruesome beheading of history teacher Samuel
Paty by a Chechen terrorist, President Macron promised to mobilize France against “Islamist
separatism”—and a similar message came from Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurtz after the
Islamist gunman rampage in Vienna.

These recent barbarities have triggered the kind of strong reactions which could signal a
transition from “politically correct” anti-Islamist terror policies to a more determined strategy.
However, Europe is still far from reaching a resolute consensus on how to crush Islamist
terrorism. President Macron, for example “…has been accused of Islamophobia after he
launched an uncompromising defence of Samuel Paty, the French schoolteacher who was
beheaded last month by a Chechen terrorist for showing his pupils a cartoon depicting the
Prophet Mohammed;” attacking Macron delivers “…disturbing signs that the adherents of
political Islam are winning the propaganda war.” Those who propagate virulent man-killing
jihadism are hardly on the run and make their intentions clear: “Palestinian Islamic scholar
Sheikh Ali Abu Ahmad used an address at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem to warn French
President Emmanuel Macron and all the ‘infidels who have acted with insolence against
Muslims’ to get ready for holy war.”

That Europe has been reluctant to crush the horror of Islamist terrorism via a “take no
prisoners” offensive is a badly kept secret. The apocalyptic event of September 11, 2001, with
the Islamic airplane terrorist attacks on the United States, inaugurated, in the grisliest possible
manner, what the late Samuel Huntington had predicted in his 1993 seminal article “The Clash
of Civilizations?” (The article was expanded in Huntington’s book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order published in 1996; see With many in the Islamic world wildly celebrating in the streets the deed of
the jihadi “martyrs,” the reaction of Western leaders was muted in a first prominent display of
the “proper” verbal attitude that was to take hold in the coming years when addressing Islamist
terror; as President George W. Bush famously put it in the wake of the Twin Towers: “The face
of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These
terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war.” (“Islam is Peace” Says President – Remarks by the President at Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., September 17, 2001 at Similar language still prevalent across Europe chooses to ignore historical experience spanning centuries thus establishing the post-9/11 hesitant “rationality” which affects anti-terror policies to this day. Indeed, those early post-9/11 Western reactions appear more like the opening phase of a war many in the West have apparently decided it cannot be won.

The recent past is replete with eye-popping cases of failing to pursue Islamist terrorists
with the rigor required in such cases. In Belgium, the deadly Brussels Islamist bombing atrocity
of March 20, 2016 was carried out by three “indigenous Belgian” Moslem suicide bombers, who
targeted the Brussels airport and a subway station. Salah Abdeslam, the mastermind of the
November 2015 Paris attacks, an unassimilated “Belgian” petty criminal of Moroccan
extraction, easily outfoxed Belgian police for 125 days by concealing himself in Molenbeek, the
notorious Moslem community “no go zone” neighborhood of Brussels where he was born and

Abdeslam lived within walking distance of his mother’s home and enjoyed complete
community protection from the authorities. Despite massive police sweeps, he remained
undiscovered; in one case, he was able to slip away because police in Belgium are prohibited by
law to conduct nighttime raids! Belgium’s efforts to respond and suppress Islamist terror attacks
have consistently failed: “ Belgium has long been a center for Islamist terrorism, but certain
aspects of the state’s structure and relationship with Europe also made it difficult for the
government to fight back.”

In Stockholm, capital city of the one European country with the most liberal immigration
policy, a jihadi Uzbek, Rakhmat Akilov, who lived “quietly” for years and worked in
construction, staged a deadly truck attack that killed four and injured fifteen. Eyewitnesses said
the driver of the stolen beer truck “deliberately targeted young children.” Although Akilov
admitted during his remand hearing that he staged the terrorist attack, Swedish authorities
insisted he was only “suspected” of carrying out the terror because he hadn’t been tried yet. In
the meantime, nobody could offer a satisfactory explanation of why Akilov, whose application
for asylum had been rejected, was allowed to avoid immediate deportation that could have
prevented his terrorist attack. Eventually, Akilov was sentenced to life in prison which, in
Swedish practices, means sixteen years of incarceration.

The confusion surrounding the suppression of Islamism is also reflected in the tip-toe
language used to deal with Islamist terrorism. “Tolerance,” in the current Western politically
correct parlance related to Islam, is defined not by the strict Koranic precepts but by various
academic theories, contrived by “cultural experts,” “diversity scholars,” and “community
advisors,” which “adjust” interpretations of Islam and bypass anything that might sound
Koranically “aggressive” in order to fit Western political, cultural, and “inclusionist” tastes.
“Moderate” is the preferred term among liberal Western politicians, “equality experts,” and
dedicated “community outreach partners,” when referring to Islam as a “religion of peace.” Yet,
at least one of the most prominent and strident Islamists worldwide, Turkey’s neo-sultan Recep
Tayyip Erdoğan takes to task those who describe Islam as moderate: “These descriptions [ using
‘moderate’] are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or
immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”

Western threat analysis of Islamist terrorism has thus come to be dominated by the
palpable fear of European leaders of offending Moslem communities which have blossomed in
the bosom of many European nations and, by extension, “the religion of peace” itself. This fear
of “offending” a religion is unprecedented, not to say hypocritical, when we look at the
systematic dismantling of Europe’s Christian foundations in favor of a secular-agnostic regime
declaring its freedom from religious “obstinacy,” “backwardness,” and “doctrinal tyranny.” The
European Union, for example, went into extremes over the years to excise any mention of a
(Christian) God from its official documents and persists in advocating a type of laicism only
equal in intensity to that of France’s agitated constitutional anti-clericalism.

European/Western governments, ostensibly committed to eliminating the religious from
their “narratives,” make serious efforts to “accommodate” Islamic demands in the interest of
peace and “diversity.” They also adopt policies to force their societies into mandatory education
on how to respect, and adjust to, Islam and not the other way around. This global effort to avoid
a “clash of civilizations,” via attempts to control both personal opinion and expression, is
mobilizing top Christians eager to discover motives other than religious hatred behind Islamist
terror. Monsignor Nunzio Galantino, handpicked by Pope Francis to lead the Italian Bishops
Conference, announced in an interview that jihadi killings have nothing to do with religion but,
rather, emerge from thirst for “money.” The monsignor added for good measure that he does
not believe jihadism is an expression of a clash of civilizations; he further counseled (the West)
“to beware of violence, even in the use of language.” Still, the majority of the population in
Germany, the EU’s leader, thinks Islam does not “belong” in their country.

It is important to note that none of these widespread “politically correct” protections of
Islam are extended to Europe’s Judeo-Christian religious tradition, which is its core founding
stone. To ridicule, insult, and derogate Christianity is perfectly acceptable as a cultural institution
in “post-modern” secular, apathetic West—and no mainstream politician, conscious of the need
for personal political survival, dares to openly defend what could be perceived as Christian
“faith-centered politics” for fear of devastating backlash at the polls.

And to add some further oomph to “anti-discrimination” diktats, Western governments
do not hesitate to demand from their school systems (where the display of religious symbols,
like the Cross, are often strictly prohibited) to introduce courses teaching Islam in order to create
[an] anti-bias learning environment; as one report put it: “While jihadists across the globe are
busy slitting throats, American school children are taught that jihad is an “inner struggle” and
Islam means “peace.” While Muslim rape gangs destroy the lives of teenage girls in England,
American teenagers learn that Muhammad was a champion of women’s rights. And although
American students are taught all the gruesome details of the Atlantic slave trade, they learn little
if anything about the Arab slave trade which took many more lives.”

It is high time that Western governments seriously mobilize to deal with Islamist terrorist
extremism and clamp down upon both perpetrators and the social networks aiding and abetting
them. In the opposite case, “peaceful” jihadis, seeking only “money,” according to Monsignor
Nunzio Galantino, will continue to raise havoc and deal death and destruction upon innocents–
while fearful, and ultimately cowardly, politicians wring their hands and sink in endless debates
on how to avoid “racial profiling” and protect the freedom of those seeking to kill and maim
innocent bystanders.

Copyright: Research Institute for European and American Studies (
Publication date: 8 November 2020
Note: The article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the views of the
Research Institute for European and American Studies (RIEAS)