As Schindler discussed in his blog today, the Belgians estimated this week (December 2013) that there something like 4000-5000 jihadis who hold European passports fighting in Syria. (Note: EU passport holders, not necessarily Europeans.)
This is causing something of a ruckus, because it’s upending the notion, so dearly held among so many people, that Islamic extremism is about the United States and its foreign policy. So I thought I’d update and repost this piece from a year ago about jihadis being convicted of plotting violence…
A quick memo to people who think that America is a special target of Islamic extremist violence because of all those icky things we do, like support Israel, keep bases in the Middle East, and produce reality TV: it’s not about any of that.
It’s a common, but ridiculous, belief. And not just among apologetic liberals, either: it was championed during the 2012 Republican primaries by Ron Paul, who argued that terrorists don’t attack other places, like “Switzerland and Sweden,” an assertion I’ve shown is false in an earlier post here.
Well, the hits just keep coming. Turns out that Norway just convicted two would-be jihadis of a planned attack on the Oslo offices of a Danish newspaper.
Why? Why a Danish paper, and why in Norway? Because the editorials supported Israel? Because the paper raved about how good Norwegian snipers are in Afghanistan? Because the front page called for burning mosques?
No. It turns out that….well, read for yourself:
OSLO, Norway (AP) – Two men were found guilty Monday of involvement in an al-Qaida plot to attack a Danish newspaper that caricatured the Prophet Muhammad, the first convictions under Norway’s anti-terror laws.
A third defendant was acquitted of terror charges but convicted of helping the others acquire explosives.
Investigators say the plot was linked to the same al-Qaida planners behind thwarted attacks against the New York subway system and a shopping mall Manchester, England, in 2009.
So these guys conspired with Al-Qaeda to commit murder and terrorism…because of some cartoons. Drawn by a Swede, no less: cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, whose home in Denmark has already been attacked once.
And lest anyone have any doubt about whether this particular merry band of losers were just disgruntled Saudis — because, after all, those guys attack us because we support their autocratic government, right? — guess again.
The ringleader was a Chinese Muslim (who claimed he was only planning to attack the PRC embassy, not the Norwegians, as though that makes it better). Another was an Uzbek, and the third an Iraqi Kurd. A Kurd — the guys we’re helping in Iraq, and have been for over twenty years.
So let’s review: A Chinese Muslim, an Uzbek, and an Iraqi
walk into a bar get together to plot an attack on the offices of a Danish paper in Norway that carried a cartoon by a Swede.
Got that? No Americans, in any way, were involved.
What is it going to take before liberals and libertarians stop thinking that we can somehow placate these guys? Would-be jihadis, the radicalized losers, have targeted everyone from Norwegians to Canadians to Australians, with the only link among these terrorists their hatred of the secular, tolerant — and yes, sexually and culturally open — societies that both attract and repulse them.
And please, spare me the cant about how we all have to be culturally sensitive to how Islamic radicals get lathered up about portrayals of the Prophet. Christians, just here in America, have had to endure works of “art” that include the Virgin Mary painted out of elephant dung, a story the New York Times, ever the bastion of correctness, stupidly equated to the cartoon threats, and a crucifix submerged in a jar of urine (although some French protesters finally vandalized that one 25 years after its debut).
No one died over those incidents, and if Christians can take the hooliganism of ignorant bigots without killing anyone, Muslims can endure far less in the pages of a Danish paper.
And note to European Muslims: If you don’t like the way Danish newspapers publish cartoons, then here’s an idea — don’t live in Denmark. The Danes have this crazy notion of “press freedom” that’s probably just going to annoy you. But at the very least, don’t blow up Norwegians over something a Swede did just because you don’t like a Danish media outlet.
Let’s stop deceiving ourselves. Acts like these are not about religion. These infantilized men hate Western cities the way the high school loners hate the jocks. They’re the Columbine kids of the global community, constantly looking to shoot up their high school because they never feel like they belong (Two words: Tamerlan Tsarnaev.)
I gladly grant the point that Schindler and others have made about the more complicated issue here of the warping influence of Islamist ideology. But I think there’s a danger of laying this all on Islam; the issue is not Islam, but some Islamic men who cannot deal with life in the West.
Still, we’d be stupid to ignore the ideological element or to be towed away from talking about it by political correctness. There will always be violent losers among us; what’s dangerous about radical Islam is that its agents are combing the world, looking to aggregate those disaffected and unstable men into human bombs.
I’m all for finding those recruiters — like the late and unlamented Anwar al-Awlaki — and sending them to meet the virgins they crave. (Although I don’t think that’s going to work out for them.)
But please, let’s cut the nonsense about how terrorism is because of ” what we do.” It’s about who we are. And maybe, even more importantly in the case of the jihadi wanna-be types, it’s about who they aren’t — but perhaps wish they were.
Addendum: Some fans of the late Anwar al-Awlaki admitted in a British court on 1 FEB 12 that they were targeting the London stock exchange and several other London targets for bombing, including the U.S. Embassy. I’m sure someone will shoehorn this into the standard “it’s all America’s fault” explanation, but they all live in the UK and I’m going to guess they fit the usual profile of the would-be European jihadi.