Wall Street Journal
Europe Wakes Up
The United States isn't the only Western democracy struggling to adapt its legal system to the threat from Islamist terrorism. But at least Americans agree that the threat exists. That hasn't been the case in Europe -- until now.
Last year's murder of Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh seems to have been a watershed moment that has awakened Europe to the danger. A radical Muslim of Dutch-Moroccan heritage has been charged with the crime, and in a pre-trial hearing last week the prosecutor told the court, "The murder made it clear that terrorism, inspired by an extreme interpretation of Islam, is a reality in our country."
And sure enough, in recent weeks police in France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands have rounded up dozens of terrorist suspects. According to intelligence reports, security services have thwarted a dozen major terrorist attacks in Europe since September 11.
Intelligence experts believe Europe is targeted for two reasons: ideology and opportunity. Despite the political disagreements some European countries have with the Bush Administration, Islamist terrorists still consider Europe part of the hated and infidel West. In addition, Islamic terrorists -- some of whom carry European passports -- can hide and move about much more easily amid Europe's large Muslim and Arab populations than they can in the U.S.
Consider Spain, where the government thought that withdrawing its troops from Iraq after last year's Madrid train bombings would take it off the terrorist target list. No such luck. Security services have since foiled Islamist attacks against such targets as the main criminal court and Madrid's soccer stadium. Last year, the Spanish arrested more than 130 suspected Islamist terrorists. Also last year, terror suspects were arrested in Britain and France for planned poison gas attacks.
Embarrassment over finding some of their nationals among the terrorists killed by U.S. forces in Iraq has also led governments in Europe to step up efforts to stop the recruitment in their countries of suicide bombers for the jihad in Iraq. After a 19-year-old Frenchman was killed during an American bombardment of Fallujah in July, the French began an investigation that led last week to the arrest of a cell of 11 people who allegedly were recruiting terrorists for Iraq.
Early last month Germany arrested 15 terrorist suspects, and 10 days ago it caught two alleged al Qaeda members accused of plotting a suicide attack in Iraq. One of the accused is also suspected of having planned to obtain 48 grams of enriched uranium from Luxembourg. According to news reports, Germany plans to take advantage of a new law to expel more than 100 Islamists.
In Britain, the Law Lords recently threw out a law, passed just after September 11, that allowed indefinite detention of foreigners considered a terrorist threat who refused to leave the country. In reaction, Tony Blair's Labor government announced it will change the law, giving it sweeping powers to impose house arrest on terrorist suspects, regardless of nationality.
All in all this news is encouraging, although some Europeans still think they can play politics with terrorists. Last Tuesday an Italian judge, Clementina Forleo, acquitted three North Africans of international terrorism charges for allegedly recruiting suicide bombers for Iraq. She ruled that the men were guerrillas, not terrorists. Italian soldiers, who had just buried their 20th compatriot killed in Iraq, were not amused. Even members of the center-left opposition were shocked. Stefano Dambruoso, Italy's best-known antiterrorism prosecutor, condemned the ruling, saying suicide bombings "must always be considered terrorism."
"Clementina go home" read the English headline of a front-page editorial in La Stampa. Europe may finally be waking up.
MIM: A recent interview in a Dutch paper the NRC Handelsblad, with Oliver Roy a French Islam expert, seems to contradict the 'optimistic' assessment of the WSJ article which says that Europe is waking up to the problem of radical Islam. The comments made by Roy shows that he sees the problem as something which can be solved by mutual soul searching, and discussion of cultural identity, and seems to have failed to take into account that the radical Muslims in question are a second generation of Muslims born and bred in Europe, who have conciously rejected Europe and embraced fundamentalist Islam.Roy seems to be restating the mistaken" prediction of fundamentalism's becoming tame" which he made in 1995.
MIM: Below are excerpts from Dr.Daniel Pipes 1995 review of Oliver Roy's book " The Failure of Political Islam" . In a recent interview in the Dutch papers, Roy stated that the fundamentalist problem began with Rushdie and the Van Gogh murder is a stage which Europe is going through in seach of their identity. More proof of what Dr. Pipes described as his "wrong headed notion of the failure of fundamentalist Islam" which Roy presented in 1995.
The recent interview seems to show that Roy still harbors some quaint notion that the fundamentalists will see "the error of their ways" and 'get with the program' and echoes Dr. Pipes final question of "How can someone who knows so much be so completely wrong ?" http://www.danielpipes.org/article/659
The fact that Oliver Roy is a highly sought after commentator and government consultant on radical Islam whose views have been proven so far off the mark does not bode well regarding Europe's ability to deal with the growing radical Islamist threat. It is imperative that it be seen as a religous, political, and police/military problem, and not a philosophical theoretical one to be solved with dialouge and 'social contracts'. Roy also ends with an embarressingly simplistic conclusion which puts the murder of Pim Fortuyn by an animal rights activist, on a par with the Van Gogh murder by a Dutch born Muslim, who dressed in traditional Muslim clothing , ritually slaughtered Van Gogh, and stuck a letter in his chest with a knife which was a combination of a Jihad manifesto and a fatwa. This in itself shows that Roy sees the problem as an intellectual philosophical one which raises questions as to if Europeans will follow his lead or really wake up as the Wall Street Journal article thinks they are in the process of doing.
Excerpts from Dr.Daniel Pipes review of Oliver Roy's "The Failure of Political Islam" 1995
But the stunningly wrong-headed notion in Roy's book is his thesis about the failure of fundamentalist Islam. He seems to assume that because fundamentalists have not swept the Muslim world, they cannot do so in the future. This is comparable to an analyst's looking around in 1933, sixteen years after the Bolshevik revolution, and deciding that because communism came to power in only two countries (Mongolia being the second), and even there did not live up to its socialist ideals, therefore "the revolution is behind us." That would have been a profoundly mistaken conclusion; and so is Roy's today, sixteen years after the Iranian Revolution.
Indeed, Roy has already been proven wrong. The French version of The Failure of Political Islam appeared in October 1992, and the three years since have exposed his complete misunderstanding of the situation in Algeria. He expected a "watered down" movement not to amount to much; if FIS reaches power in Algeria, he predicted, it "will not invent a new society. . . . the FIS's Algeria will do nothing more than place a chador [women's headdress] over the FLN's Algeria."
Well, FIS is yesterday's organization, surpassed by the Armed Islamic Group (GIA). As its name implies, the GIA is not a gentle band of preachers urging moral self-improvement but a deadly gang of murderers. News of their work comes almost daily out of Algiers. They specialize in murdering the children of police officers, women without veils, unsympathetic journalists, and non-Muslim foreigners. They kill their victims in particularly horrifying ways, slitting throats and cutting off heads. As in Cambodia, where the Khmer Rouge attacked all those educated and Western-oriented, so in Algeria is anyone speaking French or wearing a business suit a potential victim. In comparison to the potential deaths in the culture war building in Algeria, the revolution in Iran was child's play. The GIA on its own repudiates Roy's prediction of fundamentalism's becoming tame.
Which raises the question: How can someone who knows so much be so completely wrong? Roy seems to write in the French tradition of intellectual virtuosity-taking an implausible point and making a brilliant argument for it. He also indulges in the intellectuals' sin of ťpater la bourgeoisie; fears of fundamentalist Islam being particularly severe in middle-class France these days, he perversely must insist on their being illusory.
Interview with Oliver Roy in the NRC Handelsblad
It began with the Rushdie Affair
From our correspondent Fokke Obbema
Translated by Beila Rabinowitz director MIM
Paris: The French Islam expert Oliver Roy, has made a connection with the murder of Theo van Gogh and the radical turn in the way of thinking about Islam in Holland. But the problem is European: cultures are looking for new identity.
'I don't know of any country in Europe which has fallen so far in their belief in a multi cultural society as Holland. But a mature, well thought out debate has begon which new could lead to new insights.'
Holland finds itself in a completely different situation then France. They have been discussing the headscarf issue for twenty years and the Islam debate is deeply entrenched. The situation in Holland is also different then in Great Britain,where the believe in multi cultural society is under pressure, but continues unabated. Whereas Denmark always had a more conservative approach.
In his book "The Globalisering of Islam",Roy explains how Islam in the West has become loose from it's Arabic background and the tensions which result.
He connects the murder of Van Gogh to a broader European problem: The oncertainty regarding identity by Muslims and non- Muslims.'There is talk about a crisis of cultures,now that the borders between them have become vague and both parties are looking for their identities.' Non- Muslims are presently doing that by identifying themselves in terms of opposition to Islam. Muslims are doing that by taking their identities completely from their religion. With the dissapearence of traditional barriers both parties have the need to have a clear definition of their respective roles.That is sometimes accompanied by violence'.
Roy goes back to the '80's to explain the source of this.'In fact the problem began with the Rushdie Affair . In the eyes of the fundamentalists he had gone to far with his book "The Satanic Verses". Don't mess with our religion they said. They demanded protection against this type of attack and showed that they themselves were prepared to take matters into their own hands'.
Roy expects that the result of the (Van Gogh) murder will be an increase in hate and all the accompanying consequences .He also looks at the murder relatively. It is an individual act and not a rebellion or riot involving tens of hundreds of people.
He also adds that it will make a difference for the future if it turns out that it was an individual perpetrator, as in the case of Fortuyn, or if the Moroccan is part of a group.In a second phase, according to Roy, everyone will be forced to reflect. The realisation that there is a mutual identity crisis,can very well lead to new revelations and insights and result in new ideas. Roy "After long discussions new identities must be the result".
Fundamentalist Muslims are themselves placed between two options: Roy: 'They either say that the murder of Van Gogh was a good thing ,what is totally unacceptable, or they have to accept that criticism of Islam is possible.Fundamentalist Muslims must also be able to deal with this'.
'On the other side the non- Muslims must see that this question is not simply the pitting of a group of guilty people against a group of victims. Just like after the death of Fortuyn not all animal activists were considered guilty".
woensdag 3 november 2004 uur.
'Het begon met affaire-Rushdie'
Van onze correspondent Fokke Obbema
PARIJS - De Franse islamoloog Olivier Roy legt een verband tussen de moord op Theo van Gogh en de radicale omslag in het denken over de islam in Nederland. Maar het probleem is Europees: culturen zoeken naar een nieuwe identiteit.
'Ik ken geen land in Europa dat zo radicaal van zijn geloof in de multiculturele samenleving is gevallen als Nederland. Maar een rijp, weloverwogen debat is aan dat nieuwe inzicht niet voorafgegaan.
'Nederland bevindt zich daarmee in een heel andere situatie dan Frankrijk. Daar is twintig jaar intensief over het hoofddoekje gediscussieerd en is het islamdebat diep verankerd. Ook is de situatie in Nederland heel anders dan in Groot-BrittanniŽ, waar het geloof in de multiculturele samenleving wel onder druk staat, maar nog altijd wordt beleden. Of Denemarken dat altijd wel een zeker conservatisme heeft behouden.'
In zijn boek De globalisering van de islam geeft Roy aan hoe de islam in het westen los raakt van zijn Arabische achtergrond en welke spanningen dat oproept.
De moord op Van Gogh wordt door hem in verband gebracht met een breder Europees probleem: de onzekerheid over de eigen identiteit bij moslims ťn niet-moslims. 'Er is sprake van een crisis van culturen, nu de grenzen daartussen vervagen en beide partijen hun identiteit zoeken. Niet-moslims doen dat tegenwoordig door hun identiteit in oppositie tot de islam te definiŽren. Moslims doen het door hun identiteit geheel aan hun religie te ontlenen. Met het verdwijnen van de traditionele grenzen tussen culturen ontstaat aan beide zijden een behoefte tot een duidelijke rolverdeling te komen. Dat gaat soms met geweld gepaard.'
Roy gaat terug naar de jaren tachtig om de oorsprong daarvan aan te geven. 'In feite is het probleem begonnen met de affaire-Rushdie. Die was in de ogen van fundamentalisten met zijn boek De Duivelsverzen te ver gegaan. Kom niet aan onze religie, zeiden zij. Ze eisten bescherming tegen dit soort aanvallen en toonden zich bovendien bereid die bescherming zelf met geweld ter hand te nemen.'
Roy gaat ervan uit dat de consequentie van de moord in eerste instantie een toename van haat in de Nederlandse samenleving zal zijn met alle conflicten van dien. Al relativeert hij de gebeurtenis ook: 'Het gaat om ťťn individuele daad, niet om opstanden en rellen waarbij tientallen of honderden personen betrokken zijn.'
Hij tekent daarbij aan dat het voor het vervolg uitmaakt of zal blijken dat het een individuele dader betreft, zoals bij Fortuyn, of dat deze Marokkaan deel uitmaakt van een groep. In een tweede fase zal, zo verwacht Roy, iedereen worden gedwongen goed na te denken. Het inzicht dat er van een wederzijdse identiteitscrisis sprake is, kan dan wellicht doorbreken en uitmonden in nieuwe inzichten. Roy: 'Er zullen na lange discussies nieuwe identiteiten moeten komen.'
Fundamentalistische moslims zien zich vooralsnog voor twee opties geplaatst. Roy: '”f ze beweren dat de moord op Van Gogh een goede zaak is, wat uiteraard onacceptabel is, ůf ze gaan accepteren dat kritiek op de islam voortaan wel degelijk mogelijk is. Fundamentalistische moslims zullen dat ook voor hun geloof moeten leren toe te staan.
'Aan de andere kant zullen de niet-moslims moeten inzien dat je in deze kwestie niet simpelweg een groep van slachtoffers tegenover een groep van schuldigen kunt plaatsen. Net zoals na de moord op Fortuyn terecht niet alle dierenrechtactivisten verdacht zijn gemaakt.'
MIM: More evidence that Oliver Roy is wrong in his assessment that radical Islam can be contained and that the Europeans are uncertain of how to deal with the threat.Note that Jason W. is a convert to Islam who had an American father and a Dutch mother. During the siege witnesses reported that they shouted to the police that they would "behead them." http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/316
Translation by Beila Rabinowitz director MIM
Excerpts from AIVD set a trap for Jason W.
The AIVD General Intelligence and Security Services deliberately lured the armed and dangerous Muslim radical Jason W. into a house in the very populated area in The Hague . Listening devices had been installed in an apartment in the Laakwartier district where Jason W. in September together with other radical Muslims were arrested after a siege lasting hours....
..."The members of the so called Hofstad Groep , against whom a trial is scheduled to begin Monday in Rotterdam,are also suspected of having prepared an assassination attempt against the politicians Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders.The indictment shows that several members of the group are suspected of involvement in the murder of Theo van Gogh.They are also being charged with being members of a group with terrorist objectives."
zaterdag 5 februari 2005 uur.