Responding to the recent terrorist attacks in Spain, Ed Husain—a former radical Islamist—assails the Western tendency toward self-flagellation and points to the true motives behind the violence. (Free registration required.)
Consider the facts on Spain: on March 11, 2004, al-Qaeda terrorists killed 192 and injured 2,000 on trains in Madrid. Spain had 1,300 troops in Iraq at the time (America had 135,000 and Britain 8,700). Three days after the bombing, Prime Minister José Maria Aznar lost the general election to a left-wing party committed to ending Spain’s involvement in Iraq. On April 18, 2004, the new prime minister ordered the withdrawal of Spain’s troops. Scarred by the Madrid bombing, fearful of reprisals after the terrorist attacks in France, in November 2015 the Spanish government refused to join a global coalition against Islamic State. So what did Spain do wrong?
We are asking the wrong questions. Spain’s foreign policy shows that we cannot stop terrorism by changing our behavior. In the mind of the Muslim extremists, Spain is not Spain, but al-Andalus, part of a Muslim empire that lasted in Spain for 700 years. Today’s Spain is considered to be “occupied land” that must be liberated. . . .
We have to be honest. Across the West we now have 30-million Muslims who are Westerners. There is no war against Islam. The freedom of Muslims to worship and live proves that the old, imperialist paradigms of Islamic State’s Dar al-Harb [the “abode of war” to be invaded by the caliphate] and Dar al-Islam [the “abode of Islam”] are outdated. Most Muslims are quietly thriving in business, politics, media, sports, and more. In Britain, Mishal Husain’s voice wakes us up on the Today program. Nadiya Hussain of The Great British Bake Off prepares cake for the queen. [The distance runner] Mo Farah reinstates British sporting pride. The list goes on. But there is a dark, sinister movement growing, too. . . .
Enough of blaming the West. . . . Muslims must reject the idea that we need a caliphate. Unless we discard the drive for a Muslim super-state, many more will be killed in pursuit of it.