In response to recent terrorist attacks, France and Austria have stepped up their efforts to combat Islamic radicalism. Ed Husain praises their leaders for doing so, while encouraging them to remain sensitive to an important distinction:
The danger is not from the elderly Muslim gentleman with a beautiful beard, nor the lady who wishes to cover her hair out of religious observation. Religious conservatism is not a national-security concern. The threat can come from a clean-shaven, suit-wearing, smart-talking Islamist activist. This danger of political Islamism is not about appearance, but a sophisticated and suave ideological enemy who hides behind false claims of representing the [Muslim] “community.”
To target Islamists and their narrative, as France and Austria have done, is not racist or Islamophobic. Just as targeting Nazis is not anti-German, identifying Islamists and their support for terrorism is not anti-Muslim.
From this basic conviction, we build policies to advance the interests of Europe. . . . Why are Islamists a danger to Europe today? Because the very foundations of European society and prosperity are under direct assault from an ideology and a narrative that only becomes violent because it seeks to end the nation state, remove secular governments, deprive women of their rights, destroy Israel and kill Jews, execute gay people, and force innocent Muslims to live under Islamist rule.
Why is open support for Hamas and Hizballah allowed in European cities? Why were there vast crowds in London gathering to mourn the elimination of Iran’s top terror mastermind, Qassem Suleimani? If Europe’s politicians do not respond with unison and success, far-right political parties will.
More about: Austria, European Islam, France, Islamism, Terrorism