When in December 2016 a professor of political science at Oxford University Jan Zielonka wrote in his article for Die Zeit that “Europe is no longer safe,” perhaps for many people it still seemed an exaggeration. Obviously, then people thought that the problems with the weakening of the European Union, the crisis of traditional European political parties and rising populism and uncontrolled migration could be handled.
But today, after a series of horrific terrorist attacks in European cities, when Deutsche Welle columnist Felix Steiner said the people “have accepted the possibility of terrorism as normal, the idea voiced by Mr. Zielonka does not seem that redundant anymore. Moreover, no one has yet dared to answer the question, why Islamist ideas have been gaining popularity so fast in the Muslim communities of the Western countries...
Islamic terrorism should be fought systemically in the plane of ideas and, above all, by increasing security measures at home and not by fighting in Syria or Iraq in a coalition with Putin
Some experts stress that the main cause of the so-called "radicalization" of Muslims in Western countries is a result of the failure of the "multiculturalism" policy, which gained popularity there back the 2000s. Apparently, this is not entirely true, because actually no serious and systemic policy of "multiculturalism" has been implemented, because obviously setting up language courses for newly arrived immigrants and issuing permits for the construction of mosques is just not enough.
It’s just that for a long time, western establishment and society in general has gotten along well with the fact that immigrants were doing low-paid jobs without requiring much attention.
And then "suddenly" they found that the Muslims not only reject Western values and fail to understand the principles of modern secular liberal state but also frankly hat them, believing that they destroy their beliefs. Moreover, under the influence of Islamist preachers, whose views, through social networks, have become available in all corners of the world where Muslims live, they began to be subject to brainwashing techniques in the spirit of intolerance and hatred toward anything that does not meet their worldview.
Today, ideas are being voiced in Germany and France of the creation of "German or French Islam" that would get European funding and comply with European values, one of which is the separation of religion and state. The challenge is clearly very difficult, because, according to some reports in France less than half of the Muslims living there perceive well the idea of secularism (reducing the role of religion in political, social and personal life) and consider themselves integrated into the system of modern French values. However, about a third of Muslims adhere to the values other than the Republican ones. Religious radicalism is prevalent among French Muslims under 25 years of age with low living standards and education. We also know that the majority of Muslims in France rated negatively the well-known law of 2004 banning the public display of religious preferences, while six out of ten Muslims living there believe that girls should be allowed to wear hijabs in high school.
In fact, no one in the West knows how to effectively oppose this war
So it was only a matter of time when these Islamic radicals, with the ideological support of the Islamic State, take to the streets of European cities from their ethnic and religious enclaves and start killing everyone from their hated Christians to fellow Muslims who, in their opinion, don’t fulfill canons of Islam earnestly enough.
It can be concluded that brazen terrorist attacks in Western countries carried out in 2015-2016, which unfortunately continue to occur are not some individual acts but are rather the component of a new type of war that is currently being waged by radical Islamists against Western (or as some call them, liberal) values, in which the terror is only one of the tools.
In fact, no one in the West knows how to effectively oppose this war. Obviously, the words of Jan Zielonka that "today no one knows how to sort out all the mess and make Europeans feel safe” remain relevant today.
Obviously, the West should start off with calling a spade a spade, including recognizing that today, a true multi-level war is ongoing between Western civilization and militant obscurantism, and finally understanding that Islamic terrorism should be fought systemically in the plane of ideas and, above all, by increasing security measures at home and not by fighting in Syria or Iraq in a coalition with Putin.
Perhaps this is the only way to make Europe safe again...
Oleh Bielokolos is an expert at the Maidan of Foreign Affairs charitable foundation