Europe is now at a significant crossroads with two important issues occupying its agenda: Terrorism and the refugee crisis…
The situation has become so grave that the countries in the European Union question and raise objections to the underlying values of the union. A substantial amount of people make remarks saying “Europe is retiring into its shell.”
Let us contemplate on Europe’s problem of terrorism and its potential solutions based on the attacks at Maelbeek metro station and Zaventem airport in Brussels:
As is known to all, the attacks in Belgium killed 31 people and severely injured a total of 300 people. While Belgium is considered as the heart of the EU, it is criticized for being late in taking precautions against terrorism. The country faced a very serious threat of terrorism. One of the greatest problems that Belgium suffers in regard to terrorism is that the country has one of the highest rate of people joining radical groups such as ISIS. Among the Europeans who joined ISIS in Iraq and Syria, 470 of them are known to have come from Belgium.
Newly discovered evidence indicates that those who carried out November’s terrorist attacks in Paris and the ones responsible for the attacks in Brussels belong to the same terrorist network.
With the incidents successively taking place recently, many European countries, including Belgium, started to increase their security measures. However, many security experts believe that the measures taken by Europe within the scope of the fight against terrorism are still inadequate, as witnessed viz a viz Paris and the Brussels attacks. Not only necessary measures against terrorism are neglected but also other problems of the EU countries are increasingly growing;
The relationship between the extreme right-wing that grew stronger in EU countries and radicalism
The EU countries, that serve as a source of inspiration for other regions of the world with their respect for human rights and democratic values seem to be drifting away into an adverse change along with the deepening problem of terrorism. One of the greatest reasons for that is the rising tide of racism.
The majority of the population has established an artificial and unhealthy link between terrorism and refugees, and shows negative reactions to foreigners. Some of the extreme right-wing parties and organizations attempt to benefit from these concerns by following aggressive politics to energize their support. However the reality is that the propagandas made by such parties serve to fuel hatred, lead to social unrest and thus the gap between the parties keeps growing further.
While the extreme right-wing in the EU countries become stronger, the right-wing conservatives as well as social and liberal democrats who boast about democracy, equality and human rights at every occasion, remain ineffective and are unable to respond. This is an issue of critical importance since this inability to respond serves radical ideologies.
How do radical groups rally supporters?
As in the case of Belgium, the members of radical groups can easily blend in with the civilian population.
They make their propagandas particularly through Internet and social media and establish terrorist cells around the world. They identify those young people who have lost their sense of belonging in their country of residence and who think that they are excluded from. These same individuals lack important and necessary knowledge on religion, and they are thus very easy targets for recruits.
Most of the European Muslims believe that they are being treated as second-class citizens in the respective countries they are residing in. These people cannot make use of the average wealth in their country of residence. The majority of them reside in the slums of cities as in the case of France.
In his review article titled “French election irrelevant in poor suburbs” on the BBC website, the author Henri Astier states that Muslims in France believe that they are marginalized and neglected. The same article points out that job discrimination remains enormous and that immigrants with Muslim origins are being abused by police.
To make matters worse, with the advent of negative propaganda, xenophobia, improper policies such as defective regulations, those who join these groups are increasing every day. Another method which has been of no avail is military solutions…
Why military methods cannot be effective against terrorism?
Attempting to solve the terror problem merely with military methods would be ineffective. Responding to violence with more violence increases hatred and escalates radical terrorism. The problem here is one of ideas and ideologies. It is imperative to replace wrongful ideas and false ideologies adopted by terrorists with the “right ones”.
For that reason, the most urgent task is to demonstrate the difference between radicalism and the true Islam in a transparent way and to explain it using every means available. The radical groups that come forward –allegedly- in the name of Islam, as can be easily understood from their inhumane acts, have a perverted understanding, far removed from the essence of Islam.
These people actually rely on a set of superstitions concocted in the name of Islam, rather than the Qur’an, which is the holy book of Islam. They consider their acts as sacred and the violence that they commit for this cause as an “act of worship” in their twisted minds.
Therefore, making counter propaganda and telling the truth are of vital importance. In order to render those who advocate a bigoted mindset based on superstitions ineffective, the modern, radiant, progressive aspect of Islam that complies with science and a logical understanding that attaches importance to arts should be featured. It should be also explained that Islam is a religion commanding love, brotherhood, peace and serenity.
How can the West “put the brakes on” the problem of terrorism?
It is obvious that the collaboration of the West with Islamic scholars, academics and opinion leaders relying on the Qur’an is of a critical importance. The introduction of an educational policy which indoctrinates the truth that the fanatical understanding of religion created by radical groups are a flagrant contradiction to Islam, and are a matter of urgency. Otherwise, seeking military solutions through anti-terrorism laws similar to those introduced by Hollande, who also made the statement saying “France at war” upon the attacks in Paris, would be of no avail once again.
Murdering people, beheading them and dropping bombs on mosques are, by no means, a part of Islam. On the contrary, the distorted ideas which constitute the foundation of violence and hatred can only be eliminated by the true Islam. The most urgent priority of Europe as well as the entire world should thus be to carry out the studies that will effectively reveal this fact by means of the evidences in the Qur’an.