Recent terrorist attacks in a number of European countries have not only revealed inability of those countries’ security services and their structural weaknesses, but also faced Europe with certain challenges on other fronts.
At present, Western Europe is facing two extremist and radical currents, which have hidden their true motives behind an apparent façade of religion or nationalism. One current has its origins in the Arab Middle East and is represented by al-Qaeda and the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group. This current considers itself as Muslim and thinks that Europe is taking position against Islam and is somehow anti-Islam.
The second radical current is made up of Europe’s rightwing groups, who claim they want to purge the Green Continent of immigrants who come from Islamic countries or Africa as they have been deceived by propaganda and think they will achieve a higher standard of living in Europe compared to their own countries. Terrorism is a product of these two currents.
However, since the Western media are not willing to discuss the Christian rightwing groups, they have focused their main attention on Islamic radicalism in order to give their Islamophobic effort good coverage. However, a glance at the main reasons behind the growth of radicalism and extremism in the Arab Middle East and North Africa will reveal that such tendencies stem from the way that European colonialists have dealt with these countries during and after the period of colonialism up to the present day.
The role played by the United States in occupying Iraq and Afghanistan under the pretext of fighting against terrorism has freed the genie of terrorism and extremism from the bottle and what we are currently witnessing in such European countries as France, Belgium, the UK, and Germany is just a reaction to a few centuries of interventions by European colonialists.
Both Daesh and al-Qaeda, which are the main accused parties in terrorist attacks in Europe, constitute a not-so-hidden reality, which is the product of wrong policies adopted by the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). During past years, Western countries looked at radical groups as a strategic and efficient tool by which they could bring Russians to their knees in Afghanistan.
At that juncture, these radical forces were introduced as jihadist fighters, who were fighting on the path of God in a bid to liberate Afghanistan from the clutches of the former Soviet Union’s Red Army. So, how al-Qaeda and Daesh turned into the current scary terrorist forces? The shift from the concept of fighters to terrorists and the beginning of the fight against terrorism did not take place through a normal course, but it has had a close relation with the goals pursued by the Western world. Radical forces rejected this conceptual shift and the terror attacks in New York on September 11, 2001, was a product of this difference in viewpoints between two former allies.
As the former leader of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, had said, which has been also emphasized by his successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the leader of Daesh, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the fight launched by al-Qaeda and the Taliban will never come to an end and every generation of their fighters will do its job regardless of the final results even if this fight takes a thousand years.
They believe that sooner or later, Europe and the United States will have to change their viewpoint. Radical political and ideological members of Daesh and al-Qaeda blame all problems and historical backwardness of the Islamic countries on the West’s policies and since they cannot find a suitable answer to these problems, they mix their ideology with violence in order to cover their frustration.
They see a world on the one side of which a minority avails itself of all amenities of life while a great majority, on the other side, lives in extreme poverty and cannot live in peace. The concentration of wealth and power and amenities of life in Europe and the United States has given birth to a rebellious generation, which relies on technology in its bid to change the rules of the game.
The modern world needs to revise its treatment of the traditional world, which allows radical forces to justify violence regardless of their affiliations. If terrorism is bad, restricting it to Muslims and ignoring Christian and Jewish extremists would be bad on the same scale. As long as there is discrimination, intervention, occupation, plundering of the national riches of nations, and collusion between the West and a local minority that monopolizes power, there would be violence in the West, regardless of whether they call it terrorism or simple fighting.
By Iran Review