The ritual of holy war and murder

ISIS-hydra

The King and Queen of Spain mourn the victims of the terror attack which claimed 15 lives in Barcelona recently. The atrocity of Las Ramblas was followed swiftly by another terror attack, this time in Finland, where a Moroccan stabbed two women to death. Such atrocities have, depressingly enough, become regular events in our calendar now and it would be naive of anyone to assume that the frequency of mass murder in the name of Islam will ebb in the near future. Indeed, as the Islamic State buckles under pressure from her enemies in Syria and Iraq, the ISIS high command have shifted their focus away from maintaining a contiguous Middle Eastern territory and are looking towards the ‘Far Enemy’, where they urge Muslims of all nationalities to cause mayhem by whatever means possible. In practice, this means that the spectre of jihad will hover over the West for the foreseeable future, and more innocent people will die.

Listed below is a timeline of terrorist attacks committed by the lowest scum of the earth in recent times. Most were inspired by ISIS, though there is no shortage of other organisations (e.g. Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban) carrying out such grisly acts worldwide.

Aug. 14, 2017: Ouagadoudou
At least 18 people were killed by Islamist militants in a restaurant in Burkina Faso.

June 3, 2017: London Bridge
Seven people were killed and dozens were injured by three assailants who ploughed through pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed revellers in Borough Market.

May 22, 2017: Manchester
Twenty-two people were killed and dozens more injured by a suicide bomber at an Ariana Grande concert.

April 20, 2017: Champs Elysees
A Muslim assailant shot a police officer and wounded two civilians before being shot.

April 7, 2017: Stockholm
Five people were killed when a lorry driven by a man drove into a pedestrian zone and department store in Sweden’s capital city, wounding over a dozen others.

April 3, 2017: Saint Petersburg
A suicide bombing on the subway killed more than a dozen passengers and injured dozens more.

March 22, 2017: Westminster Bridge
Five people, including a police officer and the perpetrator, were killed in a terror attack. More than 40 people were injured outside the Parliament building.

Feb. 3, 2017: The Louvre
A man attacked soldiers with a machete but was shot and wounded.

Dec. 19, 2016: Berlin
A lorry plowed through a Christmas market, killing 12 and injuring 48.

Nov. 28, 2016: Ohio State University
Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a student, ran his car into a group of students and slashed people with a butcher knife.

Oct. 16, 2016: Hamburg
A citizen of the UAE killed one and injured four in a supermarket.

July 26, 2016: Normandy
Two men took five people hostage during a mass and murdered an elderly priest.

July 14, 2016: Nice
A lorry drove through a crowd on Bastille Day and killed 77 people.

June 12, 2016: Orlando
Omar Mateen attacked a gay nightclub, killing 50 people. It was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

March 22, 2016: Brussels
Suicide bombings at Brussels airport and on the subway claimed 32 lives.

Jan. 11, 2016: Marseille
A teenager attacked a Jewish teacher in Marseille with a machete.

Jan. 7, 2016: Philadelphia
A man shot and wounded a Philadelphia police officer.

Dec. 2, 2015: San Bernardino
A married couple shot and killed 14 people in California.

Nov. 13, 2015: Paris
A combination of mass shootings and suicide bombings killed 130 people and injured hundreds more.

Aug. 21, 2015: Paris
Another potential mass killing was thwarted when a terrorist gunman was overpowered by three Americans.

Feb. 15, 2015: Copenhagen
A Danish-born Muslim killed two people and wounded five police officers.

Jan. 7-9, 2015: Paris
Terrorists attacked the office of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, following the publication of a cartoon which offended them. 17 people were killed.

ISIS-flag-465971

The Islamic State is not just a territory – it is an idea. The ISIS menace will continue long after it is defeated in Syria and Iraq.

I have omitted many more Islamist atrocities, though it is only fair to point out that not all terrorism is committed by Muslims. Let us not forget the murder of a left-wing protester in Charlottesville, the attack on the Finsbury Park Mosque which claimed one life and injured 11, and the Anders Breivik murders (77 dead). However, the instances of islamophobic or neo-Nazi atrocities are dwarfed by the number of fatalities caused by evil men in the name of Islam. This is terrorism on an industrial scale whose reach extends across the globe – or, at least, to wherever there are Muslim populations. Moreover, these attacks do not need to be particularly sophisticated in order to achieve what their architects desire: death, fear, chaos and misery among all those who do not adhere to the strict tenets of orthodox, usually Sunni, Islam.

“But what about the Iraq War? They’re doing this because the West keeps dropping bombs on Muslim nations!” is a common refrain I hear from certain quarters. It’s a fair point. Let me make it abundantly clear that I have never supported military intervention in the Middle East, knowing full well that it usually creates more problems than it solves. I attended the anti-Iraq War march in London in 2003. I was deeply sceptical of the Afghanistan conflict and David Cameron’s hare-brained scheme to bring peace and democracy to Libya. The Taliban is still very much in business and Libya is in chaos thanks to the thoughtless meddling of Western leaders. Nations like the UK, USA and France have a lot to answer for. However, to assume that a more isolationist policy, however welcomed, would deprive the Islamists of their raison d’etre overlooks a crucial aspect of the Islamic State: namely, that their principal goal is the establishment of a worldwide caliphate. This concept is almost as old as Islam itself, but do not assume that in the digital age, the idea of conquest in the name of God has been consigned to the history books. It is a seductive idea perpetuated by radical clerics and finds purchase in the minds of impressionable young Muslims. ISIS has no shortage of willing recruits. Wherever there is a youngster looking for a purpose, there is a potential religious extremist willing to kill and even die for Islam. All the recruiter needs is some good propaganda.

The British police counter-terrorism unit is widely praised for thwarting numerous Islamist plots, and rightly so. However, the authorities face an uphill battle. According to intelligence officers, about 23,000 jihadists are living in Britain currently. Of these, roughly 3,000 are judged to be an active risk and are being monitored. In a sense, those who are sworn to protect us are deluged by the menace of radical Islam and are playing terrorist whack-a-mole. It is only a matter of time before another plot slips through the net and more innocent lives are snuffed out. And so, once again, the ritual of shock and grief plays out in the aftermath of the Barcelona attack, just as it has done in all of the other mass killings. The procedure is as follows:

  • Empty platitudes and cheap solidarity on social media. Some change their profile picture to the flag of the afflicted country. Some say, “never again”, knowing full well that this is a bare-faced lie.
  • Political leaders swear that we will ‘never give in to terrorism’, as if we were ever planning to have a collective nervous breakdown, soil our underwear en masse and construct makeshift white flags to present to the nearest available Arab or Pakistani.
  • People stage candle-lit vigils and a minute’s silence in some public place. Yes, I’m sure those battle-hardened Ghazis are terrified of folk not saying anything whilst holding a small flame.
  • Flags are flown at half-mast. We might as well keep them there, since it’s only a matter of time before the next atrocity.
  • The post-match analysis ensues, as experts of every hue advance their theories on why this happened / was allowed to happen.
  • We are reminded that not all Muslims are this naughty. Obviously, terrorism is the preserve of a twisted minority, but a minority sizeable enough to pose a serious threat to the lives of ordinary citizens. Nevertheless, the liberal élite insist on bludgeoning us with this lecture.
  • Almost everyone on television, radio and social media is outraged by Donald Trump’s response / lack of response to the tragedy, or they don’t like the way he said it . Indeed, Mr. Trump could repeat, word for word, the reaction of a goody-two-shoes leader like Justin Trudeau, Emanuelle Macron or Angela Merkel and people will still monitor its every nuance to find something that offends them.
  • Every Western government ignores the Saudi elephant in the room.
  • Rinse and repeat.

Forgive my cruel cynicism, good readers, but I fear that I, along with millions of others who are not governed by their emotions, am afflicted with a sense of terrorist attack ennui. The sad, unpalatable truth of the matter is that these events will repeat time and again. As long as there is a foolish Muslim in the world (and there is no shortage of those), there will always be a jihad. We may live in hope that Islam will one day enter its Age of Enlightenment and that religious extremism will be but a distant memory. Until then, we must remain vigilant and be aware that there are thousands of scumbags out there who take literally such lines as Sura 8.12: “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve.”

Don’t have nightmares.

 

 

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