The callous disregard for human life displayed on the streets of London last Wednesday is further proof that civilization is being undermined by acts of barbarism committed in the name of Islam.
The hacking to death and decapitation of an off-duty British solider in the UK capital by a pair of deranged Muslim fanatics echoes similarly despicable acts, such as the unspeakable massacre of the Fogel family in Judea and Samaria, the decapitation of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, as well as the countless beheadings and mutilations in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.
Unfortunately, the disturbing phenomenon of decapitation in the name of Allah is justified by the Quran. Sura 47 includes the verse: “When you encounter the unbelievers on the battlefield, strike off their heads until you have crushed them completely.” Similarly Sura 8:12 reads: “I will cast dread into the hearts of the unbelievers. Strike off their heads, then, and strike off all of their fingertips.” Ibn Ishaq, the 8th-century biographer of the Prophet Muhammad, reports that the Prophet ordered the decapitation of 700 men of the Jewish Banu Qurayza tribe in Medina.
The enactment of the Prophet’s desire to behead Islam’s perceived enemies in the 21st century reveals the extent to which jihadists are prepared to go to terrorize those who do not share their warped views. After all, what is more terrifying that being set upon by crazed men with meat cleavers and knives in the middle of London? But this is exactly what happened to Drummer Lee Rigby on Wednesday afternoon.
The beheadings of captives in Iraq, many of which were captured on video for public dissemination, may be the model of terrorist activity in the years to come. Israel, the US and Britain are excellent at foiling major terrorist attacks, but they are less adept at preventing so-called lone wolf attacks. Beheadings, stabbings and primitive explosives are the weaponry of the low-grade terrorist, who does not require top-down instructions from Al-Qaeda. The internet, which is brimming with jihadist and anti-Semitic material, is all it takes to radicalize a young Muslim or turn a convert into a murderer.
The lack of sophistication in recent attacks does not minimize their horrific impact. In fact, the fear generated by such atrocities is heightened because such atrocities are so simple to carry out. All it takes is a knife or a petrol bomb. Terrorism in Judea and Samaria, for example, is not a sophisticated affair. Stone throwing, stabbings and shootings are not in the same league as 9/11 or 7/7. But the daily grind of being pelted by rocks as you drive home or the fear of an Arab gang murdering your children are indicative of a world where barbarism is commonplace.
Islamic terrorism – both sophisticated and primitive – is not rational. When Muslim radicals attempt to justify their beliefs or actions, they inevitably contradict themselves and tie themselves up in knots. For example, justifying terrorism by blaming the actions of Western governments in Iraq and Afghanistan is nonsensical when the vast majority of terrorist activity is committed by Muslims against other Muslims. Islamists have no coherent political agenda other than inspiring dread in which fear is both the means and the end. As Jamie Bartlett of think-tank Demos, recently told the Financial Times: “Those interested in violence these days are amateurish and almost more interested in the violence of the deed than any underlying ideology.”
Islamic violence is a self-perpetuating ideology, whereby terror is used to inspire and maintain a sense of dread. And there is never any end to this violence. Terrorism does not achieve anything other than perpetuating more terror. This is why Western analysts should give up trying to fathom why terrorists kill and maim innocent people. Israel could pull out of Judea and Samaria, and the US and Britain could withdraw every single troop from the Middle East, but there would still be terrorist activity. In fact, terrorists would see Israeli and Western withdrawals as a sign of weakness and be emboldened to commit more atrocities against Muslims and non-Muslims.
What we are dealing with here is a kind of fascism. Admittedly, fascism is an overused word in modern political discourse, but I can think of no better description. The term “Islamofascism” is included in the New Oxford American Dictionary. It is defined as a term “equating some modern Islamic movements with the European fascist movements of the early twentieth century.”
Like Nazism, Islamofascism is a movement in which violence is glorified for its own sake. The similarities between Islamofascism, and the fascism of the 1930s and 1940s are not hard to miss. Hostility to modernity, a nostalgia for a lost golden age and fixation on real and/or imagined humiliations are common to both movements. Both share a paranoid fear of “the Jews,” both repress free expression, both desire the humiliation and destruction of the capitalist West, and both claim to have implacable enemies that must be eliminated. Like the Nazis, al-Qaeda is anti-American, anti-capitalist, anti-democratic and xenophobic. Like the Reich Ministry of Propaganda, the Palestinian Authority is skilled in the art of disinformation, historical revisionism and spreading anti-Semitism.
Both fascism and radical Islam are populist ideologies. Both are expressions of perpetual outrage. There is the same tendency to submerge logic in favor an irrational and overheated emotionalism. There are also common motifs. Hezbollah and Fatah use the straight arm Nazi salute at their gatherings. Instead of chanting “Heil Hitler” or “Sieg Heil” the mesmerized followers of radical Muslim clerics shout “Allah Akbar” over and over again.
It is not a popular thing to say in politically-correct Britain but Islamists are at war with just about everyone. They are at war with the West, with Israel, with other Muslims. It is a war that has been going on for a long time. It is a war that Israel has been fighting for decades and will no doubt go on fighting for another sixty years.
So instead of criticizing Israel, the Western political elite should be thankful that at least one country in the Middle East has the guts to stand up to Islamic terrorism. Britain, Europe and the US would do well to learn from Israel’s incomparable capacity to defeat terrorist plots and eliminate terrorist leaders. The West can also learn from Israel’s mistakes, such as its withdrawal from Gaza which allowed Hamas to take over. Similarly, Britain and America’s eagerness to pull out of Afghanistan will leave a political vacuum in which the Taliban takes complete control and the country will once again become a training ground for jihadists.
Moreover, Britain and other countries in the West need to toughen up their stance on the domestic front. There have been several occasions where attacks have been committed by homegrown terrorists who were already known to the intelligence services. MI5 was criticized after the 7/7 bombings because some of the perpetrators had been under surveillance. And it has come to light that Michael Adebolajo, one of the men who murdered Drummer Lee Rigby, was known to the intelligence services. Adebolajo had attended meetings of a now-banned Islamist group and sold extremist literature in London. It is reported that he tried to travel to Somalia to fight alongside the Al Shabaab insurgents but had been turned back and his passport removed by the police.
Britain is at war, both at home and abroad. One thing the UK government could do is revive the Communications Data Bill, which would allow the monitoring of internet use. Defense experts say last Wednesday’s terrorist attack could potentially have been avoided if the police and security services had greater powers to monitor internet communications. As things stand, police can identify the location and time of a phone call or a text message. But they cannot do the same for Skype, email or instant messaging.
A database containing people’s internet usage may help the security services to determine whether terrorists – or potential terrorists – have links to other radical groups. But the British government may have to go further and make some public displays of Islam illegal. For some years, Muslim fanatics in Britain have called for the beheading of soldiers and anyone else who “insults” Islam. Due to free speech laws, the UK establishment has done little to counter such hateful rhetoric. But things have to change. Islamic protests against British troops ought to carry a prison sentence. Mosques which are known to harbor dangerous radicals should be closed down by the police. Preachers who spread anti-Semitism and incite violence should be arrested, tried and imprisoned (or deported).
In the end, we have to get tough with those who wish to destroy our culture, our values, our way of life. Jonathan Evans, former head of MI5, says there are thousands of people in the UK who “pose a direct threat to national security and public safety.” Nobody should have to live in fear of political Islam. British soldiers should be free to walk down the street without fear of being attacked by knife-wielding maniacs shouting “Allah Akbar.”
Journalists should be free to report without being abducted and beheaded. Civilians should be allowed to attend sporting events like the Boston Marathon without being blown to bits. The British Home Secretary should be allowed to deport radical cleric Abu Qatada without EU interference.
The madness must stop – but politicians, the judicial system and the intelligence services in Britain and elsewhere will have to make some tough decisions in order for this to happen. In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Drummer Lee Rigby.