Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) In the past few years, we have been just sporadically hearing about the terrorist attacks by radical Islamic groups in Europe. It is not surprising since the attention has been rightfully directed towards many serious topics. In the media, the pandemic has been a headliner for a long time, later replaced by the war in Ukraine and its socio-economic consequences on the citizens.
Fortunately, in recent years Europe has also been spared from larger terrorist attacks comparable to those we witnessed in 2015 and 2016 in France or in March 2016 in Brussels. In any case, if some terrorist attacks by radical Muslims occurred, they were small-scale actions of “lone wolves.”
However, this does not mean that the threat has completely disappeared. On the contrary, the threat of Islamic terrorism is still very real. We could see it first hand in the recent frightening attack on a gay bar in Norwegian metropole Oslo, perpetrated by Muslim radical Zaniar Matapour. Two people died, and more than twenty were seriously injured in this hideous attack.
Islamism in Europe has not disappeared.
Islamic radicalism, which is a fertile ground for terrorist activity, has not disappeared from Europe. It may be surprising to hear that in countries like Ireland, France, Germany, or Sweden, a notoriously infamous Islamic organization Muslim Brotherhood has its long-term operations. In other countries like Egypt, where it was established more than 100 years ago, this organization is considered a terrorist organization.
The problem with the Muslim Brotherhood is not the terrorist activity in the form of armed attacks on civilians. Muslim Brotherhood is a religious institution spreading radical Islamic teachings among Muslims living in Europe. Therefore, the greatest threat this organization poses are the efforts to change the thinking of the Muslim population in Europe- to radicalize it.
Muslims divide the world into dar al-Islam (“the land of Islam”) and dar al-Harb (the land of war/conquest). However, Europe and the West are no longer one nor the other for Muslim Brotherhood. A well-known and influential Muslim theologist and thinker Jusúf al-Karadáví whose teachings had a powerful influence also on Muslim Brotherhood doctrine, came up with the idea of dar al-daawa (“the land of preaching or mission”). This land of preaching includes European counties where Muslims live in the minority.
Muslim Brotherhood considers EU territory as “the land of mission,” but what it really is, is a “land of conquest.” Organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood aid the spread of radical Islam and the radicalization of attitudes. Consequently, this leads to worsened relationships between Muslim communities and the rest of society, but also one of the signs of radicalization remains the terrorist activity of individuals and groups.
The threat is still real.
The attacks in Oslo gave us a straightforward and clear lesson. They once again showed that terrorism by radicalized Muslims presents a real threat to Europe and that those people are not afraid of killing the innocent. The EU, as a whole, must now see security as a priority. Although, the question of internal security has indeed gained more importance due to the war on Ukraine, which is undoubtedly correct, the threats of terrorism cannot be set aside.
We need to focus more on these terrorist groups, which is something that is already happening in France after the terrorist attacks. The efforts of terrorists to infiltrate democratic Europe and do evil and terror are still on the horizon. We need to act firmly against those terrorists and against all that financially support them.
The cooperation of member states in the field of prevention of potential terrorist threats has improved. However, we cannot rest on our laurels. The threat of Islamic terrorism is still real, and Europe must act accordingly.