Islamic terrorism has fragmented into tiny, sinister pieces which have managed to hurt peaceful citizens of Western communities. This has been a summer of war, let’s not ignore that
Summer had barely begun and yet fear and violence already infiltrated the most relaxed part of the Western calendar.
From Germany to Nice, the heart of Europe is being hit.
But who is the culprit?
Some radical and barbaric army set on interrupting our civilised and peaceful life on this green and pleasant land? Loners, madmen, weirdos?
The reality is much simpler.
The Western world is being attacked by an ideology. Incomprehensible to us, but the future to others. It’s an idea that is offering hope to those who have suffered poverty and neglect — largely inflicted by the people around them, in schools and neighbourhoods, but on a broader scale by the West.
This ideology sees the West as a monolith of evil.
As a result, we need a united solution, backed by the US, Europe and the UK.
This year we have learned that despite successful operations targeting ISIS strongholds in Iraq and Syria, the problem of preventing terrorist attacks on home soil hasn’t been solved.
Bombs and bullets cannot kill an ideology. Only an alternative belief system can accomplish this. And that’s what the West must offer: an alternative ideology.
It must foster the belief that Muslims can unite and bring about global peace. This can begin gradually by introducing and reinforcing closer connections between Muslim neighbours and British ones — maybe through community games such as football. (It’s been proven after all, that when one knows someone well they are less likely to want to attack them). Then, on a larger scale, imams, Muslim celebrities and sportsmen can all be seen to denounce radical Islam, with the aim of helping to spread the word of an alternative ideology — something which not enough Muslim leaders have done.
This alternative may seem too placid, maybe even naive, in comparison to the tried and tested method of throwing bombs and engaging in indiscriminate killing, seen as collateral damage. But sometimes we need to choose the less immediate and more difficult option, stay committed to it, and then just maybe it will work.
There is also a problem emerging in the UK.
After the French attacks in November, I wrote that the moment we become numb to terrorist atrocities is the moment they have won. But I am staring to perceive this numbness in many.
A good friend of mine after the German suicide attack outside a nightclub said, ‘at least no one died’. After a French policemen was attacked in his home he said, ‘at least there wasn’t more deaths’. No, this has to stop. No matter the number of deaths or injured, each time we need to pause and reflect, and feel disgusted about every single filthy attack that takes place. Otherwise, we are becoming tolerant of these events and that means learning to live with defeat.
It’s easy to feel lost, confused and depressed about the world and the unfathomable suffering. This summer has been tough for many, but for others it has been much the same. However, we all need to understand the absolute urgency of what is happening and sit down together and think of alternatives, from a local level all the way up to the governmental. We need to offer a realistic substitute to this barbaric ideology.
Bullets and guns won’t win this war, pens and education will have a much better chance.
This is an international problem and it needs a united international solution.