The recent terrorist attacks carried out by Muslims in France and Austria should serve as a warning to Europeans who have long been appeasing and endorsing extremist Muslim politicians and organizations. Pictured: President of the European Council Charles Michel with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, right, walk past tributes to those killed, as they commemorate the terror attack one week ago in Vienna, Austria, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. Several shots were fired shortly after 8 p.m. local time on Monday, Nov. 2, in a lively street in the city center of Vienna. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
The recent terrorist attacks carried out by Muslims in France and Austria should serve as a warning to Europeans who have long been appeasing and endorsing extremist Muslim politicians and organizations.
This warning was sounded in the past few weeks by a growing number of writers, political analysts and politicians in Arab and Islamic countries. The main message they are sending to the Europeans: Political Islam is a threat not only to non-Muslims, but to Muslims and Arabs as well. Europeans need to wake up and start confronting the Muslim extremists.
«Political Islam organizations are the reason for spreading hatred and terrorism in the world,» said Saudi writer Mohammed al-Sheikh.
«Political Islamic organizations are the reason for perpetuating terrorism and hatred. These organizations are banned in most of the Islamic countries, while Europe, especially Britain, embraces them and allows them to operate freely. Europeans can only blame themselves.»
Abdel Moneim Ibrahim, a prominent political analyst from Bahrain, wrote that France is paying the price for its «courtship» of political Islam.
«Is France really paying the price for its complacency and its lax security grip on the dozens of terrorist organizations operating under the cover of charitable or Islamic societies, Quran memorization or teaching the Arabic language, as well as scores of imams in French mosques who incite violence and hatred and sympathize with jihadist terrorist groups?
«This is true. France bears part of the responsibility for not closing these suspicious associations under the pretext of freedom of expression and freedom of religions…
«The French government knows very well that there are suspicious Islamic governments and organizations currently supporting terrorist acts in France. It knows very well that Turkey — specifically the government of [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan — and Qatar — are the ones that feed terrorism and support it with money from France and the rest of the European countries. Turkey and Qatar rely on suspicious associations supervised by the Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and ISIS.»
If France continues to flirt with political Islam, Ibrahim cautioned, «the innocent French will continue to pay a very high price.»
Palestinian political analyst Adli Sadeq pointed out that in many Western countries, the Muslim Brotherhood organization was still being treated as a «moderate political movement.»
Many countries, Sadeq said, have refused to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization because they falsely consider it a «moderate» group. «It makes no sense to say that the Muslim Brotherhood is centrist and moderate,» he argued. «There is no difference between them and the jihadist groups.»
Tunisian newspaper editor and political analyst Alhashimi Nawiri called on Western countries to re-evaluate their relations with Islamic organizations:
«It has become clear that these [Islamic] organizations, in their ideological depth, are fascist groups that have nothing to do with democratic values.
«The damage that the West has begun feeling is having a severe impact on the cohesion of its societies and states. This is the result of embracing and nurturing these [Islamic] political movements. The presence of these groups in Western countries has begun to cast a shadow over millions of Muslims living there and who are required (after each terrorist attack) to prove their innocence and clarify that Islam is innocent of these groups and their actions.»
Hailah al-Mashouh, a Saudi columnist and political analyst, also took France to task for its conciliatory policies toward Islamic organizations:
«There is no doubt that France’s previous policies, lenient with [Muslim] extremists, contributed to the current wave of terrorism, as well as legislation that guarantees the right to asylum and immigration to every expatriate on its soil.»
She advised the European Union to outlaw and criminalize all political Islamic groups, especially those affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, and said such a move would be an effective weapon to combat terrorism.
«There is no decisive solution to the [terrorist] attacks except by criminalizing and expelling extremist groups,» al-Mashouh emphasized. The Western countries, she added, should learn from the Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups, which were expelled from the two countries. Failure to expel these groups from France and other Western countries, she warned, will lead to more violence and bloodletting.
The Muslim World League, a pan-Islamic group whose declared goal is to clarify the true message of Islam by «advancing moderate values that promote peace, tolerance and love,» warned that political Islam is an extremist, dangerous and violent ideology.
«The ideas of political Islam are based on spreading hatred, interfering in the affairs of states and influencing their national cohesion, as well as inciting violence in it in order to pass its political agenda,» the group said in an apparent message to France, Austria and other Western countries and those who embrace and empower Muslim Brotherhood groups and figures. The group warned that Islamists have succeeded in implementing their political projects in non-Muslim countries under the umbrella of training mosque preachers and funding Islamic charities.
Several other prominent Arab and Muslim media personalities and political analysts advised the Europeans to be wary of the financial and political support the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups receive from Turkey, Iran and Qatar.
Faisal Abbas, editor-in-chief of Arab News, said that the «malicious hands» of Turkey are aiding the Muslim terrorists in Western countries.
«The misuse of religion to score points has always been the preferred method of these malicious regimes, and perhaps Iran is a professional in this field,» Abbas commented. «They are using religion for political gain and to stir hate and incitement. «We are living through difficult and dangerous times.»
Abbas’s warning about the role of Turkey, Iran and Qatar in financing and supporting Islamist groups and individuals in Western countries was shared by Tunisian writer Al-Habib al-Aswad, who wrote that «terrorism has turned into an industry run by Islamists aspiring to rule the world and who still think in the logic of Islamic conquests and infidels.»
Al-Aswad warned that Turkey and Qatar have been funding Islamist organizations, militias and media outlets in the West and said: «We are nearing a new wave of terrorism that could be more violent than the previous ones.»
We are now seeing a large number of Arabs and Muslims warning about the clear and present danger Islamism poses to many different societies. These individuals are demonstrating courage and conviction in taking this public stance. Their advice, that Western states must eradicate Islamist organizations in Europe, is vitally important. Further appeasement of terrorists will have a direct result: more beheadings and murders on the streets of European capitals and cities.
Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at Gatestone Institute.