Brexit just helped ISIS get one step closer to its goal

The EU referendum proves Britain no longer speaks for the world.

 |  4-minute read |   24-06-2016
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To a great extent, the outcome of the Friday referendum, which voted 52 per cent in favour of Brexit, with a turnout of more than 70 per cent, was foretold in the image of the three-year-old Syrian boy Alan Kurdi, lying dead on the shores of Bordum, Turkey; in death too his body lay feet to the land, head to the open sea and to freedom.

That was in September 2015. Alan's family was one of the hundreds of thousands that fled Syria to Turkey and Greece because of ISIS wars. Alan was the image of the future. Muslims who will die to reach safer shores.

download_062416082109.jpg Its great history of struggles for democracy notwithstanding, it no longer is sure of its own mind.

The talk on Turkey joining the European Union has been going on for some time now. When that happens, Turkey would be the Islamic gateway to the EU.

In effect, it would be opening the floodgates to a civilisation hostile to Europe and its values since at least the crusades between the 11th and 15th centuries, each of the crusades sanctioned by the papal authority.

Then, too, Turkey was crucially involved. Alexios I, emperor of Byzantium, needed replenishments in his war with Turks of Anatolia. And Pope Urban II had called Christendom to arms in support.

This is not to say Islam as a whole religion is opposed to Western values. But it does seem fair to say the militant Islam is more violently visible and articulate in comparison to the more peaceful Muslims down the centuries. David Cameron's Britain has voted against the guns and bombs out of fear for the future of their race and nation.

Liberals would argue against an essentially racist and isolationist verdict of what was once a great superpower, which had an empire to protect.

That has been whittled down to a divided country-Empire to the UK to England. Though Wales went with leave, Scotland voted to stay in the Union. The rift is only likely to widen given the narrow margins of the recent Scotland referendum.

The fact is that Britain no longer speaks for the world. Its great history of struggles for democracy notwithstanding, it no longer is sure of its own mind.

It is in this context of uncertainty, that the Brexit mindset can be explained. In a democracy the great rights of liberty and speech can be defended only up to a point. That point, Britain believes, is here. The ISIS point.

Britain is officially taking leave of the participation in the crusades that have never quite got over. This is the possibility that Donald Trump is making capital out of.

The 28 counties of the EU, including Britain, have a population of more than 500 million.

Muslims, including migrants and citizens, add up to 20 million. Only a minuscule of these - around 3,000, according to Marc Pierini, a scholar in Islamic affairs - are jihadists.

Yet the damage they inflict on the image of Islam is disproportionately huge.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism fellow, says there are "more practising Muslims than practising Christians" in Brussels, the capital of the European Union. He reports, "At the heart of EU's rot in Brussels are no-go zones controlled by jihadists. Despite Belgian…gun laws in Molenbeek, jihadists buy and sell at the Great Bazaar of Kalashnikovs."

In and around Europe there are rallies by militants holding banners with slogans like: "Europe is the cancer, Islam is the answer."

There are predictions that in some 15 years the Muslim population will outnumber parts of Christian Europe, especially Belgium.

Britain is not confident of meeting this dystopian European future.

Brexit could well be the beginning of a certain trend. Or end. A heavily right-swinging Denmark may be the next.

France is debating the issue. The temptations of a united market, common currency, and free labour movement are just not enough to offset a bunch of non-state actors like the ISIS.

Surely, the recent massive movement of migrants into Europe is a direct result of Islam's internecine wars?

The truth couldn't be simpler. Out of fear, Britain is washing its hands off Europe. It never came to Poland's rescue either when Hitler's army overran that country in the Fall of 1939.

There's perhaps a tradition of self-protectionism that Britain must honour. That detachment however got them into deep trouble in World War II.

Never mind. In some tent in the deep deserts of West Asia, ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi - who may or may not be dead, depending which paper you read - must be laughing his head off.

In 2014, he had announced he was the Caliph of the world. The Caliphate's official religion would be Salafi specifically and Sunni in general. Not much choice there.

Britain may have done a favour to itself, by distancing itself from the EU. But, with the prospect of a broken Europe, the Caliphate just got several steps closer.

Writer

CP Surendran CP Surendran @cpsurendran

Senior Journalist

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