"Sadly, it was not unexpected, and now perhaps we can walk about freely without expecting something like this for some time." That was all my Danish friend said, when I contacted her after hearing of the terrorist attacks in Brussels, which finally left more than 30 dead and 300 wounded.
Once again fanatical Islamists, in the shape of ISIS, had struck. Once again, as Simon Jenkins noted, they had done more than that: given the kind of reactions their dastardly terror evoked, they had "converted a squalid psychopathological act into a warrior-evoking, population-terrifying, policy-changing event."
|Belgium's Zaventem Airport after blasts. (Reuters)|
Unlike my calm, cultured and stoic Danish friend - despite being a mother with her child in Brussels - at least two Republican candidates jumped the gun and called for patrolling Muslim neighbourhoods in the US and banning the entry of Muslims. Anti-refugee groups in Europe were just as vocal.
When, as any informed person could have guessed, the culprits of the Brussels blasts were likely to be men who had grown up in Europe, as it has turned out to be with at least two of them.
This was the case with the culprits of the Paris massacres too, and with the Copenhagen shootings last year. In most of these recent Islamist atrocities in Europe, there is the involvement not of "refugees" or "immigrants" but of young men, usually with criminal records, who have grown up and been educated in Europe.
This is not to deny that the odd refugee or immigrant might pose a threat: Islamism is a nefarious ideology, and it afflicts people of all sorts. And yet, the facts are also clear: Islamism has provided an excuse for criminally inclined, frustrated young Muslim men, born and bred in the West, to indulge in "glorified" orgies of violence. This is not new: extreme communist ideologies did something similar in the '60s and '70s, when bands of "red" extremists looted banks and planted bombs in many European nations.
Again, to say so is not to "excuse" Islamism - no, not even to let fundamentalist Islam off the hook. For it is a certain trend of fundamentalism in Islam that creates the warped "rationale" and intolerance which is then absorbed by such young men, and turned, with the help of "mentors" like ISIS, into orgies of senseless violence.
Without fundamentalist Islam, such terrorists would not be anything other than the petty criminals or the frustrated youths that they undoubtedly also are. Such criminals might still mug you on the streets, but they will not have any "rationale" to plan massacres.
Every religious Muslim has to ponder over this - because it is his (or her) religion that is being used to turn individual psychopaths into smug, monstrous "martyrs".
(Courtesy of Mail Today.)