This is a cross-post from The Rambling Infidel
This is the second half of the post. The first addresses the (many) problems with the regressive left.
As of now we’re not sure of the backgrounds of all the attackers. We do know that a Syrian Passport was found next to one of the gunmen belonging to someone who registered as a refugee.They are also checking on the fingerprints of another man at the request of French investigators. However, authorities are not ruling out the possibility that the passport may have been a fake or may have been stolen or bought from a well established black market.
Another question that must be asked is why would a Jihadist who thinks modern notions of citizenship and nationality are haram, all of a sudden take his passport to a suicide mission and make sure it got found? For me this seems too calculated.
A plausible alternative theory could be that they used this passport so that they could tap into the anti-refugee sentiment in Europe in order to further discredit and delegitimize the refugees who are fleeing the nihilistic carnage that is currently engufling Syria of which ISIS has had a part in committing. In fact, ISIS loathes those fleeing to Europe from Syria. They view them as sinners because they are not going to their Caliphate.
I am not saying this is the right one because ultimately we don’t know for certain if the Syrian passport found next to the Jihadist is actually his passport or if it’s just a fake or if its one that has changed hands.
Let us assume anyways that at least one of them was an imposter refugee (which is possible) then it will raise questions about the extent of the fear of ISIS infiltration into Europe among the refugees and migrants coming into Europe. These fears should not always be dismissed out of hand because as Patrick Kinglsley writes here in The Guardian
“Thousands of refugees arrive on the Greek islands every day. While each has to be registered before they can make it to the Greek mainland, the process is a brief formality rather than a lengthy investigation. In registrations witnessed by the Guardian during the summer, refugees simply presented identification to the Greek authorities, before being allowed to leave minutes later without anything like a background check.”
Shows that in theory, if a would be terrorist wanted to reach Europe through Lesbos in Greece, it would be relatively simple to do.
Still, the arguments linking the Paris attacks and Jihadism to the refugee crisis are still questionable and closing the borders completely to Syrian refugees is not an answer. It is just a kneejerk, reactionary policy that will not decrease terrorism. This is because most Jihadist terrorism in Europe has come from people who are homegrown. It is that homegrown Jihadist threat that needs to be tackled, diverting the issue towards refugees is not serious analysis, it is just posturing and unncessary fear mongering.
Again, I must stress that this is not to say that you can’t have a debate on the refugee/migrant issue. It is just that linking it as an explaination for the problem of Jihadism is questionable.
If anything this attack should make us a little more empathetic, possibly even sympathetic, if we can manage the task, towards Syrian refugees who have faced this kind of violence nearly every day for the past four years.
This article sums up why we should be cautious about the Syrian Passport angle for now until we get more evidence.
We must then be very careful not to give the Jihadists what they want which is further polarisation. This is an established part of their strategy, to eliminate the grayzone or in other words make this a “West vs Islam” conflict. We cannot make this into an anti-muslim crusade, we must maintain that moral distinction between criticising ideas and spreading hate about people. Insisting on this is not “moralizing” or being “PC”. It is an absoulute fucking necessity.
Sadly, there will be muslims who bear no responsibility for these attacks who will receive bigotry as a result and possibly may experience hate crimes as “retribution”. If and when they occur they must be condemed absoulutely and every action must be taken to prevent and punish such incidents, just like we do with anti-semitic, homophobic and racist hate crimes. We should never enter realms of collective blame as it risks futher tearing apart our civilisation.
In closing, I will say to my ordinary muslim comrades that you don’t have anything to apologise for and you don’t have any responsibility for attacks committed by Jihadists. However, I would plead to you to not deny that there is a problem, not to obsfucate on the issue of Islamism and Jihadism, or come out with banal platitudes like “this has nothing to do with Islam”. That statement is flat out untrue and it does not help in decreasing anti-muslim bigotry because it is so intellectually dishonest and gives the impression that muslims have something to hide.
While it is also true that many muslims and muslim organizations condemn Jihadist attacks. This is obviously good and it should be acknowledged. However, the bar should not be set so low that merely condemning ISIS is enough. What is required in the long term to win this struggle against Islamism is to first, admit that a problem called Islamism exists and not to deny its connection to Islam. Second, show solidarity with brave muslims reformers like Maajid Nawaz and Iyad El-Baghdadi and non muslims alike in helping the civil society lead, universal values based resistance against Islamism and Jihadism.
I just wish we can have an honest debate about Islamism/Jihadism without the denial, masochism, obsfucation and crass moral equivalences of the regressive left. Ultimately, if reasonable people cannot take control of the debate then the far-right and neo-Fascists are very happy to dictate the terms of the debate. This will not be good for our civilisation because the far-right are not interested in debating bad ideas and trying to save civilisation and culture. They want to tear it apart as well.
In the end, our love for Paris will outlive and destroy the Jihadist’s hatred of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.