Islamic extremists have started a new recruiting campaign in Europe
Defeats in Syria had slowed down the expansion of the Islamic State, but not for long. After a short respite, the terrorist organization returned to the media environment with a new wave of propaganda. This May, they have released two videos with symbolic warnings and threats.
The first one shows how the ISIS fanatics are forming so-called army of orphans. They are recruiting Syrian children whose parents had died “from the hands of the foreign invaders”. It is easier for adolescent boys and girls to pass through the tests and examinations that the refugees are subjected to on the borders of European countries. A rational conclusion from this fact is that the ISIS are preparing to shake Europe with a series of terrorist attacks committed by juvenile suicide bombers. There have already been reports about hundreds of ISIS followers infiltrating Europe under the disguise of refugees.
The second ISIS propaganda video calls upon all who support them to perform terrorist attacks in the Western countries, “most of all in Europe and America”, in the course of the Muslims’ holy month of Ramadan, which begins on June 7. Radical Islamic fundamentalists in France, Great Britain, Italy, Germany and other European countries have answered to this call by posting slogans and banners of the ISIS in social networks.
Considering the previous year’s series of heinous terrorist attacks against European people, those warnings should be treated seriously. According to the statistics provided by the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany, a number of subjects “who may pose terrorist threat” has almost doubled in the course of the current year (from 270 to 497). The office has also registered 339 individuals who sympathize with terrorists and can be regarded as potential direct supporters of terrorism.
Another public institution to raise the terrorist alarm is the General Directorate for Internal Security of France. The head of the intelligence agency, General Director Patrick Calvar, recently made a statement that about four hundred French teenagers, who had joined the ISIS, are ready to commit attacks on the territory of the country. “They have gone through the courses of training for terrorist attacks,” Calvar said. “When they return to France, we will have to deal with very serious problems.” “Currently, the ISIS and al-Qaeda threaten France most of all, because the purpose of these organizations is to retaliate for their defeats from European forces in Iraq, Syria and Yemen,” Patrick Calvar concluded.
Back in 2015, few months prior to the tragedies in Paris and Brussels, Russian political scientist Vasili Ivanov had warned about the increasing terrorist menace in Europe. He had pointed at two factors: the return of terrorists who had fought in Syria and Iraq, and the widespread network of Salafist communities on the continent. “Consider the fact that Calvar had made his statement on May 10 at the closed Parliament hearings in the Committee on national security,” the political scientist commented. “But that information was only made public on May 19, after the disappearance of the A320 airbus on its way from Paris to Cairo. In my view, it means that the French intelligence services are disoriented; they have no clear strategy of opposing the terrorist threat.”
Vasili Ivanov derives from that situation that the European authorities are helpless before the Islamist menace. “What else can it mean, when they are trying to conceal information about the terrorist danger from their own citizens?” the expert proceeds. “It seems that the French government intend to justify themselves before the French people in advance. We had warned you, they would say. But what good are warnings when there is no real counter-terrorist activity?”
The political scientist sees that European special services are not prepared to oppose terrorism. Radical Islamists are on the loose not only in Paris but also on the outskirts of France; many of them are citizens of the republic. In the region of Brittany, as the locals have witnessed, the Salafi imams feel free preaching the ideals of Jihad and openly supporting the ISIS. Their influence has reached Poles, Ukrainians and other Eastern European immigrants; many of them turn to radical Islam at the end of the day. The police are simply afraid of trespassing the borders of Muslim districts in towns and cities. The situation has become a reflection of the state of things in the Belgian municipality of Molenbeek where radical Islamists and terrorists had rooted. This similarity had been noted by Patrick Canner, French Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, who called the radical Islamist community a “mafia-like system running its underground economy” and “system where public institutions have no presence”.
At the beginning of April, the web-site Radio France International published an article covering the spread of radical Islamism and ideas of Jihad in French provincial towns. The government allocated additional ten thousand euros on fight against extremism to the southern town of Lunel after it became known that few of the locals had departed for Syria. The officials reported that the situation began to change for the best. “It looks very much like simulation of activity,” Vasili Ivanov believes. “In reality, ‘fight against extremism’ is basically a series of educational lectures by social workers who are trying to persuade the Salafi youth that ‘terrorism is bad’, and teach them “respect for the secular values of the French republic’. What they receive in response is humiliating laughter of young radicals (who don’t want to work and prefer to be registered as unemployed). The real preventive measure would be to suppress the propaganda by punishing the most active Salafi imams; their names are well known among the locals.”
The expert reminds that the French special services are quite experienced in opposing terrorism; they had successfully acted against the far-right paramilitary group Organisation armée secrete and far-left revolutionary group Action directe in the XX century. However, the French police are somehow reluctant to use this experience against radical Islamists. “The harsh measures that had been taken against the far-leftists from Action directe, particularly long-term isolation from society, could well be applied to the Salafi imams,” Vasili Ivanov states. “The same should be done to anyone who spreads the extremist ideology through the Internet or by any other means.”
The political scientist believes that the Salafi communities must be destroyed, as had been cells of the above mentioned terrorist organizations in the past. The same will work, and should be done, in all other European countries. Otherwise, the atrocities committed by radical Islamists in Paris and Jihad will inevitably recur.
Translated by Daniil Yakovenko