Are the Jihadist terror attacks in New York, London and Madrid, which culminated in the murders in Paris last week, evidence of the fulfillment of Samuel Huntington’s prediction almost 20 years ago that “the fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future,” that we are witnessing a clash of civilizations, an Islamic war against Western civilization?
The condemnation of these acts by leading Muslims throughout the world is a clear indication that this is not the case. The entire Muslim world is not on the offensive against the West. But as you connect the dots of the increasingly frequent terrorist acts committed against Western targets it is clear that radical Islam is on the war path against the West. The Arab terrorists in Paris shouted “Allahu Akbar” as they mowed down the cartoonists in the offices of Charlie Hebdo. They are convinced that these crimes are being committed in the name of Allah. If they are, as we want to believe, a marginal group, how big is the margin?
Is the murder of the shoppers in the kosher supermarket in the Porte de Vincennes neighborhood of Paris part of radical Islam’s war against the West? Do Europeans see it as somewhat different because it was directed against Jews? Had it been the only terrorist incident that day in Paris would there have been the same outrage in France and in Western Europe as after the attack on Charlie Hebdo? And the killings of Jewish children and a rabbi in Toulouse in March 2012, is there something different about them? More understandable to Western European minds?
The Islamic terrorists who murdered four worshippers in the Jerusalem Har Nof synagogue also cried out Allahu Akbar before opening fire and swinging their hatchets. Are they any different from the terrorists who committed murder in Paris? Or is the fact that the murder in Jerusalem and the many terrorist acts committed against Israelis by Islamic fanatics over the years become more “understandable” in Western eyes because they can somehow be related to the “Palestinian cause.” Are Hamas terrorists in Gaza any less terrorist and any less sworn enemies of Western civilization simply because they are seen as Palestinian Arabs? These are questions for Europeans to ponder.
The fact that the EU has recently removed Hamas from the list of terrorist organizations is an indication that the EU differentiates between radical Islamic terrorist attacks committed against European targets and those committed against Israeli targets. After all, Hamas, a radical Islamic terrorist organization, directs its attacks against Israel, and that as far as the EU is concerned does not seem to be in the same category as attacks against the West. They will realize in time that radical Islamists vent their anger against Israel because they see Israel as an outpost of Western civilization that has the temerity to be located in their midst. It is part of their war against the West.
Not all Muslims support the acts of terror committed against Western targets by radical Islamists. Hopefully, the majority are opposed to them. Many of them have in recent years absorbed Western attitudes and values and do not share hatred of the West with radical Islamic terrorists. This no doubt is true of many of Israel’s Arab citizens who have undergone a process of Israelization and Westernization over the years.
Huntington was only partially correct. Islam is not waging a war against the West, but a segment of the Islamic World is engaged in such a war. They see Israel as an integral part of the Western civilization that they are out to defy. Whatever sympathy or understanding Europeans extend to Arab terrorist acts against Israelis or Jews buys them no immunity from such acts directed against them. Like it or not, they share something in common with Israel: Both are targeted by radical Islam’s war against the West.
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