The Westminster attack and the Western dilemma

The ISIS terrorist who drove at pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London and stabbed the policeman at the gate of the British parliament, to be then shot by British policemen, showcased the depth of the Islamist terrorist danger that is threatening Europe and the West.

Some will ask about the same danger that the Muslims and Arabs are facing.

One day after the London attack, the Egyptian ISIS killed 10 officers and members of the Egyptian army in Sinai, and the army in turn killed 15 ISIS members. So why do we always say that ISIS only threatens the West?

The problem is that the threat against the West is complex and varied. The proportion of Muslim citizens is increasing. Therefore, the tackling of the intellectual dilemma posed by Islamist terrorist groups that are generating these killers can no longer be handled by Muslims alone.

How does the Christian and the secular West deal with this sensitive issue? 

An urgent threat 

We are tackling this issue because the terrorist threat against western cities has become urgent. What happened is not a random attack because in Belgium, for example, on the first anniversary of the March 22 attacks on Brussels that claimed the lives of 32 people, the Belgian police arrested yesterday a criminal who also tried to drive at pedestrians in a shopping area in the city of Antwerp. The spokesman added that they have also found weapons and knives inside his car.

The problem is that the threat against the West is complex and varied. The proportion of Muslim citizens is increasing. Therefore, the tackling of the intellectual dilemma posed by Islamist terrorist groups that are generating these killers can no longer be handled by Muslims alone.

Mashari Althaydi



On the occasion of the anniversary of last year’s attacks, we recall the terrible Nice (France) attack in July 2016. It was carried out by a French-Tunisian attacker named Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel who has hit 86 people with his truck.

In December 2016, there was also a similar attack in Berlin, in which 12 innocent people were killed by an ISIS criminal. The truck had been driven into a Christmas market. The terrorist, Anis al-Amri, was of Tunisian origin.

Getting rid of this “culture” and those who abide by it, such as the London criminal, Khalid Massoud, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel and Anis al-Amri, is no longer a matter limited to Muslims, but has become a major international issue.

The victory of Donald Trump, the US president, is in part a response to the great security challenge, and his firm commitment to eliminate “Islamic terrorism.”

We do not like this description, and we are keen on mentioning that these groups do not represent Muslims, adding that they kill Muslims more than others.

This is true but it is not enough, and this is a ‘world-wide war’ because the killers do not exclude any nation.

The interesting new question would be: how will the West contribute to finding the right answer to the problem of cultural terrorism?

Anyway, the danger will persist for the time being. It may increase at times due to the easy communication through social media. These are not my words; they are the words of a field expert, Major General Mansour al-Turki, spokesman for the Saudi interior ministry. He recently said from Paris: “We will enter the next phase of terrorism through social media and lone wolves.”

Thus, the danger threatens all humanity.

The article was first published in Asharq Al-Awsat.
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Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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