Terrorism in Europe... The curse of ideology on civilizations

Since February of this year, Germany has seen all sorts of organized terrorism

Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran
Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran
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Since February of this year, Germany has seen all sorts of organized terrorism. Violent encounters such as the officer incident, followed by the temple episode and the assault on the train. The terror didn’t end with the killing and assassination of the police, or with the leaked videos threatening Germans with revenge. It is known that Germany ventured forth by harboring a great deal of refugees, which gave the right wing great leverage as a defender and protector of German identity and roots.

The voices of anti-refugee and immigrant activists have escalated after the truck incident which rammed into a Christmas market in Berlin killing a dozen and leaving 40 wounded. The German party AfD explicitly called for “the immediate ban on the entry of any unidentified persons to Germany.” This brings us back to the problem of Islamic identity and its relationship with other European identities.

In the last third of the 20th century, European capitals have become a paradise for the figures of political Islam, taking advantage of the freedoms and the “spirit of law,” in the words of Montesquieu. They took advantage of the atmosphere of freedom and have benefited from European values. European countries welcomed those who have no homes, are hunted by their governments with no countries to return to and no roof over their heads.

However, the peace didn’t last long and resentment started to form against immigrants and outsiders ever since the Charlie Hebdo attack. Alain Gresh, famous for his leftist affiliation and former editor of Le Monde Diplomatique published a book after the incident entitled: “Islam, the Republic, the world.” After a commentary on the Charlie Hebdo incident, he covered chapters on “the clash of civilizations” which included sermons and moralities to world leaders, advising them to not categorize all Muslims as terrorists.

Gresh challenges the theory of Bernard Lewis which claims that: “The hatred goes far beyond the state of hostility towards some interests or business, or even against certain countries, to become a rejection of Western civilization not just as it is, but for what it stands for.”

If Europe remains a haven and a springboard for political Islam then extremism will grow

Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran

He did not address rising nationalist tendencies in many nations and the foundations of the Islamic reception of Western civilization. There was a moral politeness to migrants, particularly with regard to food, veils, places of worship, preaching about Islam, building Islamic centers and charities. Unfortunately, a major disaster was building up for more than three decades in France and Britain in particular. This should come as a lesson to Germany and its relationship with political Islam.

The conflict was hidden between the new ideology and the existing civilization. A thematic conflict which was disguised by signs, symbols, clothing, banners and stereotypes about others. European civilization has been built on the values of individuality since the times of Hegel to the times of Emmanuel Levinas.

Dariush Shayegan printed a small pamphlet in Paris in 1992 which was translated into Arabic in 1993 entitled “Illusions of Identity.” He referred to this conflict saying: “The non-Western civilizations have not experienced these changes but received it by proxy; they had no access point to the origins of Western thought, or to dialectical movement. In a way, ideology has become the only available form of thoughts for non-Western civilizations and has been able to undertake a role in history.”

Shayegan is saying that ideology is a case of compensation for cultural poverty on the basis of conflict. These ideologies are always integrated from a principle of “intellectual irritability.”

Political Islam preached follies of reform in Europe rather than cultural adjustment. They imagined that they could issue reforms through influence in the state parliament and change the laws. European governments were in a comatose state of mind since the 1970s and didn’t care for the institutions of political Islam which reached Vienna and Switzerland. Unfortunately, they lived to see their mistakes.

If Europe remains a haven and a springboard for political Islam then extremism will grow. But if this invasion is to be curbed legally and politically, the danger will diminish. A European writer once published a book titled “France! Careful, you’re losing your soul.” Alain Gresh dismissed the title. This cruel calling may be a last appeal to the rest of Europe’s countries and their capitals.


Fahad Shoqiran is a Saudi writer and researcher who also founded the Riyadh philosophers group. His writings have appeared in pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Alarabiya.net, among others. He also blogs on philosophies, cultures and arts. He tweets @shoqiran.




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