Is Europe allowing jihadists and Islamic (ISIS) terrorists to cause havoc?

September 28, 2015 12:23 pm

 

A woman holds a placard as she walks in a solidarity march for refugees in Brussels. AP photo / Geert Vanden Wijngaert

Some of you have thought about it, haven’t you?
You have seen
photos of brown-skinned, dark-haired young men, unkempt and exhausted,
pouring out of buses and trains in Austria and , and have worried
that, some of them, could be jihadists sent by to cause havoc in
.
After all, who knows who is who? Many refugees do not carry passports or other forms of identity.
Could
it be that all those kind-hearted Austrians and Germans, who clap and
cheer refugees as they arrive in their country, are in fact welcoming
to Europe? What a great plan by ISIS, right?
No, not right.
In my opinion, such fears are based on our internalised Islamophobic views and uninformed opinions.

Yes, I know you have foreign friends, love travelling to
exotic locations, appreciate ancient cultures and feel terrible about
these poor refugees; but have you thought about why you feel threatened
by the sight of, mostly Arab Muslims, fleeing to Europe? Why you don’t
see them, first and foremost, as victims and humans in urgent need of
assistance, but as potential threat to the blissful safety and security
of the West?
Jack Shaheen knows the answer. In his book titled Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People.
He describes Hollywood’s role in distorting our ideas of Arabs and
Muslims, portraying them as violent, evil and irrational people
(American Sniper is the latest Arab-bashing blockbuster guilty of
feeding us propaganda and nonsense.)

Edward Said in his book Orientalism
explores the role of the Western literature in conveying a general
perception of Eastern cultures that bears little resemblance to reality.
These
false perceptions of Muslims are reproduced and reinforced on almost
daily basis. The depictions of Muslims as terrorists are not balanced
with images and of Muslim men and women as revered scientists,
Nobel Peace Prize winners, poets, artists, writers, etc.
There
are many reports of ISIS sending their fighters to Europe disguised as
refugees but none of these reports have been verified by any of the
European security services.
It is true that some people
traffickers have to pay a percentage of their profits to ISIS; but there
is no substantiated report of the smugglers being made to hide ISIS
fighters amongst the refugees.

Earlier this month, a Facebook
account posting a before-and-after photos of a supposedly
ISIS-fighter-turned-refugee was shared 70,000 times online. The photo
had the accompanying message that said: “Remember this guy? Posing in
ISIS photos last year – now he’s a ‘refugee’. Are we suckers or what!”
As
it turned out the real suckers were those who believed this claim and
shared the captioned photos of Laith Al Saleh without checking its
validity first. The bearded before-photo of Al Saleh, wearing military
gear and camouflage trousers and holding an assault rifle, was taken
when he was fighting against, not for, ISIS.
In my opinion, the
fear of jihadists pouring into Europe has no basis and, therefore, is
unjustified. Firstly, remember that everything that ISIS is doing,
through their very successful social media and propaganda campaign, is
to encourage more foreign fighters to join them where they need them the
most, in the battle fields of and Iraq.
It is true that
ISIS’ ambitions are regional but ISIS’ first and foremost concern is
self-preservation and survival. Sending scores of jihadists away from
where they are most needed does not seem rational.

The very
reason that ISIS encourages acts of in the West is because
they know that, the sort of Islam-bashing that usually follows these
attacks, will bolster their recruitment drive and expand their support
base.
Every word that attacks and blames Islam, only enhances
ISIS’s destructive message to Muslims around the globe; a message that
says to them: the West is at war with you and your religion.
We
know there are some disillusioned ISIS foreign fighters who would like
to return to Europe. Could these fighters, or indeed any ISIS fighter,
disguise themselves as refugees without any of the locals spotting them?
Unlikely; but even if that happens, the fact is, the numbers will be
small and the threat will be limited.
As far as New Zealand is
concerned, there is virtually no threat. All refugees accepted to NZ
will be processed through UN agencies, and will be subjected to rigorous
background checks.
It is also worth remembering, that, despite
what our security services might like us to think, carrying out an act
of terrorism is relatively easy to do. Anyone can drive a car into a
crowd or make homemade explosives.
In Europe, nearly all major
acts of Islamic terrorism were carried out by people who were already
living in Europe. Charlie Hebdo attacks, and 7/7 London bombings were
carried out by people who were already living in France and the UK
respectively.
Even in the highly organised 9/11 terrorist attacks
in the US, with the exception of one Lebanese, the other terrorists
were all nationals of countries known to be US allies, 15 from Saudi
Arabia, 2 from UAE, and one from Egypt.
It will not surprise me
to learn that the source of the rumors about ISIS-disguising-as-refugees
is, in fact, ISIS themselves. Fear, after all, is a form of terror; and
what better way to spread terror in the West?
Let’s see refugees
as who they really are: fellow human beings who feel pain, suffering
and humiliation just like we do. They are in urgent need of assistance
and we should do all we can to help them.

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