England Cannot Routinize Terror

In Jerusalem, stabbings have become a way of life, like rocket attacks in Sderot. In certain areas of Paris, non-Muslims have to be careful or they could be randomly assaulted. In some suburbs of Brussels, the police don’t patrol, they only go in for raids.

The attacks in the heart of London last night, killing seven (so far), and injuring “at least 48” according to Washington Post reports might seem to some the logical consequence of having nearly 2.8 million Muslims living there (about 5 percent of the population). So far, in England and other Western European nations, governments are at a loss on how to combat this terror.

In a pluralistic, secular democracy, it’s very difficult to pin the problem on “Islam” because that would move the needle off dead-center in the issue of religious tolerance. Since there aren’t Christians running in the streets, mowing down civilians, blowing themselves up at concerts, and attacking nightclubs, blaming the problem on Islam would seem to indicate that somehow Christianity is “better” than Islam. (If you define “better” as not killing innocents.)

But to deny that terrorism is related to Islam creates a massive loop in logic. It pins the problem of terror on “terrorists” who commit “terrorism.” So “anti-terrorism” laws would protect citizens from “terror.”

The same criticism was leveled at President George W. Bush in his “war on terror.” Terror is a tactic, not an enemy. ISIS is an enemy.

So in England, who is the enemy? Apparently, they’re having trouble identifying it.

And that will lead to more terror. The danger is that the terror will become routine, and the laws dealing with terror will subject citizens to ever-more government intrusion, without ever identifying the enemy.

Or worse, they will deny there is an enemy and simply classify terror as another form of common crime. Stealing purses, bar fights, and mowing down civilians will become equal in society’s eyes.

Or they’ll blame it on ISIS, and when ISIS is eliminated from the Middle East (which will happen), they’ll wonder why terror continues.

In Israel, where terror is a way of life, terrorists don’t stop life as usual there. They’ve built a wall to keep terrorists out, but they continue to filter in–instead of blowing up buses, they stab. They’ve destroyed tunnels, and suffered international condemnation for sending troops into Gaza to stop the rockets, but the rockets continue. They know who the enemy is and why the enemy wants them destroyed.

Islam is not (only) a religion. It’s a socio-economic, political, governance, and legal system which has as its foundation a religion. The religion and its spiritual requirements are inseparable from many of the other aspects of being a Muslim. Islam doesn’t just involve “believe and pray.” It involves a whole lot of “do and comply.”

Muslims in power (imams) do not quickly or forcefully condemn attacks on infidels, because many of them believe it’s the right things to do. Pluralistic democracy is incompatible with the Quran. As individual Muslims come to believe that, they will continue in acts of terror (jihad).

The enemy is a worldview that promotes this. Call it Islamophobia, or discrimination, or whatever you want. It’s simply a recognition that this will continue and become routine until the enemy is properly identified and the issue is dealt with. A socio-economic, political, governance, and legal system that only recognizes one religion and its adherents as citizens with full rights, and others as second-class citizens cannot peacefully coexist with the rest of the world.

After years of routine terror, Israel has found itself in a terrible quandary. Western European pluralistic secular democracies are in danger of sliding into that same quandary if they routinize terror as a way of life.

About the author

Steve Berman

The old Steve cared about money, prestige, and power. Then Christ found me. All at once things changed. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I spent 30 years in business. Now I write and edit. But mostly I love. I have a wife and 2 kids and a dog and we live in a little house in central Georgia.

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