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Some thoughts on the Age of Jihad in Europe

The Hunkpapa Lakota holy man Sitting Bull once said, “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.”   Today we could paraphrase that and say, “Let us put our minds together and see how we can prevent our children being slaughtered by jihadis.”

My parents generation had to fight the Nazis. It fell to them to fight fascism and to endure a horrendous war which threatened to crush everything; all hope, all joy, and all freedoms.

It falls upon the current and it would seem the next generation to live in the Age of Jihad and deal with all the threats and events it imposes upon them.

The assumption is that the vast majority of people want to prevent further acts of violence, to protect the vulnerable, and to live in an atmosphere of peace, cooperation, and mutual respect.

Here’s a little brainstorm about the current situation in Europe.  I’ve tried to keep it factual but some opinions have crept in there too.  It’s not just about jihadis and islamism, it’s about mass migration too because the two things are intertwined.  You can’t discuss one without soon including the other.

  1. Lack of border control means that inadequate checks are carried out on people arriving into Europe. The terrorists and criminals mingle freely with the innocent.
  2. Lack of checks and intelligence combined with the criminality of those who play the system means that the difference between a war refugee, asylum seeker, and migrant is often blurred.
  3. Germany appears to have become so sensitive to its recent past that many precautions and security practices that might help track terrorists or provide evidence of their actions are not implemented for fear of intruding on the privacy of its citizens. (It seems that may be about to change).
  4. Homegrown terrorists are radicalised by clerics and other mentors who live freely and unchallenged among us. Some are even invited to speak at our universities.
  5. Any non native person convicted of a violent act is rarely deported after serving his sentence, leaving them free to continue to exploit the system and commit further acts of terror or criminality.
  6. Convicted criminals and terrorists are free to move about in Europe at will thanks to open border agreements within the Schengen Area.
  7. Freedom of movement allows UK and European citizens to travel to Syria to join the jihad and return into the ranks of those also trained and radicalised.
  8. The security services do not have the resources to monitor all of them and have to prioritise their efforts based on whatever intelligence they can gather.
  9. Sometimes, as in the case of the Berlin attack, they stop watching someone who then goes on to carry out an atrocity.
  10. Sectarianism and factionalism within Islam fuels violence. Peaceful Muslim sects like the Ahmadiyya are persecuted by others who regard them as heretics*.
  11. When Ahmadiyya Muslims show sympathy and support after islamist atrocities the mainstream media reports on them as if they represent all Muslims.
  12. Rival factions within the religion have been engaged in a vicious cycle of violence for millennia.
  13. There is widespread ignorance of this same sectarianism and factionalism within the press, media, and public.
  14. With continued mass migrations into Europe this violent factionalism is imported along with other cultural practices that are at odds with liberal western democracies.
  15. Antisemitism has increased greatly in Europe in recent years. For many Jews life has become intolerable in some European cities and they have emigrated.
  16. Segregation rather than integration is on the increase in many European cities, with large areas devoid of any sign of multiculturalism.
  17. The mainstream media and left wing pressure groups are more concerned with the reaction to acts of terrorism than the atrocities themselves.
  18. Worries about a rise in islamophobia are stronger than their concerns about the spread of islamism and violent jihad. There is almost a ‘we had it coming‘ attitude.
  19. Voters are turning to right wing politicians for answers since the excessive liberalism of the centre and left seems to be not only ineffectual but the actual cause of the current problems.
  20. Requests for stronger immigration controls are dismissed as racism and xenophobia and are quickly followed by another lecture on the benefits of immigration.
  21. Requests for stronger immigration controls are seen as a condemnation of immigration itself rather than limiting it to sustainable levels.
  22. Anyone, particularly politicians, who dares to point at the connection between mass immigration and the rise of islamism in Europe is dismissed as islamophobic.
  23. Warnings from reformed radicals who know the islamist mindset only too well are often ignored.
  24. Muslim reformers, converts to Christianity, and apostates are subjected to harassment and campaigns of violence on the grounds that they are blasphemers and heretics.
  25. The Police are quick to respond to reports of alleged hate crime but not so keen when the alleged perpetrators are themselves from an ethnic minority due to fears about cultural sensitivities and of being regarded as racist.
  26. Political Correctness has caused real and significant damage, pain, and distress by preventing the Police, Social Services, and other authorities from investigating numerous crimes recurring over many years.
  27. Neither left nor right can claim to occupy the moral high ground.  Extremism and intolerance exist at either end of the political spectrum.
  28. Lack of opportunity and socio-economic factors don’t radicalise people.  Some terrorists are educated and employed.

*Examples:

  • Ahmadiyya Muslim shopkeeper from Glasgow Asad Shah murdered by Sunni Muslim from Bradford Tanveer Ahmed (stabbed in the head multiple times in ferocious and prolonged attack because he ‘disrespected’ Islam)
  • Mohammed Hussain Syeedy from Rochdale murdered Imam from Rochdale called Jalal Uddin (head smashed in with multiple blows) because he disagreed with his theological ideas.

Suggestions

  1. The media needs to make a strong effort to distinguish between Sunni/Shia/Salafi/Wahabi and other forms of Islam like Ahmadiyya or Sufi.
  2. This pandering to political correctness must end as soon as possible.  We need to have frank and open discussions without resorting to labeling people and dismissing their concerns and viewpoints simply because we don’t agree with them.
  3. Everyone is responsible for their own reactions.  If you’re offended then it’s your choice to be so.  It doesn’t make you right and your human rights have not been violated.
  4. Security is everyone’s responsibility and we should all be vigilant to potential threats.  We have a duty to report suspicious activity to the relevant authorities.
  5. Governments should pay more heed to those who understand the islamist mindset and give less attention to associations to those who are thinly disguised fronts for extremist viewpoints.

That’s it for the moment.  What are your suggestions?  What’s your analysis and how do you think we can prevent more people from being bombed, stabbed, shot, run over, assaulted, and otherwise hurt?

Integration and Segregation. What tribe are you?

Depending on the context, tribes and tribalism are sometimes something to be celebrated and at other times regarded as primitive and inferior.

Sometimes when I can’t get to sleep I don’t count sheep but instead I go through an alphabetical list of Native American tribes.  It usually starts well; Apache, Arapaho, Apsaroke, Assininboine…I falter on the B’s; Brulé Sioux…but the C’s are quite easy; Creek, Cree, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cheyenne, Cherokee, Comanche, and Crow (though that’s cheating a bit because the Crow are the Apsaroke).

I’m usually asleep long before I get to zzzzzz…Zuni

Several decades ago I read a couple of dozen books about Native Americans:

*Forrest Carter also wrote The Outlaw Josey Wales which was made into a successful film starring Clint Eastwood and Chief Dan George.

A small charity based in Leeds called The Onaway Trust acted as a focal point for those of us concerned with the plight of modern day Native Americans and when the pay packet allowed I would send off a small cheque.

In return they supplied journals containing articles about the continuing struggles most notably the (at the time) recent armed siege at Wounded Knee in 1973.  From these we learned about the American Indian Movement (AIM) and of people like Dennis Banks and Russell Means.

In about 1980 Russell Means came over to the UK to give a few talks to small audiences at universities and colleges and I jumped at the chance to attend.  He was accompanied by Floyd Red Crow Westerman who opened the proceedings by singing some songs. After the interval we listened in respectful silence while Means gave his talk on the ongoing struggles of Native Americans in a world of injustice and hostility.

We have reservations about our reservations

Recently the world has witnessed how the many Native American tribes and others have gathered together on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in a way not see for generations to protest the threat to clean water and the encroachment on ancient tribal lands of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

With a hugely impressive display of dignity, forbearance, and non-violent protest in the face of extreme provocation (tear gas, dogs, rubber bullets, water canon, tasers) they appear to have been successful in halting the progress of the black snake.

The pride felt by these people for their cultural identity is self evident.  At the same time Europeans think less of tribalism and more about a homogeneous whole: a multicultural, border-less utopia in which diversity is celebrated and everyone is equal (but not the same).

European Tribes

Come with me to the winged isle
Northern father’s western child
Where the dance of ages is playing still
Through far marches of acres wild

~ Jethro Tull

European tribes have been confined to the controlled spaces of folklore and historical study lest they stir up feelings of patriotism and (horror of horrors) national pride.  Reveal your interest in Norse gods outside academia and sport a tribal tattoo and you’re likely to be viewed with some suspicion as some kind of racial supremacist.

We’ve learned to mock or even fear our own heritage.  King Arthur didn’t exist!  St.George was Turk! Faery Lore is dangerous!  How sophisticated we have become in our modern multicultural mish-mash.

We love to learn about other tribes and agree to respect their culture and traditions, but we’re less celebratory and even a bit embarrassed about our own ancestry and tribal heritage.

According to many the Europeans screwed up the world and created all the problems inherited by the current generations.  When it’s pointed out that our ancestors behaved arguably much better and certainly no worse than many other civilizations past and present these simple facts falls on deaf ears.  One should never let the facts of history interfere with the current trend for hand-wringing apologies.

It’s all in your genes

If you’re a white Briton the likelihood is that your DNA contains a combination of Western European, Scandinavian, Ancient Briton, and Mediterranean, with traces from further like the Near East or North Africa.  We know this because DNA testing proves what the history books have taught us about successive invasions and migrations.

The blood of the British contains elements inherited from over twenty different tribes, Celts, Romans, Vikings, Jutes, Angles, Saxons, and Normans etc as well as any slaves and camp followers that came with them.

It’s all there in your DNA, like a dormant software program ready to be brought to life with the right combination of circumstances, or perhaps it will remain asleep and you’ll simply pass on the heritage to your children.

How did it get there?  

Whether it was military invasion or waves of migration the melting pot of DNA was created through procreation.

Integration came about through intermingling and intermarriage.

Our ancestors got along (eventually) because they got it on with each other.

Integration versus Segregation

So when we consider that in 2005 Trevor Phillips warned that the UK was sleepwalking into segregation and that the recently published Casey Review confirms that segregation is now at ‘worrying levels’ it raises all kinds of questions that as yet have no answers.

For integration to occur people have to relax, keep and open mind, and respect differences but if your culture suggests that you are superior to others then that will never happen.

You will continue to see yourself as better than them.  You are highly unlikely to celebrate your son’s betrothal to an outsider or to marry off your daughters to someone of a difference culture and religion.  Your cultural beliefs may prohibit same sex relationships and condemn all kinds of lifestyles that are accepted within other tribes.

For some generations to come Europe will continue to be divided along cultural and tribal lines.  We are long way off from being fully integrated.  The only way to make any progress towards integration (assuming that is the goal and not everyone agrees that it is the desirable outcome) is to drop the orthodoxy and conservatism that isolates one tribe from all others.

Tribes and cultures that have a live and let live attitude with a little intermingling and marriage at the edges are the best hope for Europe.

Can we talk of integration until there is integration of hearts and minds? Unless you have this, you only have a physical presence, and the walls between us are as high as the mountain range.

~ Chief Dan George