Europe’s Islamist insurgency and lessons for NZ on enfeeblement

Guest Post

Journalist and analyst specialising in the Middle East and terror groups, Jonathan Spyer, has said that Western Europe’s failure to stop Islamist terror taking route in its heartland represents ‘a profound failure of Western European political culture and of the continent’s elites’ to ‘grasp the nature of the time in which they are living’.

“The terror attacks in Nice and Wurzburg are the latest manifestations of what should now be seen as a still fairly low-level Islamist insurgency taking place in a number of west European countries. The fact that this insurgency has been allowed to kindle itself and slowly emerge before now bursting forth represents a profound failure of Western European political culture and of the continent’s elites.

This is not merely a matter of poor police or intelligence work. Rather, it is the culmination of a long process of enfeeblement. The Islamist insurgency is a disease attacking an already weakened body which lacks the means to defend itself.”

Yes, Europe is in the midsts of an Islamic insurgency and its elected leaders, tasked with defending the population, are asleep at the wheel. Only the British populace seems to have woken up to the fact that the EU’s open-arms policy is the beginning of the end.

Political Islam, in its many variations, has captured the minds of millions and is now leading to war and state fragmentation in the Middle East. And through the process whereby Mideastern refugees seek to quit the region and enter Europe, these ideas enter Europe, carried by some of the young men making their way behind the walls, like a plague bacillus.

The result is the current insurgency. It is erupting out of parts of the society untouched and undreamt of by the elite.

Is the New Zealand government doing enough to protect its populace and prevent an Islamist insurgency manifesting here? Or are we already too enfeebled, too enamoured with Islam, and incapable of taking the required proactive and almost-no-longer preemptive steps to defend ourselves?

New Zealand has the benefit of distance, but we live in an always-on, interconnected world where our disenfranchised or poorly-integrated can easily and rapidly be self-radicalised in the narcissistic belief that they have been called by allah (or Islamic State).

The horrific and grotesque slaughtering of Rev. Jacques Hamel, 86, and the attempted murder of a nun, by two ISIS sympathisers represents the very latest in the Islamist insurgency in Europe. The church was a known target and, of particular note, one of the terrorists was not only on the French police’s watchlist (having been previously imprisoned), but he was being monitored 24×7 and wearing an ankle bracelet.

President Hollande of France has said that more than 11,000 people are on that country’s “fiche S” list, used to flag radicalised individuals considered a threat to national security.

In New Zealand, the Prime Minister revealed, in November 2014, that around 80 people were on the watch-list of our government agencies. Two men were recently sentenced for possession and distribution of Islamic State material and were presumably on the list. However, as the French experience tells us, monitoring is not always effective. We obviously do not know how many extremists are in New Zealand and not on the list. That begs the questions of what action our state agencies are taking to prevent or mitigate any Islamist attack here.

Dr Bridgette Sullivan-Taylor has highlighted the risks faced by soft targets in New Zealand and called for greater security cooperation between business and local and national security. This makes sense. All of us are responsible for security and we don’t need to look too far for lessons in combatting Islamist terror.

As Pulitzer Prize-winning international affairs writer Bret Stephens says in the Wall Street Journal:

“Europeans will no doubt look to Israel for tactical tips in the battle against terrorism—crowd management techniques and so on—but what they really need to learn from the Jewish state is the moral lesson. Namely, that identity can be a great preserver of liberty, and that free societies cannot survive through progressive accommodations to barbarians.”

New Zealand should take note of what is happening in Israel, in Europe and in many other parts of the world (including Sydney). Let’s be forewarned, not enfeebled.

Here are four recommendations for the New Zealand government:

  1. Take strong, decisive action and act now to route out, expel or imprison those with Islamist sympathies
  2. Make Islamist incitement illegal
  3. Work in partnership with business to identify, prioritise and secure sites considered to be soft targets
  4. Focus on ensuring proper integration (not assimilation) of immigrants to New Zealand. Help them join New Zealand civil society while maintaining their culture.


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