Views of Terrorism in Europe

We are often faced with conservatives justifying dreadful policies, ranging from suppression of civil liberties to the Iraq war, based upon the threat from Islamic extremists. We’ve often seen reports of Muslim terrorists in Europe being used to justify their beliefs, often exaggerating the danger or extrapolating it to situations in the United States which are not analogous. I think that frustration at such writings from the right migh have led Cernig at NewsHoggers to accept an interpretation from the far-left Counterpunch as being a valid account of this Europol report (in pdf form).

The truth is probably somewhere in between what is claimed by the far left and the right. Michael P.F. van der Galiën fills in some of the gaps to show that there is another a real problem. Van der Galiën argues that, “a significant part of the European Left, conveniently ignore the elephant in the room and cherrypick facts to back up their claims that everyone who thinks that Europe has an immigration and integration problem is just making it up.”

I hope that readers note he is referring to the “European Left.” I cannot speak for such Europeans, but this does not reflect the view of many American liberals, who were warning of the problem of terrorism well before the 9/11 attacks, and now object to the manner in which Republcan policies increase this risk. As for liberal American bloggers, this might be a lesson that Counterpunch should be used as a source about as often as we would use Human Events. There are writers on the right who do exaggerate the problem, but there are also writers on the far left who write just as inaccurately based upon their own biases.

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6 Comments

  1. 1
    Cernig says:

    Hi Ron,

    I almost put a caveat in my post. I don’t like linking to Counterpunch and very rarely have, mostly because I find some of it’s biases decidely non “liberal”.

    But I’m a European Lefty (Scot ex-apt in Texas) and damn proud of it. I didn’t take Counterpunch’s word for it but instead looked at the pdf report and decided the Counterpunch writer (another European Lefty) had a point. I also cited another piece, by the BBC on terror arrests vs terror convictions, to justify it.

    We Europeans too were talking about terrorism long before 9/11. After all, we were suffering from it while US donors dropped dollars into collection buckets for the IRA or UDA.

    But to talk about the 25% or so of Muslims who say right now, after 4 years of Iraq, that they would prefer some form of radical Sharia law or support the insurgency in Iraq (or even terror attacks outwiuth Iraq) is to ignore a whole history of European bigotry which has, as much as the loudmouth bigots of Sharia, created the current problem.

    Not to mention that, for anything about immigration quoted by the Telegraph’s Colonel Blimps, it’s always good to check they are quoting accurately. Or maybe look at alternative reports.

    Michael’s a nice guy, if gullible on this issue, but he’s (unintentionally) setting up a strawman here by suggesting I’m ignoring such issues. It was a blog post, not a book – I’m not going to stray too far into related topics.

    But if he wanted he could have searched Newshogger’s archives. He would have found treatments of how a reformation of Islam might come about and be encouraged as well as well as posts on how the islamist extremists and Europe’s undoubted islamobigots must each shoulder their part of the blame for the state of Muslim opinion and action in Europe today.

    Oh…and Mark Steyn may not technically be a nazi, but he’s as close kin as the British National Party are.

    Regards, C

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Cernig,

    I think the truth is somewhere in between the view presented by the Counterpunch interpretation and the conservative view. I didn’t realize you are “European Lefty” and intended to make the point that the view as described by Michael isn’t really representati ve of liberal views. My bet is that if we searched your archives we’d also find a view presented somewhere between the conservative view and the far left Counterpunch view.

    All in all it is worth pointing out a study which shows that things are not as bad as the right claims, although you leave yourself open to Michael’s attack by not tying this report into the big picture. This is a common problem with blog posts. Liberals tend to see the nuances of an issue far more than conservatives and are willing to consider facts which show that the issue isn’t all black or white. Conservatives tend to see things in more extremes and are more likely to simply reject information which doesn’t support their view 100%. A single blog post on a liberal blog does run the risk of giving a misleading impression of the writer’s views if not considered along with other writings on the subject.

  3. 3
    Cernig says:

    Hi Ron,

    Agreed on both your graphs. I am, it must be said, an inveterate “devil’s advocate” and hate to see a simplistic faux-narrative go unchallenged.

    I’ll have more on the subject when I do my reply to Michael’s post, probably in the wee hours of the a.m. I’ll let you know when it’s up.

    Regards, C

  4. 4
    sigmund, carl and alfred says:

    Like Cernig, I’m a European (living in the States).

    Concerning his post,I left the following remarks:

    “Your right. No problem whatsoever.

    There has been no increase in documented antisemitism, cemetery desecrations and vile, racist and bigoted ideologies propagated from Islamic institutions and Arab language media throughout Europe.

    The BBC reports, audio and video, were all contrived.

    Excellent analysis.

    I couldn’t agree more- why let a few facts get in the way?”

    Bernard Lewis may not be everyones’ political cup of tea, but his credibility, earned over a lifetime of monumental work efforts, cannot be easily discounted or simply dismissed by anyone who has a different political agenda when he says that ‘It is 1939 in Europe, all over again.’

    As hard as it is to believe, there are Europeans that find that troubling.

    Even if Lewis is reading the situation incorrectly, it says something that he sees the situation in those terms.

  5. 5
    fisherz says:

    He would have found treatments of how a reformation of Islam might come about

    I’m shocked that someone who considers himself a European liberal could make such a clearly bigoted remark. Who are you to say that an Islamic “reformation” is necessary, or even a desirable thing. Did you ask any of the billion Muslims worldwide whether they think that a European “reformation” is necessary? You might be surprised at their answer.

    Don’t you realize that this just creates an opening for expression of cryptofascist views by Steyn and his ilk? “even liberals acknowledge that Muslim attitudes need to change – hence clearly democratic values are threatened”

    If you are a true multiculturalist, you will own up to the fact that Muslims find blasphemous cartoons just as offensive as we find racists disk jockeys. To achieve global harmony, we have to start clamping down on blasphemy, obscenity, religious freedom, scholarship and journalism that is critical of Islam, ham etc. etc.

  6. 6
    Cernig says:

    Don’t you just love the strawmen, attacking what I didn’t say rather than what I did? I notice Sigmund isn’t keen to mention my reply to his comment.

    That reply post is now up, Ron. The report Michael cited, on examination of the actual report rather than the Telegraph’s version of it, doesn’t quite say what he wants it to. Michael and I come to a sorta-agreement in comments and he’s promised a reply later too.

    Regards, C

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