Last week, a couple of Belgian television networks received a video with masked Arabs claiming to speak on behalf of al-Qaeda. The men threatened attacks in Belgium if the country does not pull its tiny military contingent from Afghanistan. The video quickly turned out not to come from al-Qaeda but to be a compilation of existing al-Qaeda tapes. It was the work either of people attempting a sick joke or of potentially dangerous amateurs from the local Muslim community trying to mimic the big boys.
The reaction of the Belgian media was telling, however. Rather than exposing the video as a hoax and stating that, if the threats were genuine, the country should not grovel to terrorists, De Standaard, Belgium’s leading allegedly center-right newspaper, opened a public debate about the question whether Belgium should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. Fortunately, the government has not responded affirmatively or Belgium would be the first country to give in to threats from jokers or Muslim kids who seek media attention with an amateur movie made on their pc.
It is to be feared, however, that if there ever is a major terror attack in Belgium the Belgians, whose country hosts the headquarters of both NATO and the EU, will react like the Spaniards did after the 2005 Madrid attacks: by painting their hands white and surrendering.
Sadly, it is not just the Belgians and the Spaniards. Last week’s scenes of horror in Mumbai do not seem to have strengthened the resolve of Europeans to stand up to the criminals. Instead Europeans seem inclined to appease the latter for fear that they might act in Europe.
The European cowardice with respect to Israel is a clear example of this. Most European politicians are afraid of being labeled as “Zionists,” fearing that this will cost them votes. It is almost as bad to be depicted a Zionist as a Nazi. Indeed, in the media, Zionism is almost equated with Nazism.
Another example of this cowardice is the refusal of Europe’s elites to see Muslim terrorism as a fruit of Islamic extremism, let alone of Islamic doctrine. Lawrence Auster calls this the “non-Islam theory of Islamic extremism (NITOIE)” and saw a poignant example of it in last Sunday’s column by Paul Cornish at the BBC website.
According to Dr Cornish, the head of the International Security Programme and Carrington Chair in International Security at Chatham House, the heart of the British security establishment, the Mumbai terrorism has nothing to do with Islam and everything with the deluded actions of young people seeking celebrity.
Mumbai, Dr Cornish explains, should be compared to the American school massacres of Columbine in 1999 and Virginia Tech in 2007. This “celebrity terrorism,” he says, is “possibly something far more disturbing even than global jihad.” When the Mumbai terrorists were singling out Westerners and especially Jews, they were not doing this because they particularly dislike Westerners or Jews, but rather because they were seeking media attention. What they crave for is basically what Paris Hilton and Madonna crave for when they have sex in public. What they long for, according to Dr. Cornish, one of the most senior security advisors of the British military and political elite, is simply that “an obsessive audience will watch your every move and turn you into what you most want to be, just before death”: a media celebrity.
To people like Dr. Cornish it is all the fault of the media and their “obsessive audience”, i.e. of you and me who watched as the events in Mumbai unfolded. Quick, before terrorism closes our eyes, let us close our eyes to terrorism instead! Stop the media from reporting about terrorism, especially Islamic terrorism, and it will no longer be there!
Hon. Alexandra Colen, Ph D, is a Vlaams Belang member of the Belgian Federal Chamber of Representatives. She is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Belgian Parliament and the chairperson of the Advisory Committee for Social Emancipation of the Parliament.
This article was first published at the website of The Hudson Institute New York