Islamist terrorism hangs over Europe

COURRIER INTERNATIONAL – DOSSIER
 
Islamist terrorism hangs over Europe
Three men suspected of planning large-scale terrorist attacks have been arrested in Germany. The arrests came shortly after eight terrorist suspects with ties to al-Qaida were arrested in Denmark. Has Islamic terrorism taken on a new dimension in Europe? And is Europe prepared?
 
Die Welt (Germany)
According to Jacques Schuster there can be no doubt that Germany is a target for terrorists who have lived in the country for a long time. “To avoid any misunderstandings: the majority of the Islamic population has nothing in common with the extremists. But one can’t ignore the fact that Muslim radicals tend to chose Europe as the target of their terrorist plans because they can move about freely here and find it easy to recruit. … Therefore it’s imperative to eliminate this freedom for such people. The activities of the secret services and the social pressure that must come from within the Muslim environment can help to weaken the support network of the terrorists. To achieve this, the government must increase the pressure for integration. Even peaceful parallel societies are no longer acceptable.”
 
Politiken (Denmark)
The arrest of a group of suspected terrorists in Denmark demonstrates once more that terrorism is an ideological phenomenon that won’t automatically disappear with improved social and economic integration, the newspaper writes. “So what can be done? The right answer to terrorism is a combination of attack and defence. Attack entails effective police work at the highest professional level in close cooperation with the EU and other partners in the international community. Defence is more complicated: here the main priority is not to give terrorists the victory they are seeking… Only if we let ourselves be intimidated and give in to the terrorists’ ideas of a battle to the death between civilisations, by for example sacrificing the principles of the constitutional state, can they win.”
 
Der Standard (Austria)
Alexandra Föderl-Schmid reports on the lack of coordinated EU strategy for combating international terrorism, using the resignation of Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gijs de Vries in March this year as a case in point. “He resigned out of frustration at the restrictions on his powers. The EU coordinator had no access to information gathered by Europe’s different security authorities. … This is the fundamental problem: the EU states don’t really want close cooperation in this area. The only measure that has been implemented so far is the European arrest warrant. The secret services, in particular, are unwilling to exchange information. It has always like this and is unlikely to be otherwise in the future. Because secret information is information that confers power, and as long as this is the case terrorists will use it to move from country to country and even play nations off against each other.”
 

HVG (Hungary)
According to Imre Keresztes, the al-Qaida terrorist network has undoubtedly been weakened, but its satellite organisations and supporters are more active than ever. “The relentless global battle against al-Qaida, the witchhunt for its leaders and the elimination of its financial sources has dealt a serious blow to the organisation. Six years ago al-Qaida was carrying out terrorist attacks itself, now it has become a form of sect that imparts ideological instruction to its more or less independent satellite organisations. According to security experts, it no longer maintains contact with them through mosques or religious schools but via the Internet.”

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