On the wake of the January 7th 2015 , France and the entire planet were shocked with a vile terrorist attack on the French Satire Publication Charlie Hebdo which resulted in the Killing 4 of its staff members and 8 others including Police officers while injuring 11 others. The attack is the most ferocious terrorist attack on French soil. This attack was followed by a hostage situation on Friday 9th that resulted in the killing of three of the suspected terrorists who executed the attack and 5 innocent hostages in a Jewish Kosher supermarket.
On November 20th 2014, Terrorist group ISIL released a video on their Media Network Al Hayat of some French men who joined ISIL calling for attacks inside France as a result of the French state air strikes against their terrorist troops in Iraq. The militants were shown to burn their native French passports and called upon other French Muslims who are still in France to take arms against the French state. While Charlie Hebdo magazine was not directly targeted by ISIL in this video, it has been on the hit list of all terrorist organization. Accordingly, it would have been quite logical that the French publication to receive a tighter security measures than it had during the terrorist attack.
However, the few who were anxious to join the ISIL fighters in Syria and never been able to travel could still react to such calls for violence and murder. Such is the dilemma facing the French government and society. A dilemma that will be resolved only after identifying the enemy who happen to be the Islamist radicals among the Muslim Community in France.
Regardless whether the terrorists are affiliated with Al Qaeda (as they claimed the attack in a statement), ISIL or a “lone-wolf”, the outcome produced is very much the same in the form of mindless killings of the civilians committed by the likes of ISIL , Al Qaeda or Muslim Brotherhood terrorist groups. The presence of terrorists in France is also another natural outcome of the lax laws that protected Islamist groups in the country and equated them as being regular Muslims. For a country with the size, culture and importance of France this represents a ditch that French politics and politicians dug for themselves.
It remains to be mentioned that the overwhelming majority of the 7 Million French Muslims are French patriots and law abiding citizens would disregard such mad calls for terrorism. As a matter of fact one of the actual policemen who were killed was a Muslim police officer Ahmed Merabet who died confronting the terrorists and to protect the staff of Charlie Hebdo.
The French nation is paying the price of political blunders that led France to overlook the rampant expansion of Salafist and Islamist radical ideologies among Muslims in France. At the same time, France was the biggest contributor to the fighters of ISIL in Syria and Iraq. According to the French Ministry of Interior, over 1000 French Citizens joined ISIL constituting the highest number of fighters from any nationality. That fact was ignored by the very French authorities who declared them. For several years, French authorities overlooked the involvement of some of their Muslim citizens joining the call for Jihad in Syria against Syrian regime led by Assad which reflect a great degree of shortsightedness.
France joins a list of countries who were hit by terrorists attack on the hands of their own citizens returning from conflicts abroad after joining a presumed religious call for arms. That list includes Egypt, Pakistan, Algeria, Saudi Arabia , United Kingdom, France , etc..
The French case is a case of Déjà vu that resembles the era when the Arab Mujahdeen who joined the Afghani ones in their fight against the USSR and repelled the soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The trouble took place when these battles hardened fighters returned home with the skills gained during years of combat against the Russian. They either stayed in Afghanistan and helped to establish what was later known as Al Qaeda or returned to their homelands like in Egypt and Algeria only to organize their own cells in an effort to overtake the regimes and establish their fabled Caliphate. The terrorists often realize too late at their ambitions are impossible to attain especially with deeply rooted countries like Egypt , however that never hindered terrorists from attempting again.
France is now facing a similar scenario to what the Egypt had post the Afghanistan war and still facing with the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist cells in Egypt. The problem remains that an incredibly large percentage of the Mosques in France, Germany, United Kingdom and many other European countries are affiliated or controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood organization. That makes the challenge of the French government as hard as the Egyptian one if not harder.
The major issue remains that the French authorities like most European counterparts treated Muslim Brotherhood as “Moderate” Muslims and they willingly bought the propaganda that the brotherhood publicized of being the righteous Muslims who can be an ally in fighting other extremists like Al Qaeda and ISIS. Slowly governments in Europe overlooked the fact the Muslim Brotherhood is the mother of all these terrorists groups and represent their organization core. The rude awakening by the January 7th horrifying terrorist attacks will likely to alter the perception of the French government about the Islamists activities especially that of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, it is yet to be seen how far the current leftist French government in France is willing to go in its war on terrorism and how it will counter the hideous propaganda of the far right extremists parties and groups demanding the exile of all immigrants and foreigners from France.
On the other hand, Muslims in France and all over the world still have to live up to their responsibility and take necessary steps for condemning terrorism and paving the way for proper reformation. There is no shame in reforming the concepts of what is inherited from generation to generation as being part of religion when in fact it has nothing to do with the original faith. In a highly overlooked speech by western media, Egyptian President Al Sisi addressed the leaders and clerics Muslim highest religious institute Al Azhar on January 2015 and held them responsible to initiate a total religious revolution in the Islamic world. This reform revolution is the key towards a modern understanding of Islam and in order to purify the faith from all forms of extremism that has been attached to it through the years.
Islamophobia does exist like any other form of prejudice based on creed, race or ethnicity in all societies. Nevertheless, using Islamophobia to justify the lack of an adequate and proper response from Muslim leaders and clerics all over the world is shameful in itself. It actually brands Muslims at best as being complacent towards these terrorists and their attacks and worse being mistakenly branded themselves as terrorists by bigots and extremist right wing groups who fuel their arguments when these attacks take place. Reformation of the faith and cleansing it from what got attached to it throughout 1400 years is the most honorable of all deeds that can be attained by Muslims at this day and age.
The western leaders are urged to comprehend that the ancient region of the Middle East has its own unique identity and will take time to reform. Attempting to push further political agendas and supporting radical factions like the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists in this region will not expedite the process of eradicating dictatorships and political hegemony of the majority. On the contrary time has proven without a shred of doubt that these Islamist groups will only further destabilize the already most unstable region in the world.
Moreover, the western media ought to revise their editorial policies of labeling anyone who is fighting a hostile regime with the term “Freedom Fighter” The term “Freedom Fighter” has been used excessively post the Arab Spring revolutions to the extent that it lost its definition and meaning. All those who fight the ruthless dictator Assad whether they are AL Qaeda or ISIS terrorists fell into the category of Freedom Fighters for at least 3 years. It is an unwarranted title that were given to some killers by western media to justify the endless media, financial and military support to the Anti-Assad’s regime.
That romantic description of the militants and terrorists in Syria changed only when the obscene videos surfaced on the internet depicting the so called “Freedom Fighters” playing football with the severed heads of their opponents, followed by videos of Mass killings of their opponents along with for the women of the Yazidis being sold in newly established slave markets in Iraq. Yet the epitome actually took place when they started to decapitate American and British aid workers and journalists live on camera. After these incidents the whole world witnessed the true colors of a significant number of the Syrian armed opposition.
Accordingly, the world need to establish the fact that fighting wars directly or indirectly to change tyrannical regimes is the most destructive of all tactics and ends up killing more innocents than saving actual lives. The terrible blunders of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria have proven that theory without a shred of doubt. These interventionist policies, did not only jeopardize the lives of the citizens of Middle Eastern countries but their European counterparts as well by moving the battlefield of the war on terrorism from the central Asia on the rugged mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the Middle East and on the borders of Europe. Thus, Europe is more prone now than ever for attacks by trained militants returning from the wars in Libya , Syria, Iraq, Yemen , etc. than time in recent history. The fact remain that as long as groups like Muslim Brotherhood or CAIR receiving a heroes treatment in Western Countries , the same countries will remain prone to such attacks. Muslim Brotherhood is listed on the terror list of the country that it originated from which is Egypt along with Russia, Saudi Arabia , United Arab Emirates, etc.. It is not logical or even fathomable that they would receive a special treatment as if they are some oppressed ethnicity or race.
The war on terrorism is a war for freedom and liberty, accordingly oppression fighters such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi Jihadists will never be considered as partners but as its main targets. They will never bring freedom to anyone even if they are fighting a dictator in Syria or elsewhere. France along with other civilized nations are under attack by the most bloodthirsty of enemies, which has no sanctity of human dignity or life. This enemy must be defeated by all means necessary for this world to survive. Civil wars tend to divide nations but a terrorist attack usually unite a nation, it happened in the United States , Egypt and United Kingdom and it will happen to France. The massive Sunday 11th rallies all over France against terrorism in solidarity of the Charlie Hebdo and other victims of terrorism is a clear testament of the unity of the French nation.