Reuel Marc Gerecht had an important piece in last week’s Weekly Standard called “Holy War in Euorpe” (I don’t think it’s linkable at this point, if it ever was). Gerecht’s thesis is that al Qaeda is, or soon will be, a Eurocentric organization. This is true because Europe has become a great breeding ground for Islamic terrorists, comparable in Gerecht’s estiminaton to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. This has happened for several reasons. First, “Europe’s jihadists are born from their imperfect assimilation into Western European societies, from the particular alienation that young Muslim males experience in Europe’s post-Christian, devoutly secular societies.” Second, “the jihadists of Europe have drunk deeply from the virulently anti-American left-wing currents of Continental thought and mixed it with the Islamic emotions of 1,400 years of competition with the Christian West.” The result is a special Nietzsche-style Islam “where suicide and murder become sacred acts of an elite, self-made race of believers who want to bring on a purfying Apocalypse.”
This is great news for al-Qaeda because, as Gerecht points out, “the future of al-Qaeda — if [it] is to have a future where killing Americans en masse remains its transcendent raison d’etre — is in Western Europe.” Why? Because Islamic holy-warrior terrorist organizations “need European Muslims who can lawfully obtain Western European passports.” Indeed, 9/11 itself could not have occurred without a European base of operations.
Where will European governments stand with respect to the new Euro-centric al Qaeda? The most likely scenario, Gerecht believes, is that these governments will continue quietly to assist America in its counterterrorists efforts while they publicly distance themselves from the United States and rachet up the pro-Muslim, pro-Arab, and anti-Israel rhetoric. He thinks that France, which has been a “superb” counterterrorist ally, will lead the way, knowing “that even the most dedicated Muslim holy warrior might sometimes have to settle for attacking the second-best” targets, namely French ones.
UPDATE by BIG TRUNK: Readers Dean Benjamin and Malcolm Smordin have kindly forwarded the URL for Gerecht’s article: “Holy war in Europe.” OpinionJournal has made available Fouad Ajami’s companion piece to Gerecht’s: “The Moor’s last laugh: Radical Islam finds a haven in Europe.”
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