It’s a familiar pattern in the U.S. and in Europe: within hours of a terrorist attacks by Islamists, the media begins fretting about an impending “backlash” against Muslims. Thus, the Washington Post informs us that “the terrorist violence [in Paris] is fueling fears of a backlash against Muslims, particuarly among France’s community of 5 million, the largest in Europe.”
But what to a liberal is “backlash” may, to a more rational man, be an appropriate response to a wake-up call. And it’s past time for European governments to awaken to the threat posed by the radical Muslim portion of their populations and to respond by taking actions the Muslim population may not like.
I’m not referring to random beatings of Muslim school children or acts of arson against mosques. Muslim leaders in Paris claim that following last week’s terrorism, there were 54 “anti-Muslim attacks” in France (a figure lower, by the way, than the average number of attacks on Jews that occur every month in France). Is the 54 figure accurate? Who knows? But one attack would be too many.
The “backlash” required consists of changes in public policy. Here are some obvious ones:
First, a crackdown on the financing of radical mosques. Second, much tighter border controls to enable the tracking of terrorists (Hayat Boumeddiene, an accomplice in last week’s terrorism, reportedly was able to move, via Madrid, to Turkey and then to Syria). Third, stepped up electronic surveillance of individuals suspected of being involved with terrorists.
But this is just a start. The French government urgently needs to reassert France’s sovereignty. This means taking back control of “no-go” zones — neighborhoods that France no longer polices due to fear of Muslim gangs. These neighborhoods breed radical Islamists against whom the government renders itself powerless by virtue of being absent.
Taking back control of these neighborhoods will require a considerable show of force and, quite possibly, force itself. But it is a key element of the “backlash.”
Finally, immigration policy must be fixed. Immigration should be severely restricted.
Washington Post writers Anthony Faiola and Griff Witte ridicule this notion. They write:
Even though the Islamists who staged last week’s attacks were French-born citizens of African descent, the incident has been seized on by some as a problem stemming from immigration.
But, of course, the problem does stem from immigration. The Islamists descend from Muslim immigrants. Moreover, Islamist terrorism in France is not likely to be confined to French-born citizens. And a continuing tide of Muslim immigration will lead to more “no-go” zones and the lawlessness that accompanies them.
Faiola and Witte express concern that, as part of the backlash they fear, “right-wing” parties will make substantial gains in Europe. Like the rest of the mainstream media, they seem to view these parties as a monolith, which is inaccurate.
In any event, the extent to which “right-wing” parties gain adherents due to Islamist terrorism will likely correspond to the extent that the entrenched ruling parties fail to adjust public policy to deal with the terrorist threat.