Sunday 21 July 2019

'Lone wolves' are groomed by hate preachers

Isil's main aim is to incite a violent reaction against innocent Muslims in Europe, writes Jim Cusack

Muslims put flowers and hold a minute of silence in front of the church if Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, western France, where French priest Jacques Hamel was killed on July 26. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Muslims put flowers and hold a minute of silence in front of the church if Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, western France, where French priest Jacques Hamel was killed on July 26. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Jim Cusack

Figures for interpreter services in the Irish Courts Service show that 7,490 foreign nationals with little or no English appeared in front of a judge last year. On only 118 occasions did the courts need Arabic language assistance. It's an indication of what is already known; that Ireland's Muslim community, possibly 80,000 to 100,000 strong, is probably the most law-abiding section of our population.

The Mandarin-speaking population are equally respectful of the law, with only 251 Chinese interpreters' services retained by the courts. Indeed, many of these cases would undoubtedly have been non-criminal immigration or civil matters. African languages interpretation services are also rarely needed.

About 90pc of the interpreter services are for Eastern European languages, which indicates that our fellow 'white' Europeans are equally inclined to law breaking as the indigenous Irish.

That being said, I personally have experience of how sections of the Sunni Muslim community here support the 'lone-wolf' terrorism that is erupting around Europe.

In the week after the Paris attacks last November, I was called a 'kuffar' by a group of Muslim men at a food shop in Dublin. One of the group of five - it was late and the shop was nearly empty - also decided to make what he thought was a joke about the recently occurred Paris attack which left 130 dead, most of them young people in the Bataclan theatre. He said, in a raised voice: "Yes, it was a tragedy... a tragedy they (the attackers) ran out of bullets."

I was momentarily stunned and moved away. I reported the matter unofficially to gardai, though it didn't seem quite to register as an incitement crime.

Gardai do not generally record racially motivated or hate crime involving speech. There is no other way to explain why the Republic has the lowest reported level of racially motivated crime in the EU.

The term 'kuffar' should be understood better by Westerners. It is taken to mean, in the teachings of the Wahabist Sunni preachers, that all unbelievers must be converted or killed, preferably by having their throats cut.

Wahabist teaching is at the beliefs core of the Muslim Brotherhood and shared by Isil and al-Qaeda. It is also spreading across the Sunni world and the world's biggest Muslim state, Indonesia.

What the incident in the food shop brought back to my mind was the occasional encounters I had with southern IRA supporters during the Troubles. Men who had never heard a shot fired or bomb explode would speak of what a great job 'the Boys' were doing in the North.

The early Provisional IRA shared many of the same characteristics of Isil and al-Qaeda. Hate preachers played a major part in the IRA's foundation, as they have done in the spread of fundamentalism among young Muslims. Priests, including one at my own school, spread the version of Irish Catholicism that preached that 'fighting the British' was a duty during 'occupation' and that it was not a sin to kill in defence of one's people and country. Some priests, like some Muslim clerics, were key recruiters for the IRA.

What Europe is experiencing is the opening onslaught in a campaign that is intended to grow and create international havoc. As with previous terrorism campaigns, the initial police response is lacking and poorly directed. That will change.

Last year, according to figures from the EU policing agency, Europol, police forces on mainland Europe arrested 17 people for suspected 'jihadist' terrorism, 15 in France and two in Denmark. Europol last year flagged the rise in 'right-wing' terrorism in response to the Islamist terrorism long before it became a media theme last week.

The police agency pointed out, in a restricted report sent to member police forces that last year, that there were nine arrests for 'right-wing' terrorism compared with none in 2014.

If that 'right-wing' figure rises very significantly this year then Isil will have achieved one of its main goals. It wants a violent reaction against innocent Muslims. This will lead to greater anger among young militants and more recruits.

The Provisional IRA in its early campaign targeted innocent Protestants and unionists. This caused what was known as the 'Protestant backlash' up to and including the kidnapping and torture murder of entirely innocent Catholics. Lenny Murphy, the west Belfast Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) man, and his gang were cutting Catholic throats long before Isil or Wahabism was heard of.

The only significant difference between the 'Shankill Butcher' UVF gang and Isil is that the internet didn't exist to allow them to broadcast their handiwork.

But, as the IRA was eventually eradicated as the death cult element of Irish nationalism, so Isil will also be eventually eradicated. No European country has so far introduced internment without trial or enacted extra judicial executions, though there may be over-reaction and innocent deaths at the hands of law and order forces.

What is clear is the current phase of Isil action in Europe is to prompt, mainly over the Internet, young Muslims of limited intelligence or mental illness to commit atrocities. Europol reports that one in three lone-wolf attackers has psychiatric issues.

Sunday Independent

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