Robert Spencer is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
The German-language Austrian publication Kronen Zeitung reported Tuesday that Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz flew to Paris in order to “coordinate ‘on a European level’ with French President Emmanuel Macron on the ‘fight against political Islam.’” This coordination involved a video conference that included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Union Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Angela von der Leyen, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. They all “announced that they would join forces and reform the Schengen rules.” But like so many things, it all sounded great until one started to examine the details.
“More far-reaching measures must be taken so that we can live safely in Europe and defend our way of life,” said Kurz, and who could argue with that? “We are in constant danger,” Kurz added, and pointed out that the European Union was full of “ticking time bombs” that is, thousands of “foreign fighters.” No argument there, either. But what did he and his colleagues propose to do about it?
Initially it looked as if the Euro honchos were on the right track: Macron “suggested implementing measures that have already been planned and decided in the fight against political Islam, or accelerating their implementation.”
These would include not only “against hate propaganda on the Internet and a reform of the Schengen rules,” but also “the linking of common databases so that the security services of the individual states can work better together.” Macron declared: “It takes reforms to enjoy our freedom and security.”
Why yes, Mr. Macron, yes it does. But does Europe have the courage to implement the reforms that would genuinely protect Europeans from further jihad massacres, such as immigration restrictions from jihadi hotspots and strict enforcement of the principle of one law for all, which would be a direct challenge to Sharia enclaves? None of that appeared to be even on the table at this video conference.
The Kronen Zeitung reported some of the Austrian Chancellor’s recommendations: “It is now very important to secure the EU’s external borders and to examine the financing of associations and institutions; Kurz would like to fight above all the ideological basis behind the terror.”
Good: the “ideological basis behind the terror” has for nearly two decades now been ignored, denied, and obfuscated, while those who have dared to point it out have been vilified, demonized, stigmatized, marginalized, and silenced. And German Chancellor Angela Merkel quickly made it clear that this willful ignorance is still very much with us, as she “declared that terrorism is not a conflict between Islam and Christianity. ‘Every form of religious hatred is condemned,’ said Merkel. In doing so, she wants to increasingly rely on a joint approach with Islamic countries.”
Meanwhile, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen “emphasized that one now wants to make the major Internet platforms more responsible. They are now to be obliged to process references to dangerous content within an hour and to delete them as quickly as possible.”
So while Kurz wants to “fight above all the ideological basis behind the terror,” Merkel “declared that terrorism is not a conflict between Islam and Christianity. ‘Every form of religious hatred is condemned.’”
That’s just wonderful, but in saying it, Merkel is making it clear that she is not willing “to fight above all the ideological basis behind the terror.” She is not even willing to admit what that ideological basis is. So will she approve of Europe-wide measures that would actually take on this ideology? Absolutely not.
In light of the undeniable fact that Germany and probably the rest of the European Union will continue to deny and lie to themselves and the world about the ideological basis behind jihad terrorism, Ursula von der Leyen’s statement is nothing more than ominous. Given the European Union’s stance on what constitutes terrorism, the “dangerous content” that she wants quickly removed is much more likely to be “right-wing extremism” than incitement to jihadist violence. But in the long-established usage of the European Union, “right-wing extremism” includes any honest discussion of the “ideological basis behind the terror.” So that is what is most likely to be silenced, and silenced quickly.
Thus the situation is most likely to be that these European leaders started out fighting against “political Islam” and will end up enacting measures that restrict any actual effective defense measures against “political Islam.” These are the amusing little ironies that accompany the death of a once-great civilization.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.