Brits have been struggling to figure out how their government dropped the ball and failed to prevent the Manchester suicide bombing when the attacker was already on their radar, but what many people are overlooking is the “politically incorrect” fact that it should have been obvious from the first day that the bomber’s family set foot in the UK that they’d end up being trouble. Lost amidst the flurry of media reports about this tragic incident is that the attacker’s family arrived on British soil as Libyan “refugees” decades before the 2011 NATO war devastated their country. It’s rather peculiar that they’d seek “refuge” from Libya because the Jamahiriya had the highest living standards in all of Africa during the time that they “fled” and hadn’t fought a conflict within its borders since World War II.
This means that his family didn’t leave because of any desperate material or military conditions, but because of socio-political ones which they disagreed with, namely that Libya was a secular socialist state that forbade Salafism. To bring the reader up to speed in case they’re not already aware, Salafism (colloquially called “Islamism” by many Westerners) is the school of thought which preaches that Muslims must live by an ultra-conservative interpretation of the Quran. Not only must they abide by strict socio-cultural and political standards, but Salafists also believe that it is their God-given duty to proselytize their way of life all across the world, even in the foreign civilizations which host them as migrants. This is the mindset of the bomber’s family, and true to kind, they raised their son the same way. The Manchester suicide bomber wasn’t radicalized on the internet or by Wahhabi imams, he was indoctrinated by his family since birth.
Liberal Double Standards
An individual’s religious beliefs are a personal affair, just like what a migrant does in their homeland, but when permanently relocating to and living in a totally different society than what they’re used to, people should abide by the socio-cultural standards of their hosts. Salafists, for example, should keep to themselves and respect that Westerners don’t want them to enforce civilizationally dissimilar practices onto the locals, as doing so will only prompt socio-cultural strife within the country which will inevitably lead to political tensions. This should all be common sense for everyone, but it’s unfortunately not followed by Salafist migrants because Western governments refuse to dissuade them from their public practices.
In line with the precepts of “multiculturalism”, the reason for this can be attributed to one of the many liberal double standards which have been employed the West for years, whereby foreigners (whether legal or illegal) are granted the freedom of religion to practice their beliefs however they see fit (especially if it’s Islam), but locals practicing traditional religions such as Christianity are pressured to respect everyone else’s freedom from religion in keeping the external display of their faith (ex: crosses) out of public sight. This particular double standard leads to a dysfunctional society which is either destined for full-scale Salafism or serious civil conflict, the latter scenario of which can only arise if the locals aren’t successfully guilt-tripped into thinking that any peaceful resistance against the imposition of foreign socio-cultural practices is “racist”, “fascist”, or “white supremacist”.
The state of affairs described above is very dangerous and the cause for heated debate within Western society right now, but a devil’s advocate would say that the said governments had no way to test the religious zeal of the Muslim migrants that they were allowing into their countries, which is factually true no matter if certain indicators could have obviously suggested the true level of their personal convictions. Therefore, as some leftist-liberal critics claim, it’s not fair to fault Western governments for who they let into their countries because they “might not have known any better”, and if anything, there’s nothing wrong – they say – with the large-scale influx of foreigners who refuse to assimilate and integrate into the host society. After all, Western society is all about “freedom”, so everyone’s “free” to do as they want, right?
Well, not necessarily, but that’s a different discussion for a different day.
The Hybrid War Weaponization Of Salafist “Refugees”
This article deals with those individuals who were without a doubt Salafists by virtue of them “fleeing” from secular and socialist Arab states in order to apply for “political/religious refugee” status in Western countries, the governments of which have no excuse in pretending that they didn’t know the level of these migrants’ religious zeal. I’m not inferring that all Salafists, Salafist migrants, or Salafist “political/religious refugees” from secular and socialist Arab states are terrorists, but just that the primary terrorist threat afflicting Western countries nowadays comes from people who fit one of these three descriptions. The irony, then, is that Western governments knowingly allowed these Salafists to come to their societies in the first place, especially in the case of “political/religious refugees” from secular and socialist Arab states, but there’s a cynical reason behind the short-sighted strategy leading to their civilizational demise apart from the “multicultural” explanation.
Salafists are the natural enemy of secularists, and this therefore makes them a strategic weapon to be wielded by the geopolitical opponents of former Libyan leader Gaddafi and Syrian President Assad, for example, both of whom were (and in the case of the latter, still are) opposed to the West. There is no greater structural threat to a secular Muslim-majority country than Salafists, which is why the West welcomed those “fleeing” from the “political and religious repression” in their homelands in order to weaponize them for future Hybrid War use. The Salafists couldn’t proselytize their interpretation of Islam inside of Libya or Syria because those governments didn’t tolerate even the slightest expression of it, though the liberal West had no such compunctions about their lifestyle owing to the double standard associated with granting foreigners (especially Muslim ones) the freedom of religion while hypocritically enforcing the locals’ freedom from religion when it comes to displays of their traditional Christian faith.
Libyan and other Salafist “political/religious refugees” quickly became even more comfortable in their new homes than in their old homelands because Western governments actually encouraged them to practice their strict lifestyle and proselytize as much as they wanted, though some of these people still longed to transform their countries of origin into the “Salafist paradise” that they constructed in what usually turned out to be Western ghettos. Remember, these people left their homelands precisely because they couldn’t set up a Salafist emirate there, and they know that there are certain limits to what they can do in expanding their “religious paradise” out of the ghetto and throughout the rest of their new country before they encounter heavy opposition. Therefore, it’s their dream to return back to Libya or wherever else they came from and overthrow their “dictators” so that everyone else can be “freed” from the “evils of secularism” and have a chance to finally build the Salafist state which the “pro-democracy fighters” always fantasized about.
Naturally, this aligns with Western geopolitical objectives, which is why these ideological individuals were allowed into their societies to begin with.
Turning A Blind Eye Always Backfires
It’s important at this point to understand that all Western governments could have stopped the Salafization of their Muslim ghettos but intentionally decided against it, though not all of them declined solely because they were scared of transgressing some sort of unstated but “sacred” liberal belief in permitting civilizationally dissimilar newcomers to aggressively practice their freedom of religion at the locals’ expense. Some, like the US and especially the UK, allowed this process to continue unabated because it was thought to provide valuable administrative training for the “political/religious refugees” who they planned to recruit as Hybrid War vanguards. These fighters would one day run their own nationwide caliphates, it was believed, so the experience in doing so on a smaller level inside of their Western neighborhoods could come in handy for the “victors” sometime in the future, as well as potentially ensure that they remain friendly to their former Western patrons who gave them the “freedom” to build a prototype of their desired society after they first “fled” from their homelands.
This also explains why so many terrorists nowadays were known to Western intelligence before they “went rogue” and attacked their handlers instead of their intended targets abroad. Take the Manchester suicide bomber, for example. His family reportedly returned back to Libya after the brutal public assassination of Gaddafi, ostensibly to take the Salafist administrative lessons that they perfected in their British neighborhood back to their original Libyan one in helping to build the “paradise” that they and their co-ideologists so desired. The attacker, however, stayed behind in Britain and eventually turned against his family’s one-time host and the land of his birth. It’s not unexpected that this would happen, which is why the article previously described the strategy of intentionally accepting Salafist “political/religious refugees” from secular and socialist Arab states as short-sighted. As President Assad wisely warned, “terrorists cannot be used as a political card, you cannot put it in your pocket, because it’s like a scorpion; it will bite you someday.”
Britain tragically found that out the hard way earlier this week.
The policy of actively encouraging Salafist immigration to the West backfired in another way aside from the expected terrorist blowback that’s been incurred, since it also contributed to the rise of Islamophobia among a broad segment of the native population. Many Westerners don’t have an objective understanding of what Islam is because their perception of the religion is distorted by the Salafist newcomers who came to their country across the past couple of decades. This shouldn’t be taken to mean that Salafists are the majority of Muslims, most Mideast-originating immigrants, or the bulk of Muslims living in the West for generations, but just that this particular group’s obnoxious public proselytizing disproportionately inflated their presence in the Western consciousness and led people to wrongly conflate them and their practices with all Muslims.
The average Muslim woman doesn’t necessarily wear a niqab, burka, or hijab, just as not all Muslim men have long beards and wear robes, though many Westerners probably wouldn’t believe this because the experience that they have within their own countries testifies to the opposite, or so they believe because of their perception (whether real, inaccurate, or manipulated). It’s doubtful that Westerners seriously care about whatever thoughts a stranger has in their head or holds in their heart, but they don’t want others acting on them in a way which disrupts the social standard that they’ve become accustomed to. Dressing in an Islamic style is the personal choice of an individual and doesn’t automatically make anyone a Salafist, though it’s reasonable that host countries should have the sovereign right to regulate this for legitimate security reasons if they so choose (e.g. making women take off the niqab for their ID pictures). What’s not acceptable to the vast majority of people, however, is an aggressive minority of a minority (the Salafists within the Muslim community) enforcing their religious culture on the local majority and intimidating them.
Sharing The Blame
Unfortunately, the Salafists are largely responsible for why ordinary Westerns might hold a suspicious view about Muslims. That’s not at all to excuse those who are genuine Islamophobes and harbor nothing but fascist hatred for all Muslims, but to explain that the public and media aura which has been built around Western-based Salafists has created the perception – whether intentional or not, though nonetheless totally inaccurate – that all Muslims are cut from this same ideological cloth, and therefore a pressing security threat in the sense that they might resort to violence or even terrorism to enforce their strict socio-cultural standards on the majority non-Muslim population. It doesn’t matter if these Muslims are citizens born in a Western country or recent arrivals from overseas, what disturbs the masses and feeds into actual Islamophobia is that Salafist standards have become commonplace in some Muslim communities, and their co-confessionals aren’t doing enough to keep the aggressive proselytizers at bay.
Ultimately, however, the blame needs to be broadened from passive believers who turn a blind eye to the more radical elements of their communities and to the “multicultural”-brainwashed host governments themselves that actively recruited Salafist “political/religious refugees” from secular and socialist Arab states with the partial intent of one day dispatching them back to their homelands as Hybrid War weapons. It’s not a coincidence that it almost always turns out to be the case that Western intelligence knew about a terrorist before they “went rogue” and carried out an attack in Europe or North America, since these very same agencies usually worked with those individuals at one time or another, whether while training them in “freedom fighter” militancy or receiving briefings from them when they either (re)entered the country or informed on their co-confessionalists. It’s not suggested that the “deep state” tasked each and every one of them with carrying out their eventual attacks as false flags, but just that the permanent bureaucracy can’t control all of the Salafists within their country and lost track of monitoring the most dangerous ones as closely as they should have.
The unfortunate outcome of this decades-long failed policy is Salafist terrorism and Islamophobia, two evils which feed off of one another and further the “Clash of Civilizations” narrative within Western society. The public prominence of Salafists adds fuel to the Islamophobes’ exploitation of the populist zeitgeist favoring state sovereignty and a return to border-immigration controls within the EU, redirecting it towards actual hate speech and sabotaging its noble political goals. Relatedly, the Salafists exploit these minority viewpoints to paint all non-Muslims opposed to open borders and unregulated immigration as “racists”, “fascists”, “white supremacists”, and “Islamophobes”, which riles up the otherwise peaceful non-Salafist Muslim community. All in all, extremists from both the Muslim and non-Muslim camps try to hijack control of their respective communities’ narrative in order to militarize them against the other, thereby contributing to the self-perpetuating cycle of violence that’s broken out within Western society as of late.
Is There A Solution?
It’s difficult to prescribe the perfect solution for dealing with these interconnected problems because of how far they’ve already progressed, and there’s not much that the guilty governments can do in making up for the damage that their decades-long policies have wrought in instigating the “Clash of Civilizations” which is wreaking so much havoc within their societies. No peaceful minority group should ever be discriminated against or made to feel uncomfortable, but nor should any peaceful member of the majority either. Salafists shouldn’t infringe on the rights of their majority non-Muslim hosts, just as the latter shouldn’t take out their Salafist-inspired stress on regular Muslims.
Ideally, the most effective and sustainable way to deal with the existing tension which has built up over the years is for the state to promulgate and enforce legislation mandating strict anti-Salafist migration controls and ending the policy of offering “political/religious asylum” to those “fleeing” from the remaining secular Arab states of Algeria, Egypt, and Syria. The state also needs to crack down on Salafist hate speech, including within mosques. Just as equally, however, the government needs to keep an eye on the rising fascist sentiment within society and make moves to mitigate its growth and counteract its hateful narratives. However, this shouldn’t be abused to suppress pro-sovereignty populism and the peaceful expression of free speech.
Controlling fascism is just as important as controlling Salafism because each contributes to the spread of the other and foments a larger conflict which inevitably harms many more innocent people than it does any of its culprits. It’s naïve to pin all of one’s hope in the state, however, since time and again this has proven to be misplaced. Western governments either ignore both of these problems or selectively target troublemakers from each camp and never deal with the real underlying issues at hand, so the most realistic solution to the rising Salafism in the Western Muslim community and the reactionary trend of outright fascist Islamophobia in its populist counterpart is for both of their core constituencies to band together in “policing their own” and purging the ideological riffraff from their ranks.
Even so, it will probably still take a generation or two to successfully remove these destructive strains of thought from their communities, though the recent rise of reactionary fascism will probably be comparatively easier to contain than its primary trigger cause of Salafism, which has been strengthened over the decades and ironically aided by the very same host governments that are now threatened by it. If there’s a lesson to be learned from the Manchester suicide bombing, then it’s that the pro-Salafist immigration and “refugee” policies practiced by Western governments for years have utterly failed in their stated “multiculturalist” goals and clandestine Hybrid War ones, and that the resultant change of perception that many locals now have about the Muslim community at large is feeding into the rise of fascism and the literal “Clash of Civilizations” that’s unfolding across Europe.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.