Three days before Christmas, one unsuspecting holiday shopper was killed and nine others wounded when a van plowed through a crowded market in Nantes, located in western France. The attack came a day after a man, shouting “Allahu Akbar,” rammed his car into crowds in the eastern city of Dijon, wounding 13 people; this, some 24 hours after an assailant stabbed and wounded three police officers in Joueles- Tours, central France, likewise while yelling “God is the greatest” in Arabic.
A day after the Dijon attack, which the perpetrator dedicated to the children of “Palestine,” France’s interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, called on the public “to not draw hasty conclusions since... [the driver’s] motives have not been established.” Nevertheless, and despite the fact that “the investigation had barely begun,” Dijon’s public prosecutor, Marie-Christine Tarrare, made clear that the incident was “not a terrorist act at all.”
It took the third attack before French Prime Minister Manuel Valls came closest to accepting reality, conceding that, “there is, as you know, a terrorist threat to France.”
Leaving aside the virtually unreported incidents that same week of the drive-by-shootings in Paris targeting the David Ben Ichay Synagogue, the Al Haeche kosher restaurant and a Jewish-owned publishing house, only a Kafkaesque willful blindness could suggest that citizens being run down on the streets constituted a mere threat of terrorism rather than a terrorist problem of the first order.
The icing on the cake was an official French pronouncement that no link had been found between any of these events.
For starters, how about Islam? Across the globe, residents of Sydney were still reeling from the surreal siege on a café, which left two civilians dead. During the 16-hour standoff, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott addressed the nation, asserting, “we don’t yet know the motivation of the [hostage-taker].”
At that point, however, it was evident that the individual who would later be named as Man Haron Monis, an Iranian refugee and selfstyled sheikh, was acting out of religious conviction; a black flag with clearly legible white Arabic writing had been forcibly held up by hostages against the restaurant’s front window.
Following the ordeal, once the extent of Monis’ extremism became public, Abbott had this to say: “These events do demonstrate that even a country as free, as open, as generous and as safe as ours is vulnerable to acts of politically motivated violence.”
Politically motivated? How about religiously inspired?! How could it be, Australian officialdom pondered, that someone with such a long and checkered history was not under surveillance? The answer is that “sick and disturbed individual[s],” as Abbott described Monis, do not generally find their way onto terrorist watch lists, whereas radical Islamists might.
Monis fell through the cracks because the threat he posed was incorrectly characterized. While authorities (and much of the media) were quick to describe him as a “lone wolf,” the fact of the matter is that there have been multiple events throughout Australia over the past few months pointing to an extensive network of terrorist collaborators.
On September 23, Numan Haider was shot and killed outside a police station after stabbing two officers in the state of Victoria. He was found carrying an Islamic State (IS) flag.
Throughout September, in fact, Australian police conducted major anti-terrorism raids in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. At least 15 people were detained, including Omarjan Azari – an alleged associate of Mohammed Ali Baryalei, leader of IS in Australia – who was planning to behead a random civilian in broad daylight. Just days after Monis’ attack, Australian authorities arrested two men on terror-related charges, including Sulayman Khalid, found in possession of documents designed to facilitate terrorism.
Monis’ was therefore not a random act, but rather part of a greater pattern of Islamic fanaticism in Australia.
While the denial of Islamic terrorism has long roots, it reached a post-9/11 turning point on November 5, 2009. On that day, 13 people were massacred by Nidal Malik Hasan at a military base in Ford Hood, Texas.
A self-proclaimed “Soldier of Allah,” Hasan had been contacting al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki. He too shouted “Allahu Akbar” while gunning down dozens of people.
Nevertheless, the White House worked overtime to ensure the mass killing was classified as “workplace violence.” In his initial response to the nation, US President Barack Obama stated, “We cannot fully know what leads a man to do such a thing.”
Certainly not Islam! Half a decade later, the families of Hasan’s victims are still fighting for combat-related benefits they would otherwise receive if their loved ones had been killed in a classified “terrorist attack.” By contrast, Hasan remained on the army’s payroll until his conviction in mid-2013, earning some $300,000 in the interim.
Under Obama, references to Islamic terrorism have been purged from law enforcement documents and lexicon. He is, after all, the man who embraced the Muslim Brotherhood, whose American front groups, mind you, were recently designated as terrorist organizations by Gulf States and Egypt.
Obama is the Christian who played golf on December 25 with the Islamist leader of Malaysia, and who shares a special bond of trust with the Islamist dictator-in-progress of Turkey, a state-sponsor of Hamas.
His outreach to the mullahs in Tehran confirms he is an equal opportunity (Sunni and Shi’ite) embracer of radical Muslims.
Obama’s actions have set the tone for the current whitewashing of Islamic terrorism in most of the West; thankfully, though, north of the border in Canada there is a clear-eyed leader to offer a counter- example, one that needs to be followed.
On October 20, Martin Couture- Rouleau, a Muslim convert and supporter of IS, rammed his car into two Canadian soldiers, killing one, just north of Montreal. Immediately thereafter, Prime Minister Stephen Harper defined the incident as a terrorist attack.
Two days later, another soldier was killed when Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a convert to Islam who openly professed his admiration for jihadists, attacked parliament in Ottawa.
“I have been saying for a long time, we live in dangerous world,” Harper affirmed to lawmakers the next morning. “Terrorism has been here with us for a while.... [I draw] attention back to incidents such as the Toronto 18 [terror plot in 2006], the Via Rail conspiracy in 2013, and I could point to a number of others that most will never know about.”
Harper not only labeled the two October attacks as terrorism, but also properly contextualized them as the latest in a long series of Islamic plots.
Only by correctly defining a problem can one begin to effectively combat it: A Muslim who runs over a dozen people while shouting “Allahu Akbar” is not simply “mentally unstable, ” he is a terrorist.
The delusional refusal in the West to accept this fact has contributed to the transformation of large swathes of Paris, Sydney and other urban centers into little Baghdads.
And unless the confusion over “confused” Muslims killing people ceases, many Western countries can expect more dead bodies lining their streets in the future.
The writer is a correspondent for i24news.