aNewDomain commentary — ISIS learned from Al-Qaeda that it is often useful to alienate the Muslim minorities in Europe to make them followers. Al-Qaeda wanted to mentally colonize French Muslims, but ISIS succeeded far more. ISIS wants non-Muslim French to be beastly to ethnic Muslims, on the grounds that they are Muslims so ISIS can start creating a common political identity around grievance against discrimination.
Sadly, this works. After the Charlie Hebdo massacre there was a spike in islamophobic attacks. The facts are that a tiny percentage of Muslims worldwide identify with ISIS, and ISIS is targeting the divide between Muslims and secular French.
According to ISIS and its caliphate, the world is clearly divided into two camps with no grayzone in between: There’s the camp of Islam, represented by ISIS and its supporters, and the camp of the West and its followers. This is the trap they want us to fall into. We need to be aware that inclusiveness is the best antidote to this grayzone tactic.
The original intention is publicly stated by ISIS, as transmitted through Twitter:
The anti-West fanatics in the Middle East are playing a long game, and a highly disenfranchised, demoralized and ghettoized Muslim population in France and the rest of western Europe is clearly one of their major current and future assets.
We need to understand that you can try to fight ISIS without mass incarceration and surveillance of every Muslim in Europe. French Muslim leadership condemned these attacks, and they already know that they will see right wing nationalist politicians rise in the next French election.
ISIS wrote, “There Is A Great Reward Awaiting.” They give Muslims in the west a choice. “Muslims In The West Now Have Only Two Choices: Become Apostates Or Emigrate To The Caliphate.”
Let us not help them by framing all Muslims into one category of enemies and suspects. In the present climate of rapidly expanding diversity in Europe, Muslim minorities have been portrayed as non-belonging and wanting to separate themselves from the rest of society. The mass immigration from Syria has acerbated and polarized the arguments in Europe. The refugees are running away from ISIS, which is their brutal enemy. Our leaders can be horrified by mass murder and determined to fight it without resorting to self-defeating language of fear and division. Fear and ignorance breed more terror and violence. Let us not succumb to that. Let us take an example from the French, who chased anti-Muslim bigots from a memorial.
For aNewDomain commentary, I’m David Michaelis.