Why the media miss the point on Islamist terrorism

Why the media miss the point on Islamist terrorism

"Shocked" that Islamists attacked Charlie Hebdo? Shocked, just shocked that violence is their answer to an "insult" to their Prophet Muhammed? Why?

Poverty, or ideological evil?
Poverty, or ideological evil?

CHARLOTTE, N.C., January 8, 2015 — Journalists, and Western terror experts, using the word “shock” to describe the terrorist attack on a satirical magazine in Paris are, as usual, missing the big picture.

Here are eight reasons why they can’t get it right:

1. Being “Shocked”: While the attack in France was shocking, there is little reason for anyone to be shocked. Charlie Hebdo was in the business of satire, its targets included Islam, and it had already been a terror target on other occasions. It should come as no surprise by now that Islam has no tolerance for anything that is perceived as anti-Islamic.

The editor of Charlie Hebdo had a bodyguard. He was aware that poking fun at Islam carried risks. So “shock” is not an accurate term.

2. Viewing terror through Western eyes: From a Western perspective, free speech is one of our essential rights. The West cares deeply about freedom of speech, but Islamists’ primary concerns have more to do with the insults to Islam and their own feelings than their concern for American or French values. Our enemy is Islam, so we must seek solutions that have significance to the Islamic world view. That free speech matters to us is of no consequence to them.

3. The media are under attack: No they aren’t. One media outlet was attacked, not the entire industry. The assault in Paris was conducted by a well-trained military-type team on a mission. We know precisely who the target was and why.

The truth is that most of the media are too fearful of “upsetting” Muslims to do anything that could be perceived as offensive.

4. High security alert: The terrorists who carried out the murders in Paris are dangerous, but there is little chance another killing binge is on the horizon. A precision raid does not happen by accident. It must be well planned.

The real danger lies in the possibility that some innocent victim accidentally shows up in the wrong place at the wrong time and gets shot for no reason. Another assault in Paris any time soon is highly unlikely.

5. Lone-wolf operation: Don’t count on it. The Paris terrorists may have been acting on their own, but given the professionalism of their operation, this was not the work of free-wheeling nutcases on a killing binge. The men who carried out the attacks were almost certainly trained somewhere in the Middle East to carry out a specific assignment.

6. Visas for French travelers: The entire southern border of the United States and Mexico is so porous that anyone with a modicum of incentive can get into this country. Forcing French travelers to obtain visas to enter the U.S. is little more than profiling an entire nation.

Terrorists know us better than we know ourselves. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and anyone planning a terror attack in the United States will make it their first priority to figure out how to get into the country.

7. Appeasement: The French have long been guilty of “giving in” to Islamic pressure. Appeasement is not the answer. Doing or not doing something out of fear of offending Muslims accomplishes nothing. When non-Muslim get up in the morning, there is nothing they can do, with the exception of converting to Islam, that will make them “liked” by Muslims.

France, Germany and Britain are the worst offenders in the West in yielding to Islamic demands. Those countries are now paying a price. Sharia law should not be allowed to exist in places where it is not compatible with the legal culture. Compliance is nothing more than an invitation to tragedy.

8. “Allahu Akbar” is a clue: If the attackers in Paris had yelled “Heil Hitler,” most people would have assumed they were Nazis. Why is it then that when government officials and media hear the words “Allahu Akbar,” they have to “weigh all the possibilities.”

When three masked men shouting “Allahu Akbar” attack a satirical magazine which has just published material mocking Islam, there is no need to “weigh the possibilities.” Call it what it is, Islamic terrorism, and get on with finding ways to stop it.

Rather than pondering myriad irrelevant possibilities, talking philosophically about how “shocking” terrorism is, creating silly hypothetical scenarios or taking meaningless after-the-fact measures, here are three practical solutions: Recognize and acknowledge that Islam is a threat; start thinking like the extremists; and instead of beating around the bush, focus upon legitimate measures to combat Islamic extremism.


Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)

Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News; follow Bob on Twitter @MrPeabod


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