Europe’s Security Crisis: From Tolerance to Extremism

In light of all the chaos, one might say that the metaphoric battle of civilizations has reached European soil. But such a statement would be false. There is no battle, as a battle involves two or more sides actively engaged. The only active side in this story is the radicalized, anything but tolerant, threat of Islamic terror, which is ripping into the heart of Europe and putting people of all nations and religions in danger. The other side is the passive European continent, trying to cope with the philosophy of tolerance and to figure out what it may and may not say and do. Europe sleeps and extremists recruit. No, this is no battle. It is suicide.

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By Georgiana Constantin | May 4, 2016

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It is currently estimated there are more than 1000 Islamist “sleepers” in Belgium ready to attack when called upon, while the UK has around 700 of its citizens which have returned from fighting for the Islamic State. France, Germany and other EU countries are also dealing with similar issues. In fact, France was considering stripping any such person of their citizenship, however, the legal fight to do so has been abandoned by French president Francois Hollande, since he was apparently fighting a political battle he could not win.

France made a very clear point of expelling the non-native gypsies from its territory some years ago and, even though it sparked some controversy, the politically incorrect thing was done, for what one may assume to be the good of the nation. Now it would seem such logic was only valid in the case of a social “nuisance” and may not be extended to any actual national security threats, such as people who have ties with terrorist organizations.

The country is already witnessing a change in its social order. As far back as 2010 a “hidden camera show[ed] streets blocked by huge crowds of Muslim worshippers and enforced by a private security force. This is all illegal in France: the public worship, the blocked streets, and the private security. But the police ha[d] been ordered not to intervene.” Recently, on April 4th, the “French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said extreme forms of Islam were winning the propaganda war for hearts and minds, warning […that] the veil was being used as a political symbol for the ‘enslavement of women.’” It is quite obvious, after numerous debates, several terror attacks and countless uncertainties, as to the secular future of the nation that the idea of stripping citizenship from those with terrorist ties was a necessary discussion in France, especially since it was addressing the situation of dual citizenship; so the risk of leaving a person stateless was nonexistent. This discussion, however, ended as rapidly as it began. And not taking extreme measures against radical Islamic fighters seems to be the case all around Europe.

Part of the problem is, and it should come as no surprise, political correctness, or the PC approach, which is meant to show tolerance, the modern layman’s equivalent of “love thy neighbor.” Civilized 21st century society is supposed to be tolerant of others, their views, behaviors and lifestyles all for the sake of preventing hatred, which is deemed the opposite of love.

Unfortunately, the opposite of love is not hatred, as both these feelings are intensely passionate and involve caring about a certain person or entity with either positive or negative fervor. The opposite of love is tolerance, as it involves nothing more than the action of ignoring the other’s presence for the sake of being able to go on with your own life or schedule quite undisturbed. It may look as if one is embracing the other’s culture and habits and loving them for their diversity, but what it really is can be seen upon closer inspection as nothing more than accepting that someone different is close by and therefore one must ignore their behavior so as not to be bothered with potential accusations of discrimination or offensiveness. Tolerance has made “the other” a source of discomfort and potential disagreement, to which all must shut their eyes or from which people must hide in order to keep their lives within normal, conflict free parameters.

And so, in the spirit of tolerance and under the shadow of an uncertain tomorrow, from soaring migrant numbers, economic instability and fear of impending terror attacks to a potential breaking down of unity in the form of a British exit (Brexit) from the EU, Europe is now struggling to keep itself together.

Yet, for a continent emphasizing the ever constant threat of terrorism and stressing the importance of safety, the unpreparedness it showed during both terror attacks in France and the one in Brussels can be looked upon as absurdly inexcusable. No matter one’s stance on the current migration problems Europe is facing, it is obvious that people from completely different cultures who are arriving on the continent in great numbers are not being subjected to thorough background checks and so one can, in the future, expect that conflict will arise between the native and migrant population. This risk increases exponentially when we speak of groups of people coming into Europe from parts of the world where radicalization is aggressively taking place. It is of common sense that a continent should take care of its security so that, for both natives and bona fide immigrants and refugees, it can continue to provide the necessary tools not only for survival but a thriving lifestyle.

But if a nation is subjecting its own citizens, and those who have crossed treacherous lands and seas to seek the safety of its shores, to the unstable and life threatening environment of continuous, unanticipated harassment and terror attacks, if it allows for the very danger the refugees are fleeing to penetrate its borders, then where can anyone find safety? And how can it claim to protect anybody, if for the sake of not discriminating, it allows itself to become overrun with violence?

In Germany, Britain, France and other EU countries, tolerance has also proven how it can, in fact, lead to hatred, as many of their own national citizens are now reacting to not only the discomfort brought about by the perceived invasion and forced acceptance of asylees but also to the threat a PC culture poses to their lives and society as a whole.

In light of all the chaos, one might say that the metaphoric battle of civilizations has reached European soil. But such a statement would be false. There is no battle, as a battle involves two or more sides actively engaged. The only active side in this story is the radicalized, anything but tolerant, threat of Islamic terror, which is ripping into the heart of Europe and putting people of all nations and religions in danger. The other side is the passive European continent, trying to cope with the philosophy of tolerance and to figure out what it may and may not say and do. Europe sleeps and extremists recruit. No, this is no battle. It is suicide.


Georgiana Constantin is a law graduate who has studied International, European and Romanian law at the Romanian-American University in Bucharest and is presently a political science doctoral candidate at the University of Bucharest. Ms. Constantin, who is based in Romania, is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.

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