Political action now

The gory terrorist attacks in London have ushered in a new age of fear and insecurity for people in Western democracies – especially in Europe. The large number of casualties and traumatized victims caused by the rush-hour bombings will most certainly bring tighter police measures and will fuel tension among different peoples or ethnic groups that live alongside each other in Europe’s multicultural societies. The attacks have poured more oil onto the flames, making it harder to keep the lid on tension between the West and the Muslim world. But police measures, no matter how strict, cannot fully protect Western societies against terrorist strikes. Security measures alone can do very little to halt the cycle of violence. Instead, Western states will have to tackle the political issues that generate terrorism. European leaders have shouldered much of the responsibility in solving the crisis. However, we should not forget that some of them sent troops on a military campaign in the Middle East that was declared and carried out under false pretexts. These governments must now make a great effort to disengage their countries and public from the consequences of their misguided policies. It’s time European leaders assumed their responsibilities. They must delve into the causes that fuel Islamic terrorism and examine the possibilities for reaching out to the Muslim world and finding some common ground. The price of the ongoing occupation of Iraq and the Israel-Palestinian conflict has been dear. And it’s rising. One wishes that the voices of those who advocate a hawkish stance on Iran will be sidelined in favor of a cool-headed approach. There is no other way if we really want to empower the moderate Islamists who want to reopen the channels of communication with the democratic states of the West. The ill-conceived, aggressive recipes of the West have unfortunately reduced moderate Muslims to a minority status.

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