• The targets in all the Paris attacks were not chosen "randomly." Charlie Hebdo stood for the Enlightenment value of free speech, for the right to challenge, even to make fun of figures who deem themselves above criticism: politicians, religious leaders, the rich and famous. It stood for the right to be secular: for refusing to fence off religion, or award believers greater respect than non-believers.

  • Like the attempts to shut down all criticism of Islam -- whether in novels such as Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, cartoons such as those of Muhammad drawn and published in Denmark, or debates between academics -- the Charlie Hebdo killings were intended to instil fear and silence all honest discussion of Islam and its values.

  • Through bold criticism in a secular manner, European states have been able to create a more pluralistic, tolerant, and humane culture. For devout Muslims (not just radicals), this is blasphemy of the worst sort: democracy, made by man and not by Allah, is evil, and tolerance for all beliefs is a path to hell.

  • This ongoing failure to admit that the law of jihad is explicitly cited by spokesmen for Islamic State is the root cause of our inability to fight this war. The ancestors of today's Europeans knew how to fight against Islamic encroachment, but today, hundreds of thousands of Muslim migrants, some of them devoted to waging jihad, are being given free access to enter Europe.

Who does not love Paris? Puritans do not love Paris. Puritans hate, music, song, dance, poetry, fun and love. Today, such people are represented above all by extremist Muslim doctrinaire fundamentalists. They seem to despise women without veils; call music Satanic; regard painted images as an insult to an angry God; consider football a sin, and a restaurant serving wine as the embodiment of evil. They do not respond to a life-affirming bustle and the ideals an open, tolerant, democratic, liberal, humanitarian, egalitarian West.

When Sir Karl Popper wrote, at the end of the Second World War in 1945, his two-volume classic, The Open Society and its Enemies, he laid bare the evils of totalitarian systems, both left and right -- Communism and Fascism. He would never have guessed that soon a Third World War would be taking place between radical Islam and the West.

Last week, the City of Light went dark. In January of this year, some Islamist gunmen had attacked the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and another had gunned down shoppers in a kosher supermarket. U.S. President Barack Obama, in an interview with Matt Yglesias, commenting on the supermarket attack, glossed over the motives behind it: "It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you've got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris." [Emphasis added]

Two days after last week's attacks, when reporters asked Obama if he would consider additional action against The Islamic State (IS), he declined to give a straight answer. The killings, he said, were "based on a twisted ideology." As so many times before, Obama would not define what ideology -- the belief system of radical Islam, based on violent passages from the Qur'an and Hadith, and modelled on the jihadist actions of generations of Muslims, beginning with Muhammad himself.

This ongoing failure to admit that the law of jihad is explicitly cited by spokesmen for Islamic State is the root cause of our inability to fight this war. The ancestors of today's Europeans knew how to fight against Islamic encroachment, but today, hundreds of thousands of Muslim migrants, some of them devoted to waging jihad, are being given free access to enter Europe. At least one of last Friday's killers in Paris appears to have travelled from Syria and entered Europe through Greece.

The targets in all the Paris attacks were not chosen "randomly." Charlie Hebdo stood for the Enlightenment value of free speech, for the right to challenge, even to make fun of figures who deem themselves above criticism: politicians, religious leaders, the rich and famous. It stood for the right to be secular: for refusing to fence off religion, or award believers greater respect than non-believers.

Through bold criticism in a secular manner, European states have been able to create a more pluralistic, tolerant, and humane culture. For devout Muslims (not just radicals), this is blasphemy of the worst sort: democracy, made by man and not by Allah, is evil, and tolerance for all beliefs is a path to hell.

Like the attempts to shut down all criticism of Islam -- whether in novels such as Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, cartoons such as those of Muhammad drawn and published in Denmark, or debates between academics -- the Charlie Hebdo killings were intended to instil fear and silence all honest discussion of Islam and its values.

The kosher supermarket attack was clearly anti-Semitic. Like the multitude of such attacks on Jewish schools, museums, synagogues, and individuals, it celebrated the rise of a new anti-Semitism in Europe, an anti-Semitism (often expressed through anti-Zionism) that has been carried out by the political left, hand-in-hand with Muslim radical groups.

Jews on European streets are the one people most intensely hated by many Muslims (again, not just radicals). The freedom French Jews have for a long time enjoyed (despite high levels of indigenous anti-Semitism) is an affront to Islam, in which Jews especially must be converted, rendered submissive, or killed. Unfortunately, many Europeans have gone out of their way to be helpful. Just the day before the Paris attacks, the EU had singled out Israel, as usual, to label goods to help anti-Semitic, racist Europeans hurt Palestinians and Israelis with an unjust, sanctimonious boycott.

A leader of a British Islamic educational institute writes that, "One should abstain from evil audacities such as listening to music." Another graduate speaks of the "evils of music;" calls London's Royal College of Music "satanic," and claims that music is the way in which Jews spread "the Satanic web" to corrupt young Muslims. Is it, then, surprising that a handful of fanatics gunned down more than 80 innocent young people who had gone to enjoy a rock concert in the Bataclan Theatre?

As sports (apart from archery and horseback riding) are also activities much disliked by fundamentalist imams, three jihadis, in an apparent rebuke to such games and frivolity, went to a football stadium in Paris last Friday night and, although they could not get in, they blew themselves up outside it.[1]

The Nazis hated jazz and modern art (even as they stole it), but not even they rejected all music and all art. Hitler luxuriated in the operas of Wagner and fancied himself no mean painter, even if the art world may not have agreed with him. But today's fascists care for nothing but their own increasingly expansionist beliefs.

As Hamas members have said more than once to Israelis, with whom the Europeans have more in common now than they would like to admit, the extremist Muslims will conquer in the end because "we love death more than you love life." Nothing could better sum up the bitter reality of the Paris attacks.

In a television interview on BBC News at Ten on Sunday night, a singer, Maude Hacheb, expressed her response to the killings: "If they want to break the country, they have to break young people. I think for them, music is no good, fun is no good, love is no good. So I guess it was really significant they go to the Bataclan."

Denis MacEoin, based in England, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.


[1] Cricket has been condemned by a Pakistani imam as a sacrilegious "waste of time," playing chess has been compared to dipping one's hands in the blood of pigs, and ultra-conservative Muslim clerics have condemned football as a Jewish and Christian tool to undermine Islamic culture. Saudi Sheikh Abdel Rahman al-Barrak has warned in a fatwa that football "played according to [accepted international rules] has caused Muslims to adopt some of the customs of the enemies of Islam, who are [preoccupied with] games and frivolity."

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