Sam Westrop: London-Style Attacks 'Almost Impossible' to Stop
March 23, 2017
Sam Westrop, the director of the Middle East Forum's Islamist Watch project, was interviewed alongside former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerikby on i24 News TV on March 23 to discuss the recent terrorist attack in London that left four people dead and at least 50 injured.
Sam, is it fair to say that it's a lot less likely that something like this would happen in the United States, simply because the Muslim community is far better integrated here than in Europe. Also [given] that we keep better track, in terms of intelligence, of these communities than they do in Europe, and simply because of the distance?
Hi. Just firstly, to correct your intro, I work at the Middle East Forum, rather than what you said.
Regarding the question, yes, American Muslims are a little better integrated, and that comes down to the way that society is organized in Europe compared to how it's organized in the US. Europe has used something called a state multiculturalism policy in which you divide communities according to their religious, racial, or ethnic groups. Now when you do that, you need an intermediary to run the community and European governments turn, almost all the time, to Islamists or nonviolent Islamists.
Muslim communities in Europe have been "hijacked almost completely by extremists."
As you can imagine, having Islamists in charge of community means that the Muslim community itself is exposed to radical extremist ideas and this is one of the reasons that Europe's are in such worse states compared to America – because the Muslim community there has been hijacked almost completely by extremists, from the Muslim Brotherhood, to Wahhabis, to the Deobandis in South Asia. It's an enormous problem.
America isn't totally free from this worry. There are very dangerous groups active here in the United States, both violent and nonviolent Islamists, and attacks like London have happened in the US, and they will continue to happen. It may not be as bad as Europe, but there are decades of this to come and we should all be very worried.
And then Sam, would [the fact that Europeans are frightened] therefore be a [terrorist] success? Everybody who is scared in London or anywhere else around the world tonight, that's a success for them?
Oh, well, I think it would be very much in accordance with the British spirit – this is the stiff upper lip – to carry on with our lives as normal and not let these people dictate how we live our lives.
"It is almost impossible, unless authorities are already monitoring the suspect, to stop these sort of attacks."
The one other thing I'll add is that you can't protect against this type of terror attack, for the very simple reason that they're using things – tools, vehicles, knives – things that everyone owns. Big explosions, the old form of terrorist attacks, took planning, resources, money, suspicious material. They opened themselves up to exposure by law enforcements.
This new lone wolf [tactic] – go in your truck, mow over a number of people – was invented by Al-Qaeda in Yemen, it was picked up by ISIS, and it's going to be the norm. It is almost impossible, unless authorities are already monitoring the suspect, to stop these sort of attacks ... [W]e can try to carry on with life as we want to live it, but it's going to become increasingly hard.
Related Topics: Counter-terrorism, Muslims in Europe, Muslims in the United States
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