Two Muslim men entered a church in the town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in Normandy, northern France and held five Christian’s attending a reverend’s Tuesday morning mass hostage. Armed with knives, the men proclaimed allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), recited a religious oratory, and stabbed the priest in the chest before slitting his throat in front of the group. The Rev. Jacques Hamel was 86 years old, and a man of God. The pleas of the Christian congregation were ignored, and they were forced to flee their place of worship.
The events were retold all day. In the news and on social media the tragedy was shared, and the horror grew as more information about the assailants was released. One of them, Adel Kermiche, 19, had been on house arrest in the past and was electronically tagged. His travels to Syria under a familial identity were known by authorities. There is a growing sense among the public that the government is not doing an adequate job securing the nation from Islamic terror. With security holes like these, who can blame them? Marie le Pen of the French National Front has been active in denouncing the government’s policies, implicating them in the creation of the threat. She responded to the attack, remarking that “these people are killing our children, our police officers, our priests. There will be more attacks in the future. Wake up France.” This was not the first terror attack in France, and will not be the last.
Undoubtedly, a backlash is maturing against the incumbent government. The parties in power, both Socialist and Republican, have been apathetic to the effects of their immigration policies and the deteriorating security situation in France. They actively supported the importation of cheap labor from the Muslim world to Europe, and they accepted the asylum requests of refugees from the Middle East. In large quantities new, unassimilated Muslim populations of unknown origin mingled in monolithic, Muslim neighborhoods (which some call “ghettos”) with young and discontented second-generation Muslim men, who feel a lack of affinity to their home nation and its national and religious heritage. A dangerous mixture, leading to a rise in security threats against the French people.
The terror attack on Bastille Day two weeks ago and the succeeding terror attack today on the Church, are transparent signs that the twin pillars of traditional European society are under attack—National pride, and religious heritage. They target large groups gathering for celebrations, and quiet gatherings of those in prayer, to demonstrate that neither way of life is permissible.
The European governments in power cannot resolve this problem or restore their societies to order. They helped create the terror. No amount of makeup work can change their role. The backlash is well-deserved. Had the ruling parties governed effectively, the worst of this crisis, terror on a daily basis from one corner of the Muslim community or another (imported immigrants, refugees, the 2nd generations), could have been avoided. Had they put policies in place that were to the benefit of people, and not transnational bureaucracies, multinational corporations, or foreign labor, this moment in European history may not have come to fruition.
There is still one pillar of French society left without the scar of Islamic terror—and that is the Republic itself. Democracy, a political idea loathed by the radicals conducting these attacks, can still change the course of history in Europe and the West. The European people must begin rejecting their establishment parties and begin putting into power leaders who will act in their best interests. Controlling immigration, protecting national identities, and revitalizing economies that it work for people, not just corporations, should be the litmus test of a new government.
European governments must change their foreign policies, which have escalated global disorder. They must limit their military interventions in the Muslim World against ruling governments, interventions that unbalanced the regional balance, spread chaos, and created a vacuum for radical Islam to rise within. The French government took the lead in unseating Muammar Gadhafi, and now Libya is a breeding ground for radical Islam, and a port for the Muslim exodus to Europe from North Africa. Secular Republics were overthrown so political Islam could rise. Now, that ideology is spreading to Europe, in violent tones.
Prayers for peace are not enough. Though the religious should hold strong to their faith in Jesus Christ, continue to attend their churches, and protect one another as a community from assault—the problem has gone far beyond the communal level, and now requires national political change. If Europe is to continue to be a safe place for communities to display pride in their cultural heritage and national achievements, from the formation of West Francia in medieval history to the successes of Charlemagne against the Muslim invaders of Europe, then Europe needs to retake and relearn the history it so politely disregarded in the name of “tolerance” and “politically correct”. Pride, Democracy, and Prayer—these are the key ingredients to reinvigorating the European people against this new tyranny that infects not just the body but the mind. The people must feel free once again, to celebrate who they are and denounce what seeks to harm them: radical Islam.