Fr Samir: Islamic terror in France and Germany a crisis of integration, but above all of politics
by Samir Khalil Samir

The kidnapping and murder of a priest near Rouen (France) and the various attacks in Würzburg, Munich, Ansbach (Germany) were carried out by young people, who were indoctrinated with ease. Germany was a model for the integration of refugees. But radical Islam cannot be assimilated. It is supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. There is no other road other than integration. But we must tell the truth: the Koran contains elements of war and violence. Western politicians suffer from ignorance and a loss of all moral sentiment.


Munich (AsiaNews) - A priest, Fr. Jacques Hamel, of Saint-Etienne in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray (near Rouen, France), was slain this morning by two individuals who also took hostage a nun and some of the faithful while they were celebrating Mass. The religious sister is now seriously injured, as are some of the other hostages. The two attackers were killed by the army and President François Hollande said that they had links with Isis (Islamic State, or Daesh) and indeed considered themselves "soldiers of the Islamic State." The French Council of the Muslim Faith condemnedt the "vile and barbaric" act, calling for compassion and unity among all French people. Pope Francis, in a statement released by the Vatican, expressed his “pain and horror" and condemned what he described a "barbaric murder".

The series of killings and attacks that have taken place in Germany in recent days and in France today is challenging the political integration of Muslims in Europe. But it also highlights the stupdity and "lack of morality" of European politics and perhaps also its"ignorance" when it comes to Islam. These are the thoughts of one of the greatest experts in the world on Islam, Fr. Samir Khalil Samir, a Jesuit, at present professor at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, who during the summer, moved to Germany to work.

Of the three major accidents to hit Germany (Würzburg, Munich, Ansbach), only one of these appears to be unrelated to the Islamic world, that of Munich. So far the police have not found any relationship between the young German-Iranian and Isis. In addition he was in psychological care. It was - it seems - an act of madness. His friend saved him, taking away a bag with 300 bullets. So far rthe police say there is no evidence of links with Islamism. In the case of the attacks in France (Rouen, Nice, Paris, etc ...) the link with IS is clear.

For the youth responsible for Wurzburg, who injured five people on a train, his ties to IS have been proven. As well as for the young man who blew himself up in Ansbach. The amazing thing is that they are all young; all people known not to be fanatical, or particularly religious; all from relatively tranquill backgrounds, without any particular problems. The youngman from Würzburg had been in a care home, but had stopped going there. In any case no one could have forseen such a dramatic development.

All three cases are surprising because they involve very young people who had no formation in any training camp; all of them went to school ... It is still unclear how they came into contact with Isis. Certainly not directly, but through the Internet, where violent proposals are visible in broad daylight.

So many attacks in a matter of a few days have created confusion in Germany, although the police has proven its efficiency, especially in Munich: they managed to take control of the situation really admirably.

In the case of Wurzburg, the young man was killed by a police officer. Some reproached him for having fired, but the interior minister has praised him.

They were all from peaceful backgrounds, neither poor, nor ideological. This is quite different from the case of Nice, where the bomber had calculated his attack in detail. He had even closed his account in the bank and sent 100 thousand Euros to his relatives (a gift to Isis?). Even his friends said the young Tunisian had it all planned.

In the Arab world it is said that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are really behind all of this Islamic terror. Early in its history, the fundamentalist movement was bent on destroying the Shiite in Iraq and Iran. Then it became a struggle against everyone.

The attacks on Germany have shocked everyone: the nation has received a million and more migrants and treats them fairly well. A refugee center near my home works very well: the children go to school, receive grants, adults can go to school German in the evening …

The sudden change demonstrated by these young people is unusual and quite new.

Now criticism is raining down on Angela Merkel, blamed for being overly generous in welcoming refugees. Perhaps the situation is changing: as long as they were a few thousand, integration was qualified. Now that the refugees have become hundreds of thousands, perhaps the integration program is beginning to crack.

Many Germans say it's a crisis in the integration project because the number of migrants is too great. I say though that in comparason with the rest of Europe, Germany was really a model in efforts to integrate immigrants.

And still the solution is integration, and not the rejection of migrants.

Unfortunately, Islam is hard to integrate because it has a culture in many ways that is the direct opposition to the current Western culture. Religiously, socially, of male-female relationships, in relation to eating ... it is a complete system. The fact it is a different religion is not a problem. But the fact that in Islam religion is tied to a political, social, cultural, historical, system, which affects everything, is: how one dresses, how one shakes hands, social relations ....

So many things make it difficult to assimilate the ideas of the West.

In the past, when there were North Africans who arrived in Europe, they were already a bit 'secularized, either because they had suffered the French colonization and the lifestyle imposed by their leaders (Tunisia and Algeria), or because they were Berbers, local ethnic groups who refused to be called "Arabs".

Today, however, the radical Islamist influence that proposes a different world in all aspects, makes integration much more difficult.

If the Islamist position is upheld (the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafis, etc ...) then integration is difficult. But if Muslims are more open, if they agree to learn from Western society, then it is possible. Once it was so: Western society was considered a model for development and emancipation. But today it is the opposite: for many Muslims Western society is to be rejected. And so they create a new model of Islam or Islamism (fundamentalist).

This is the great conflict of our era.

We also must have the courage to say that Islam has elements of violence in the Koran and the life of Muhammad. If we continue to say that "Islam is a religion of peace," we only create confusion and mystification.

Yesterday I listened to a speech by the British Prime Minister Theresa May, before she was prime minister - three years ago - when, in a meeting with Muslims she repeated a thousand times: "Islam is a religion of peace, Islam is a religion of peace ! There is not a single verse in the Koran that is violence!", to the enthusiastic applause of those present. All this is amazing: it is an attempt to minimize the problem. And this is done mainly by European political leaders, rather than by the people.

Why do they do this? To get the votes of Muslim communities. This is the case in France: for several years in France the government donated land for mosques and Islamic centers with free rent for 99 years. Thus France id being filled with mosques financed by countries that support terrorism. Among politicians there is a loss of moral sense, since they are willing to do anything to earn votes. And there's even a hint of ignorance: no one would say that in the Koran there are no violent verses! And the combination of ignorance and loss of a moral sense is explosive.

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