Our reaction to the terror attacks in Paris was no different than the great dismay and sorrow we felt in response to previous terrorism incidents. Yet we have to analyze the increasing danger and potential threats. With every attack, enmity toward Muslims further increases and the “Islam produces violence” plot becomes a global discourse. Western leaders are warning their people in this regard. The residual attacks of this threat will affect both the Muslim and Western worlds. Firstly, this period will increase Islamophobia. Muslim neighborhoods in Europe are under close scrutiny. Files on Muslim suburbs by country and district have started to appear in newspapers. We are facing the issue of whether this scrutiny will push Muslim youth toward the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The results indicate that European Muslim youth do not join ISIL based merely on religious reasons. Besides, those who join are neither uneducated nor unemployed, as was thought to be. We need to find out why these young people, who do not know their own languages and cultures as much as they do Europe, and who have devoted their souls and bodies to this continent, find themselves in the middle of violence.
The question of who these young people are, who were once drug users and lived without any religious concerns then suddenly became jihadis, beyond analyzing the situation itself, necessitates being concerned over “their Islam” and the issue of Islamic education. Of course this matter has more than just a religious aspect.
However, this should be one of the areas we focus on. Mechanisms that hinder the development of Islamic thought should no longer be areas we dare not discuss. The questions and problems of this era cannot be answered by scholars who lived over a thousand years ago.
Another area we turn our focus to is Europe's new Muslim generation. This new generation will have a significant impact on the future of Europe.
It seems that the center for those who defend the jihadi version of Salafism, is Holland and France. ISIL seems to find more supporters as many immigrants from North African countries inhabit many neighborhoods in these countries.
The emerging Muslim image will not only affect us, but the Muslim world and thought after us too.
Salafism has been a part of Islamic intellectual history, yet, it has become an ideology and gained political strength in countries that had connections with the West.
It always had an oppressive side and thus hampered religious thought to develop independently in areas it was widespread. In order to find itself a place in Islamic thought, it chose to otherize. Anger and hostility become the essential dynamic of the movement.
Shaping around a return to the Quran and Sunnah, Salafism closed its doors to different interpretations of the verses of ahkaam, or legal rulings, in the Quran, and extracted strict messages from the sunnah, or traditions of Prophet Muhammad, instead of universal principles. It opposed conventionalism, sects and cults. It rejected the rich heritage of Islamic thought.
Today, it has turned into an ideology that acts as a means for Muslim youth to express themselves. It has become an interpreter for many accumulated and repressed feelings. It not only opposes the West, but the Muslim world as well.
However, the Muslim world still does not concern itself with developing religious thought, religious education and how it should be conducted. While the West discusses the narrowing of the definition of independence, we have to remove obstacles that prevent discussion of religious thought.
The statements made by French President François Hollande from August onward, have formed a milestone for foreign and security policies. Simond de Galbert's September 8 article in the CSIS holds detailed interpretations on the issue. Some of the points that have grabbed my attention are as follows:
According to the statements made by Hollande:
·France will contribute more to NATO's military power. It will assume more responsibilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, that is to say it will send troops.
·Defense expenditures will near 3.8 billion and NATO's 2 percent in the next four years.
·France will continue to send troops to NATO's Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), founded after the Ukraine crisis in 2014, and in 2021 will lead the foundation itself.
·France has been authorized to fly its aircraft over Syria to collect intelligence and strike terrorists linked with ISIL.
·France broke a record in arms sales in 2015.