Living With Terrorism?

September 2016

Less than two weeks before two Algerians murdered Fr. Jacques Hamel in Église St.-Étienne, a Tunisian-born émigré killed 84 people in Nice by driving a truck through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day. Again, the Islamic State claimed responsibility: The “executor of the deadly operation” was an ISIS “soldier,” the group declared. “He executed the operation in response to calls to target citizens of coalition nations, which fight the Islamic State.”

Though French president François Hollande responded by declaring that France is “at war” with ISIS, French senator Nathalie Goulet offered a more sobering assessment. “It looks like it will never finish,” she said of Islamic terrorism on French soil (Bloomberg, July 17). “It’s a nightmare…. We are just unable to prevent this kind of drama…. The people have to get used to living with terrorism.”

Is terrorism unpreventable? Both of Fr. Hamel’s murderers were on a terrorist watch list; French authorities had received a tip from a foreign intelligence agency only days earlier that one of them was ready to “carry out an attack on national soil” (Breitbart, July 28). Moreover, Église St.-Étienne was a target on a “hit list” found on a suspected terrorist in April 2015.

Or is it the case that, in light of the European Union’s mandate of quotas of refugees from the Middle East, France lacks the resolve to implement a comprehensive response that might upset the EU’s international agenda? In the interest of accommodating refugees, the vast majority of whom are Muslims, will the French government really just tell its citizens that they have to get used to the possibility that they might be blown up on the way to work, get mowed down at public festivals, or have their throats slit at the altar of the Lord?


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New Oxford Notes: September 2016

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