Thursday, April 28, 2005

Islamist threats in Europe

Claude Salhani:

The precise scale and reach of Islamist extremism in Europe is difficult to identify, but the terror threat -- including that of nuclear terrorism -- is real, warns a new report from the Brussels-based European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center.

At a hearing Wednesday delivered to the House Committee on International Relations, the Center's director, Claude Moniquet, pointed out gaps in precise intelligence data concerning Muslims in Europe, given Islam is not reported in the Europe Union census. Moniquet cited as example the lack of official figures of Muslims living in France, with estimates ranging between 4 million and 6 million.

Moniquet said public demonstrations by Islamists in Europe before 2000 "were a rare event." But since Sept. 11, 2001, "thousands of people" in France and Belgium took part in open demonstrations, such as the protests against the law banning the Islamic veil in French public schools.

Prior to the 1990s, Islamist political parties didn't exist in Europe, and though they still are not represented in parliament, they are making themselves heard. In Brussels, for example, in May 2003 the Party of Citizenship and Prosperity, which advocates radical Islam, won more than 8,000 votes.

European police and intelligence services have documented fundamentalists preaching hate in many European mosques, with youth associations often acting as front organizations for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mounting anti-Semitism in some areas has made teaching the history of the Holocaust in schools attended by young Muslims impossible, and Muslims students are openly questioning the theory of the origin of life. Europe's prisons on the other hand, have seen the increase of its Muslim population, which is frequently in the majority.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, hundreds of suspected terrorists have been arrested in Europe.

"Each week police arrest additional suspects," demonstrating, says Moniquet, "that the number of people willing to go from ideas to action is growing."

News and Blogosphere:

Islam - Euro-Islamist threats

US report shows increase in terror activities

Islamist Terror Cells in Europe May Now Pose Biggest Threat to US Security

Experts: Islamist Terror Cells in Europe May Now Pose Biggest Threat to US Security

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