Confronting our homegrown terrorists

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

If it is confirmed that Russian forces did kill Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last month, any sense of achievement must be tempered by a report that suggests we face a “predominantly homegrown” jihadist terror threat, that repressive measures were “inevitable” and that Western countries need better intelligence co-operation. 

The report, from the International Centre for Counter Terrorism and the Program on Extremism at the George Washington University pointed out that nearly three out of four attackers were citizens of the country where they launched attacks.

It seems al-Baghdadi’s death will make little difference to those who would try to destroy societies that offer them sanctuary and opportunity unheard of in their home country. The rejection of the values cherished by host countries is a direct consequence of the hate spread by al-Baghdadi and, like it or not, that phenomenon represents a threat to our way of life.

But what to do? It would echo the bigotry invoked by al-Baghdadi to suggest indiscriminate measures focused on communities rather than on individuals. However, it hardly seems excessive to suggest that, by applying to move to a country, an individual accepts the established norms of that country and that any effort to undermine them would meet with serious consequences. This is a tight-rope issue fraught with risk but standing idly by and hoping the threat of Islamic extremism is not real would be foolish beyond belief.


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