Israeli counter-terrorism expert Jonathan Fine stated at a press conference in Bucharest that Europe will face other terrorist attacks similar to those in Paris and Copenhagen as long as it does not admit it has a problem with radical Sunni terrorism and lacks a clear immigration policy.
“Europe is at the start of radical Islamic violence,” Fine stated bluntly. Jonathan Fine is head of the Terrorism and Religion Desk of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, Israel.
Representative countries for the European Union, such as France, Great Britain and Germany, are at the top of the target lists of terrorist groups that fight against Western civilization. In this sense, the expert explained that the declared enemy of these radical groups is not a certain country but the whole Western civilization.
Romania is in transit area
Fortunately, Fine believes Romania is not a preferred target for terrorists, being in the transit area for the Islamic radicals to the West. The expert however underscored that “no place in Europe is immune” from terrorism and that “we have no chance to dodge,” pointing out the challenge represented by freedom of movement in the EU. “I believe your major interest is to prevent the situation in which Romania could be used as a passage route,” Jonathan Fine said.
Jonathan Fine considers that good cooperation between the police and intelligence services of member states as well as a careful monitoring of groups of suspects are necessary in order to manage this situation. In this sense, Fine gave the example of France, where terrorist attacks took place in March 2012 in Toulouse and this year in Paris because of the failure of this monitoring, given the fact that the suspects where on the list of the French intelligence services but were overlooked.
In his blunt style, Jonathan Fine criticized the “politically correct” attitude of European leaders after the terrorist attacks that have taken place so far on our continent, and stated that some limits to human rights have to be imposed, but of course “without going haywire.” “Europe has to admit the fact that it has a problem with radical Sunni terrorism,” he stated, pointing out that Europeans have to change their mentality and to consider terrorists exactly what they are instead of treating them “with kid gloves.” “In Europe you have a huge elephant sitting in the middle of the room and everyone is looking away. This is not the way to solve the problem. I believe that Europe will also be confronted with other terrorist attacks,” the expert said. However, he believes that such a radical change can only come about as a result of an attack similar to the 9/11 attacks that took place in the United States. “Democracy has to pay the price,” he said, explaining that only a severe terrorist attack would prompt the governments “to do what they do not like” and would justify in front of the public opinion the earmarking of important financial resources for combating terrorism.
Failure to integrate immigrants, one of the causes of terrorism
In Fine’s opinion, the main cause of the current terrorist situation in Europe and especially of the future one, is the inability to absorb immigrants, to understand multiculturalism and to create a clear policy in this sense.
“Europe did not have an absorption policy,” the expert said, being of the opinion that the main problem consists of the second and third generations of immigrants who are looking for their identity, who should be integrated in society, otherwise being easily lured by terrorist groups whose propaganda is psychologically very effective very quickly. The internet is one of the instruments used in this sense. Thus, Fine considers that young people should be offered alternatives and should to be “exposed to beautiful things.” Likewise, he recommends the media to stop presenting the attacks as sensational events because this approach is precisely the one that results in terrorists gaining new followers that want to be heroes. At the same time, at macro level, there is the need for wide-ranging changes concerning terrorism. “Today there is not even a common definition of terrorism,” Fine warned. “The nations should unite and define terrorism,” he added.