The tragic events that struck the Belgian capital of Brussels is yet again another European terrorist attack that has shook the world. Europe is going through major issues right now concerning terrorism and I have a few theories to why Europe is such a hotspot for these attacks.
With at least 30 dead and over 230 wounded, this kind of attack is a devastating blow to not only Belgium, but to the world in the fight against radical Islam. With ISIS claiming complete responsibility of the attack, a new direction must be taken on the fight against the radical group.
Before I get into the Europe’s terrorism issues, I want to highlight what we know so far about the events in Brussels. During the Paris terrorist attack that occurred last November, only one known ISIS member survived. Salah Abdeslam, the most wanted man in Europe for the past 125 days, was finally arrested last week in the Belgium capital after four months on the run. Luckily, authorities were able to attain Abdeslam alive, enabling authorities to look for answers they don’t have. Although Abdeslam didn’t participate in the Paris attacks, he was responsible for transportation, finding apartments, and renting cars during the operation.
So why Belgium? When the Paris attack was over, speculation that the remaining suspects fled to Belgium was the only lead law enforcement really had. Brussels is also home to NATO, an organization that has been vocal in stopping ISIS. Belgium is also home to a large number of Muslim communities that have poorly integrated with the population. This enables organizations like ISIS to manipulate the minds of those who are weak and poorly integrated, allowing recruitment for their causes.
I’m not necessarily saying these are the reasons why the attacks on Brussels happened today, but I can’t help but feel there might be a connection with Abdeslam.
Europe is facing a major crisis with terrorism and I have a few theories to why the continent is such a hotspot for these barbaric acts.
Unfortunately, a lot of Europe’s terrorism problems are just bad luck. The continent is connected to the Middle East which causes major problems as terrorist groups can travel safer, smarter, and with a low profile through land. Unlike the United States, which has an entire body of water to protect itself from that side of the world, Europe is facing radical Islam right in their backyard. Since Europe is the closest “westernized” and democratic civilization next to Syria, where ISIS is headquartered, it only makes logical sense for Europe to be such a hotspot for terrorism.
Muslim immigration has been an inevitable part of recent European history. Many Muslims looking to escape the realm of ISIS respectfully look to a new life in Europe. Muslim populations have increased drastically in the past few decades. However, they still only make up a total of 7.6 percent of the entire population. The problem isn’t Muslim immigration in Europe, but rather the integration of these people. The culture, the religion is very much different compared to Europe. Naturally, integration is an issue.
If you are a citizen of a country within the EU, a passport is not needed to cross borders (excluding) Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania, and the UK). Since verification is not required to travel through most countries within Europe, ISIS will have an easier time recruiting young Muslims who are citizens of the continent, allowing them to enter and leave as they please. Although this has economic benefits for travelers, workers, and for the monetary system, the open border policy is exactly what allows radicalized Europeans to leave and enter. If Europe didn’t have such a system, Abdeslam would not have easily been able to enter Belgium undetected.
The events that unfolded before the world are tragic and heartbreaking. The war on ISIS continues. Everyday of fighting is another opportunity for the organization to strike. For progress, Europe needs to strengthen their own laws. The EU needs to make transportation in and out of different European nations more difficult in order to keep people safe. Lastly, Europe needs to help the Muslim communities within its borders integrate positively. Education is key and people need to fully understand that the actions of ISIS do not in anyway reflect the religion of Islam. As someone who has traveled to a Muslim country, I can say from experience the culture and the religion do not advocate violence and terrorism. Once Europe can unite its people and protect its borders, ISIS will have a more difficult time executing the tragic events we have seen in the last six months.