A spate of stabbing attacks are the result of France’s failed experiment with multiculturalism, former UK counterterrorism chief Chris Philipps told RT. When the liberal West and Islamic East clash, he said, violence follows.
“I do believe that France and the West brought a lot of this on themselves,” Philipps told RT on Thursday. “They’ve invited people to come to their country and allowed people to come to their country who’ve no thought process of eventually assimilating.”
“French culture, you either accept it or you don’t, and these people clearly haven’t,” he continued.
Earlier, a knife-wielding attacker killed three people in a church in Nice, police in Avignon shot another knifeman dead, and another alleged terrorist attack was foiled near a church in Sartrouville, near Paris. Additionally, police in Saudi Arabia arrested a man for stabbing a guard outside the French consulate in Jeddah.
French President Emmanuel Macron called the Nice attacker an “Islamist terrorist,” and deployed troops to guard churches and schools. Just days earlier, Macron had vowed to clamp down on “the evil that is radical Islam,” after a teenage Muslim beheaded a teacher for showing his class a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed.
Macron’s army deployment may reassure the public in the short term, but Philipps said that it’s “pretty much impossible” to screen out potential future attackers, and harder again to deport or detain them, as in his experience in the UK, many suspects were British citizens.
“We’ve got 20 or 30 thousand people of concern in the UK. France probably has far more than that,” he explained. “If you go to Nice there’s a massive North African contingent there.”
French media outlets have reported that the Nice attacker – who was shot and arrested by police – was a 21-year-old Tunisian migrant. Four years earlier, a Tunisian was behind the wheel of a 19-ton truck that plowed through crowds of people on the city’s iconic waterfront, killing 84 and injuring more than 400. France’s population is nearly nine percent Muslim, the highest percentage in any Western country. Of these 5.7 million Muslims, the percentage who harbor extreme views is unknown, but in 2016, three quarters of all suspected radicals on a government watch list were radical Islamists.
Philipps said that in his experience, he was surprised how many moderate Muslims see cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed as “extremely offensive” and understand “the idea of taking revenge.”
The core of the problem, he said, is the incompatibility of Islam with the liberal West. “When the cultures clash so much, and it leads to this kind of violence,” he said, governments need to “make some decisions” regarding the future of multiculturalism and open society.
While Philipps spoke in apocalyptic terms about the future of multicultural France, Muslim author and lawyer Asif Arif is more optimistic. The fight against terrorism, he told RT France, is “a long and hard war,” that “will not be fought with common arms.”
Rather than deploy troops and close Islamic organizations, as Macron has done in recent days, Arif said that the French government should increase funding to counterterroism investigators and deploy intelligence agents to mosques and Muslim organizations to gather information and identify potential threats.
“We need these Muslim organizations to fight terrorism,” Arif concluded. “Stigmatization will never help.”