The Empire of Fear: Why we should answer terror with unity

Catherine Shakdam
Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen. A regular pundit on RT and other networks her work has appeared in major publications: MintPress, the Foreign Policy Journal, Mehr News and many others.Director of Programs at the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, Catherine is also the co-founder of Veritas Consulting. She is the author of Arabia’s Rising - Under The Banner Of The First Imam
© Lucas Jackson
As France is slowly coming to terms with the tragedy which befell its people, looking to make sense of the murderous irrational of terrorism, it is reason I hope which will prevail, as anything short of that will ultimately play in the hands of fascism.

This terror the West is facing today, this evil which rejects the sanctity of life and wishes only to instill fear so that its hordes could better rule and enslave, is one which is devoid of any religious consciousness.

ISIS’s ideology is rooted not in Islam but in Wahhabism, a fascist devolution which was born from the mind of a pseudo-scholar, Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, a tyrant whose sole purpose was to raise an empire of fear in Arabia, right at the heart of Islam to better draw from its religious legitimacy.

Wahhabism is nothing more than a cult, a heresy rooted in bloodletting, slavery, and violence - an abomination of the mind so revolting that it can only be compared in its madness to Nazism.

Such is the evil which struck at the heart of Europe - Islam had no part and no hand in this attack. And yet voices have already raised calling for a witch-hunt against those [Muslims] whose guilt has already been proclaimed on account their faith “does not belong.”

Islam as a faith and Muslims as a people have been sold as foreign, incompatible even to those values the Western world hold most dear. This is the very lie, the very misconception which has made terror a potent reality. It is bigotry and ethnocentrism which helped create a space in which terror could breed. It is Western powers’ sense of entitlement and white supremacist disdain which fueled ISIS’s fascism - that of course and a few well-placed millions of dollars courtesy of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Fascism did not simply spring to life; it was engineered. Worse still, it was fed, propped and fueled by our very inadequacies, our inability to understand that terror can only breathe and breed when society is fractured and entire communities excluded on account of their faith, ethnicity or social standing.

"We all understand perfectly well that coping with the terrorist threat and helping millions of people who have lost their homes, is possible only by combining the efforts of the entire world community," said Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a BRICS meeting at the G20 summit in Antalya.

Together is indeed the key to defeat terror! Not alienation, not finger-pointing, Islamophobia, ‘Arabophobia’ or any other form of xenophobia.

Terror is an evil which is universally feared. Why do you think war refugees risked their lives to reach Europe? Do you think Europe is so grand that hundreds of thousands would risk everything and lose everything for the pleasure of walking the streets of Western capitals and enjoy the privileges of Western civilization? Ethnocentrism anyone?

Let me tell you why refugees fled their homes. This fear we all felt when Paris came under attack, this sense of dread we collectively experienced at the idea that our loved ones could be facing the barrel of a gun, are exactly why so many have fled the Middle East. Before assigning blame to those most vulnerable, all of which are not Muslims by the way; let us remember that it is the terror of ISIS they are running away from.
As passions continue to animate politicians, pushing words in their mouth - grand declarations of retaliation and unforgiving wrath, I would ask you to pause and ponder over whose agenda such actions are serving.

Why Paris and why now? Those are the questions we need to answer. If we don’t - and I truly hope that it doesn’t happen, then radicals would have indeed fooled us all; forcing us, all of us, to engage according to their rules and within their logic.

France is home to the largest Muslim community in Europe; which community has undeniably and most visibly suffered under the French Republic’s ultra-secularist streak. Ostracized and alienated from society, French Muslims have long felt as foreigners in their homeland, the unwarranted victims of the post-colonial era. Islam I’d like to stress is not a nationality and being Muslim is neither a color, nor an ethnicity.

It is this sense of disenfranchisement, this anger against “the white men” and socio-economic duress which have, more often than not, driven youths into the arms of radicalism. On this note I’d like to point out that many such “radicals” are not recruits but as President Putin once mentioned bought mercenaries whose real allegiance is to money. Let’s not look at terror as just an ideological monster. Many venture capitalists have recognized the benefit of such armies … But that’s crazy right!

There is another dimension to the Paris attack which needs to be considered if we are to get the full picture, and that is timing. Why now?

The Paris attack came in the wake of a series of attacks against those forces which have most fiercely opposed ISIS advances in Syria, where the main frontline of this war on terror remains. In the span of a few weeks, radicals targeted Lebanon and President Bashar al-Assad’s stronghold in Latakia.

In every instance ISIS clearly sought to erode the resolve of those most committed to its destruction.

Interestingly enough, ISIS’s designated enemies also happen to be those political forces Washington would have no qualms seeing the back of. The White House has indeed made no secret of its antipathy towards President Bashar al-Assad’s presidency and US officials are not exactly big fans of the Hezbollah - even if their efforts have been spent in opposing terror’s advances.

Now, this is not to say that ISIS and Washington are in bed together, but that politics often imply an overlapping of agendas. And so before we jump to conclusion we should always carefully assess whose game we are playing.

Could it be Paris attack came to drive the spotlight away from Middle East to drive the narrative of fear further in, and thus kill this rhetoric of united resistance Russia and Iran have carried?

Ultimately one question should remain: how can we prevent another Paris attack?
I will offer this by way of an answer: let us not fight the expressions of terror but its ideology - and that entails looking squarely into our own prejudices and recognize that it takes two to play fascism.

And if we are to raise a grand alliance against terror let us demand that all our political partners, at home and abroad efficiently look at their own laggings and failings, as not to feed the flame of fascism, but extinguish it - together!


The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.