It goes very quickly. On October 4, an Islamist stabbed a gay tourist in Dresden, on October 16, an Islamist near Paris beheaded teacher Samuel Paty, on October 29, an Islamist stabbed three people in Nice – and now Islamists are shooting around Vienna. Five people die and more than a dozen are injured.
Europe is again haunted by a series of Islamic terror. After a period of relative calm, the attacks pile up. And that in times of the pandemic, which may also have determined the agenda of the perpetrators in Vienna. The terrorists apparently wanted to kill as many people as possible shortly before the lockdown in Austria, who had one last visit to restaurants.
This mixture of cynicism and cruelty is typical of Islamic terror. Is Europe up to this ongoing challenge?
Unfortunately, the answer has to be: clearly not. The result is desperate. In Vienna, the bomber shot down by the police was known to the security authorities as a militant extremist, with a criminal record for membership in a terrorist organization. Still, he could arm himself with a rapid-fire rifle and gather accomplices. The authorities apparently looked too little.
The negligence is depressing everywhere
This is a certainty in Dresden. There, the police and the Bureau for the Protection of the Constitution agreed to an “active network” to permanently monitor the Syrian Abdullah Al HH, who was identified as a threat and was taken out of custody at the end of September. But when the man stabbed the tourist on the street in Dresden on October 4 and seriously injured his companion, neither a police officer nor a constitutional protector was around. The authorities also failed to notice that the Syrian had recently bought knives.
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The picture of the knife attacks in France is also depressing. The teacher Samuel Paty was abused and threatened on the internet after discussing the Mohammed cartoons in class on the subject of freedom of expression. But neither the school nor the security authorities provided any protection for Paty.
The church in Nice also remained unsecured, though Muslims’ fury over the Muhammad cartoons continues to boil and Christian places of worship, especially notable ones such as Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Basilica, are known as targets of attack. In July 2016, two Islamists slit a priest’s throat in a church in northern France.
Liberal democracies do not have to give up, but must reduce deficits
Despite the serious Islamic attacks that Europe has witnessed – in Paris, Brussels, Berlin, London, Madrid, Barcelona and Nice in 2016, when an IS man killed 86 people in a truck – despite all this, the resistance to horrors remains insufficient. Of course, no state can provide perfect protection. Liberal democracies rightly do not want to become authoritarian regimes. But in any case, the shortages must be reduced.
It starts with the mindset. The awareness of the need to forcefully enforce and, if necessary, strengthen security is still underdeveloped. Especially in Germany. The symptoms are diverse: negligence on the part of the Saxon authorities in following a very dangerous Islamist; endless debates over effective constitutional protection tools, such as source telecommunication surveillance and online searches; Religious wars over data retention; exaggerated fears that the Bundeswehr would be used domestically to protect objects and to relieve the police.
And widespread: more fear of the state, which supposedly mutates into a surveillance monster with new competences, than of the enemies of democracy planning attacks. The Islamists register every weakness. And exploit them mercilessly.