The Islamic Threat to Europe: By the Numbers
By KRISTOFFER LARSSON
Some things interest the media, others don’t. Since the fall of the USSR, the United States has sought another menace to designate as the ultimate evil, a world threat the Americans desperately need to take on. The 9/11 attacks gave them that enemy. And when the White House speaks, the media listens obediently.
Over the last number of years the “Islamic threat” has become one of the favourite issues for media coverage. It’s all over the news—Muslims leaders pronouncing threats against the countries participating in occupying Muslim land.
While America is the Western country most succumbed to the fear of Islamism, things aren’t much better in Europe. Its media is highly Americanised and thus eager to reiterate U.S. governmental positions towards the non-Western world. Islamic terrorism is subsequently a theme close to the hearts of European journalists as well.
Following this, you might think the journalists would be beside themselves with joy when the European Police Office (Europol) releases its first report on terrorism in the EU. I can assure you they weren’t. In fact, to my best knowledge, not a single Swedish paper or news-channel has paid any attention to it whatsoever. I haven’t seen it receiving much attention in other EU countries either (kudos to the EUobserver for having the decency to report on it). The report is namely a grave disappointment for the anti-Islamic campaigners.
There were 498 incidents in eleven EU countries last year labelled as “terrorist attacks.” The Basque separatist group ETA did second best (136 terrorist attacks) and was responsible for the only deadly attack, killing two in Madrid. The remaining 497 fortunately cost no human lives. A group on Corsica claimed responsibility for a few more attacks (about 140). But only ETA killed people.
How about the Islamic terrorists then? Considering the perpetual warnings in our daily papers, the findings in the Europol report is, to say the least, surprising. The truth is that Islamists only carried out one out of the 498 terrorist attacks in the European Union in 2006. Don’t believe me? The entire report is available on Europol’s website. Had Islamic fundamentalists been behind a higher number of attacks-say 136-it would have been front page news at every big daily. One attack is simply too few—it won’t do if the image of an “Islamic threat” is to live on.
The Europol report devotes several pages to Islamist terrorism, despite the low number. Except for the one attack in Germany this group was responsible for (which, by the way, failed and resulted in no victims), also Denmark and the United Kingdom reported that Islamists plotted to carry out one attack in each country respectively (incidentally, all three countries are accessory to the illegal occupation of Iraq). However, since these plans in both cases were exposed before they were set to work, they were not included among the 498. Either way, even after taking these plots into account, the report proves the genuine magnitude of Islamic terrorism in Europe—it’s not exactly a huge threat.
If we look at the people arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences, the figures are rather disproportionate; about half of them arrested were Muslim. In plain English: Muslims are a group causing very little terrorism in Europe, while at the same time much more likely to be arrested on suspicion of it. The constant media coverage of Muslims being arrested creates the false image of a serious threat in order to benefit the imperialist world-view Washington wants us to adopt. Meanwhile the Americans and their accomplices are carrying out genocide in Iraq. Clearly, something needs to be done about the media.
Kristoffer Larsson lives in Sweden. This article was originally published on Counterpunch