14 November 2015
Quilliam stands in solidarity with France following the devastating attacks in Paris on Friday night. Over 120 people have been killed in a series of attacks across the French capital. In a coordinated operation by Islamic State, the six attacks included suicide bombings outside the Stade de France, shootings in a restaurant, cafe and pizzeria, and a hostage situation in Bataclan Concert Hall.
We further commiserate for the victims of the deadliest terror attack seen in Lebanon on Thursday. Carried out by two suicide bombers in Beirut, the explosions killed at least 43 people, and wounding 250, for which Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.
Like Quilliam, security services across Europe and the Middle East have predicted such coordinated multi-casualty attacks in recent years. The priority now is to care for victims, support their families, catch the perpetrators, and prevent reprisal or copycat attacks.
Attention must turn to the long-term prevention of future attacks by considering the appropriate security and counter-extremism response. For over a year now, Quilliam has warned of a full-blown jihadist insurgency. No insurgency is sustainable, let alone possible, without the levels of residual support it commands for its core ideological aims, among the communities from which it draws its fighters.
In the last decade, the modus operandi of Islamist terrorists, including those of Islamic State, has included simultaneous coordinated mass casualty attacks, suicide bombings, and shootings. It is clear that jihadism has taken root among a generation of young, angry Muslims who are susceptible to sustained Islamist propaganda. Our response must focus not only on identifying, isolating and undermining the Islamist ideology that fuels such recruitment, and in alleviating the resentment that this group of invisible recruits can use as potential or perceived grievances, but also in avoiding the far right, sweeping xenophobe rhetoric that polarises communities and breeds radicalisation.
Quilliam urges a considered response from governments, free from knee-jerk reactions, and calls for sober analysis and critical thinking from civil society to cut through the sensationalist and apologist noises that inevitably prevent this. Moreover, it is essential to remember that, though this could change, so far it has been European born and raised jihadists who have posed the biggest challenge, not immigrants or refugees. Now is a time to stand with the victims of these abhorrent attacks, not point fingers or score political points.
Quilliam stands with Paris.
Quilliam is available for comment by calling 02071827283 or by emailing [email protected].