ISIS’ terrorist attacks in European capitals represented a remarkable transformation in the security situation of these countries. The last attack that took place in a French church, during which a priest was slaughtered, has made things worse. Europe has been living a state of Islamophobia and the scene has become obscure because of the tactical and strategic changes that have emerged in the terrorists’ plans despite the security measures taken in these countries and their increasing participation in the international coalition to combat terrorism.
The attacks that have struck Europe hide unknown victims: the Arab and Muslim expats who have contributed to building the modern western civilization. While the European countries adopt principles of justice, peaceful coexistence, and respect for human rights, the Arab and Muslim communities are facing hard social and economic conditions.
The members of these communities have also become a target of skepticism, bringing them to the same status they were in following the September 11 attacks in the United States.
Although the European countries have the right to take all the needed measures to maintain stability and peace, they have to consider that the Arab and Muslim communities living on their territories also need to be protected, respected, and treated as residents. Europe should ease the expats’ participation in political and social life and commit to democratic values.
The European states should also know that the marginalization of Arabs and Muslims will increase their tendency to join terrorist organizations such as ISIS, and this in turn will lead to a surge in terrorist attacks.
This exceptional situation compels Arab and Muslim communities to be aware of the situation and to avoid giving opportunities to racist groups, Jews in Europe, and right-wing parties, to use the terrorist attacks as an excuse to grow hatred among Europeans against Arabs and Muslims.
Arab communities should work on promoting the good image about themselves, by stressing their respect for laws, and should promote their social role so that they become a principal component of the social fabric in Europe.
The promotion of anti-Islamic thoughts in the West and rejecting Muslims in European countries for allegedly being a permanent source of danger and threat will damage both sides because it will definitely lead to more terrorism. Therefore, quick measures should be taken to confront racist slur and the rising calls for the exclusion of Arabs and Muslims.
Europe has become aware of the difference between Islam as a religion that calls for peace and love and the extremist groups, which resort to violence and terrorism. This awareness has been clearly emphasized in the speeches of European leaders like Francois Hollande who said that the church attack is not related to Islam and Muslims, and that France’s battle is against terrorism and not a specific religion.