Fascist imperative behind relentless terror

The relentless terror attacks and massacres are now a near-daily occurrence—even if we limit ourselves here to industrialized countries supposedly at "peace." But they are ot as random as many commentators assume. Just over the past week… On July 26, two men armed with knives took over a church in the French town of St.-Étienne-Du-Rouvray during mass, taking hostages and killing the elderly priest. The attackers were killed by the police. ISIS released a statement saying its "soldiers" carried out the attack. (NYT) That same day, a former employee of a care center for the disabled in the Tokyo suburb of Sagamihara stabbed 19 to death as they slept in their beds, injuring 26 more. Upon turning himself in to the police, he boasted: "I did it. It is better that disabled people disappear,." (The Guardian)

On July 25, a Syrian asylum-seeker blew himself up and injured 15 others with a backpack bomb outside a music festival in the German town of Ansbach. (BBC News) That was the third attack in Bavaria in a week. On July 22, a youth with joint German-Iranian citizenship shot and killed nine and wounded more than 15 at a shopping center in Munich, before he turned the gun on himself. (The Guardian) On July 18, an Afghan asylum seeker armed with an axe and a knife attacked passengers on a train in Bavaria, seriously injuring three before being brought down by police. (The Guardian)

The Munich massacre came five years to the day after the Oslo terror, in which ultra-rightist Anders Breivik murdered 77 people in Norway. (Daily Mail) So if that is not a coincidence, the Munich attacker may have been influenced by the radical right despite his Iranian background (which would probably exclude the possibility that has was a follower of Salafist-jihadism anyway, as most Iranians are Shi'ites).

But despite the mutual antipathy between xenophobes and jihadists, there are points of intersect between them. We have seen instances of a convergence of Islamism and radical-right ideology—even moves towards a formal alliance between jihadis and neo-Nazis. In any event, an extreme anti-Muslim backlash is exactly what the jihadists wish to provoke in their attacks in Europe—just as they seek to polarize the Sunni-Shi'ite divide in their attacks in the Greater Middle East. So even when jihadism and fascism oppose each other, they are still in a sense working together. They see common enemies in democracy, secularism, multi-culturalism and an open society.

This is the same ultimately pointless argument we saw after the Nice attack earlier this month in France—and many times before. If the attacker is a Muslim, the left rushes to portray him as apolitical and "mentally ill." If the attacker is a Christian or xenophobe, the right rushes to portray him as apolitical and "mentally ill." They are both missing the point.

There is common political context to all these attacks—whether it is this massacre of "useless eaters" in Japan of that of sex deviants in Orlando or that of decadent youth in Munich or Paris or Brussels. The Islamophobe right and the Islamist right are equally manifestations of the global reaction.

  1. Neo-Nazi in Munich terror

    Our assumption about the Munich shooter being a right-winger appears to be correct. Germany's FAZ newspaper reports following an investigation into the 17-year-old's background that he was obsessed with Adolf Hitler, with whom he shared a birthday, was proud of his "Aryan" heritage and "hated Turks and Arabs." (DPA)

  2. Europe’s dialectic of terror

    ISIS claims its "soldier" carried out the truck attack that killed 12 people at a Berlin Christmas market. Although a Pakistani asylum-seeker initially detained as a suspect has been released, the incident is sparking a backlash against Merkel's immigration policy. (AFP) Meanwhile, a gunman who wounded three people attending prayers at a mosque in Zurich has been found dead, apparently a suicide. He is named as Swiss citizen of Ghanaian descent, and "terrorism" has apparently been ruled out as a motive. (NYT