It's quite shocking for those in Western nations to see news of increasing beheadings in the Middle East by Islamist groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS or IS). It's even more shocking when this monstrosity is perpetrated against captured Western journalists and aid workers by Muslims from Britain fighting for the Islamic State. But it's more shocking still when it happens inside Britain and the United States.
Beheadings and other increasing terrorism are swiftly coming to Western shores. In October 2014 in the Canadian capital, a Muslim convert fatally shot a soldier on duty at the national war memorial and then proceeded into the parliament building in a shooting attack. (Had he turned down a hall inside, he could potentially have shot parliament members and the prime minister.) This came two days after a car-ramming attack on military personnel in Quebec, murdering a soldier, by another Muslim convert.
Thankfully, some attempted attacks are being thwarted—including one in Britain against the queen ("Terrorists Foiled in Plot to Kill Queen Elizabeth," New York Post, Nov. 7, 2014).
The commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police said that police have prevented an increasing number of attacks recently. But how long can the danger be averted? It's important that we recognize the increasing peril the Western world finds itself in—and that we know where to turn for real security.
Lone-wolf attacks—not easily stopped
Some attacks have, of course, still happened. In September, an 82-year-old woman was beheaded in her London garden by a recent Muslim convert. In May 2013, a British soldier in London was murdered by two Muslim men who nearly decapitated him in public on the street. In both instances the police instantly ruled out terrorism—even though that's obviously what it was.
The same reflexive denial of terrorism happens with such incidents in the United States. A recent Muslim convert beheaded a woman in Moore, Oklahoma, in September. Authorities were quick to label it workplace violence —just as they did the shootings at Fort Hood in Texas in 2009 in which 13 soldiers were killed and another 29 wounded. Yet the shooter, Nidal Hasan, has repeatedly referred to himself as a soldier of Allah, including in a recent jihadist letter to Pope Francis (Catherine Herridge, "Fort Hood Shooter Sends Letter to Pope Francis Espousing 'Jihad,'" Fox News, Oct. 10, 2014).
Breitbart News recently listed a number of other attacks by such "lone wolves" since 2006 in which individual Muslim men killed eight people and injured many others in attacks that included beheadings, shootings, knifings and driving a car into a crowd of people (Ben Shapiro, "7 Other Lone Wolf Islamic Attacks Inside the U.S.," Sept. 28, 2014).
Some have a hard time seeing lone assailants as terrorists, assuming terrorism must be planned and carried out by a group of people. Yet the Canadian parliament attack was labeled terrorism despite the single shooter. Of course, in at least several of these cases the assailants were responding to the call of Islamic leaders abroad for such attacks against the West. So terror organizers are still involved in terms of incitement.
Indeed, terrorists acting alone are now considered a greater danger than groups conducting bigger plots that might be more easily uncovered. A recent Newsweek headline declares: "The West's Greatest Threat Is the 'Lone Wolf' Terrorist, Say Security Experts" (Joshi Herrmann, Sept. 3, 2014).
The accompanying article states: "According to experts, the authorities are most worried about small-scale, primitive, and -brutally violent attacks from jihadists affiliated in one way or another with Islamic State (IS), also known as Isis, operating more independently than their predecessors, who were organised into terror cells. The result is an unpredictable agent of terror, an incarnation of the much-feared lone wolf . . .
"Claude Moniquet, a former agent for French foreign intelligence . . . says the mass participation of up to 2,500 Europeans in the -Syrian war means that, 'the situation now is seen as extremely dangerous in France by the security services.'
"'I think that clearly the idea of a large-scale attack still exists,' says Moniquet. 'But the lone-wolf attack, the isolated jihadist, is much more worrying because they could attack very easily.'
"He says such attacks are the preference of the IS leadership: 'I think if they had the choice between a global attack in two years in Washington, with all the risks of being detected, and five or six small-level attacks in Europe, they will definitely choose [the latter]' . . .
"The security services face a race to adapt, says Moniquet. 'We were trained in the security services and the intelligence services to oppose large-scale organisations, like the KGB, like the Cosa Nostra [or Mafia], like al-Qaida,' he says . . . 'We are not so trained to find and confront isolated people.'"
A growing danger from within and without
The situation is made worse by many individuals from not just France but also Britain and the United States traveling to the Middle East to fight with the jihadists—and then returning home with skills picked up from the battlefield and training camps.
As the BBC News article above reported, London's police commissioner "highlighted a police estimate that 500 people have left the UK to Iraq or Syria to fight. 'They're going to have been militarised. They will have a complex web of people that they know and of course they will have learned tactics that they may want to use here,' he said. Labour MP Khalid Mahmood earlier told the Sunday Telegraph he believed the number was closer to 2,000."
This problem is part of the consequences of multiculturalism, wherein rather than blending into a national whole the various ethnicities and religious groups are fragmented into separate communities. Instead of pacifying Islamic radicals, this just gives place to homegrown terror and violence. Consider this title of a news article about Sweden: "Swedish Police Release Extensive Report Detailing Control of 55 'No-Go Zones' by Muslim Criminal Gangs" (The Muslim Issue Worldwide, Nov. 8, 2014).
The Western world must take the threat of Islamic infiltration and increasing terrorism seriously. Some think there is no threat—that the West is far out of reach from Middle East terrorists. But increasingly influential groups like ISIS, with access to lots of money and weapons and manpower, are a threat.
U.S. officials recently issued a strong warning of "fresh intelligence that ISIS wants to recruit or inspire sympathizers inside America to hurt military members where they live" ("ISIS Threat at Home: FBI Warns US Military About Social Media Vulnerabilities," ABC News, Dec. 1, 2014). And in Britain it's being reported that al-Qaeda is planning to bring down a number of passenger jets with bombs. We must take the rise in threats and attacks against the West as a warning!
Finding real security
What should those in the West do in the face of all this? Most importantly, of course, people need to turn to God. It was very disturbing how easy it was for a terrorist to walk into the Canadian parliament building and start shooting.
It was likewise disturbing when a man was able to hop the fence at the White House and enter through an unlocked door. A subsequent attempt was stopped by guard dog—not, as Americans might have imagined, by lasers and other hi-tech security devices.
But the truth is that it does not ultimately matter what security measures are in place. The Bible tells us, "Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain" (Psalm 127:1).
We would be blind not to realize that God has been protecting the United States, Britain and other Western nations from those who seek our destruction. But with increasing immorality in these nations, God is lifting that protection. For real security, it is vital that we return to God in repentance and pray for His protection and guidance.