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Faced with the looming terrorist threat from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) attempts throughout Europe are being made to reclaim “our own identity.” While the whole conception of war between equal nation states is questioned in the era of international terrorism, the logic of national identity does seem to experience a comeback.
Since the attacks in Paris in mid November, I have observed with increasing incredulity the inability of statesmen in the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds to formulate convincing and coherent responses to the crises that they face.
What will be the consequences of the attacks on Paris? The short-term results are known: France and the UK will intensify their fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, security is tightened everywhere in Europe and borders inside the Schengen zone are controlled again. The question in this article however is what the consequences will be on the longer term.
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This new terrorism is in part the product of a profound change in European societies. The conflicts and political violence generated by the problematic reality of political Islam question the world view and the definition of political order of a society increasingly characterised by the coexistence of multiple social identities and heterogeneous cultures within a given territory. Why have we got to this point?
‘Europe’ is a vague and ill-defined construction, invented by geographers and historians in Antiquity to divide the known world into three parts (Asia, Africa, Europe) as geographical labels on maps. Since then definitions of Europe have continually changed, and further continents have been added to the European view of the world.
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If we are reluctant to express ourselves, it’s because we lack words for our own liberal democratic community.
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What many of us still do not realise however is that the primary aim of Jihadismo, this brutal and hyper-moralistic ideology veined with apocalyptic aspects, is in fact to hit Muslim powers themselves, who over several decades have made themselves guilty of betraying the very substance of their beliefs.
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Thinking back to the terrorist attack on the “Charlie Hebdo” newsroom two months on, the feelings of horror remain.

The growing consensus that violent sanction of views considered aberrant or immoral is innate to Islamic revelation, ironically enough, mirrors the literalist intolerance of those that we condemn, and overlooks the fact that all religious doctrine contains elements of such intolerance, whether Christian, Judaic or Islamic, or even Hindu or Buddhist.
- Languages: it
The most extremist Islamists should not fear Houllebecq's book, nor should its author be added to the existing list of 'fatwas' – despite the fact that Houllebecq is known to have said all sorts of things about Islam in the past. And neither should we think of this book as a step in Houellebecq's redemption on the road to the Mecca. Quite the opposite. His dislike of the Religions of the Book, and of the Muslim world, remain unchanged.