Mar 31, 2016
The March 22, 2016 brutal bombings in Brussels’ international airport and metro system killed more than 35 innocent people and injured more than 270 others. These cowardly terror attacks brought Europe to a standstill. They made Europe more keenly aware that, even as she strives for economic and political unity, Europe has within her borders and in her homes the enemy poised and ready to bring her down.
The well-orchestrated violence unleashed on Brussels brings home the frightening fact that ISIS has an extensive and well-established network throughout Europe of individuals who can communicate easily and securely with each other and their leaders. These are not just a few isolated individuals intent on overturning European values, but hundreds of people who have the expertise to manufacture bombs and are ready to give their lives at a moment’s notice for their cause.
History records the fact that, in the past, Europe has faced attacks from certain Muslims committed to using war as the means of conquest. Within 100 years after the death of Mohammed, Muslim warriors zealously conquered lands for Islam. In 711 A.D., Muslims invaded the Iberian Peninsula. Within 25 years, they managed to conquer what is today Spain and Portugal. Then, they expanded into France. In 732 A.D., Charles Martel stopped their advance at Poitiers. Years later, when the Muslims of the Ottoman Empire were poised to take Europe, the Polish king Jan Sobieski stopped their advance at the gates of Vienna in 1683. Had he lost that battle, Europe’s landscape would be crowded with more minarets than steeples today!
Our tolerance toward people whose faith differs from ours makes living together in peace a reality. Our leaders, both political and religious, keep reminding us not to identify Islam with these horrible acts of violence. Certainly, not every Muslim endorses violence as a means to advance his or her religious beliefs. But this truth cannot blind us to the reality before us. Some Islamic jihadists do.
On Sept. 11, 2001, 19 terrorists turned commercial airliners into weapons of war, bringing down the World Trade Center in New York and hitting the Pentagon in our nation’s capital. In total, the terrorist attacks claimed the lives of 2,996. The nearly simultaneous 2004 bombings of Madrid’s commuter trains killed 192 people and injured more than 1,800. In 2005, the terrorist bombings of London’s Underground during the morning rush hour took the lives of 52 civilians and injured 700 more.