07/19/05 — Deadly neighbors: When killers attack their own countries

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Deadly neighbors: When killers attack their own countries

That the London bombers were homegrown residents of England was chilling news indeed — not just for the British, but for other Europeans as well.

Terrorists who are residents don’t have to sneak across a border to do their evil, as the 9/11 bombers slipped into the United States. Instead, they are conveniently present to plan at leisure when, where and how to kill, and they can travel the country without suspicion.

Now that borders between the European Union nations have been relaxed, these killers can more easily travel and ship deadly cargo like bomb-making materials from one country to another.

Although it is politically incorrect in Great Britain to mention it, most terrorists turn out to be Muslims. And while most Muslims are not the bombing type, some on the extreme fringes are. So the increasing number of Islamic immigrants into European countries is disquieting.

In France, for instance, there are already 5 million Muslims among a population of 60 million. That is 12 percent of France’s people, a political bloc big enough to claim a strong influence.

Unfortunately for us, it can influence foreign policy, which might explain the attitude of some European countries toward the United States and the war on terrorism.

A large Muslim population can also influence issues like a country’s response to terrorist acts. Some governments have shown a propensity to cave in to political pressure when there were attacks, instead of refusing to yield to terrorism.

Tragically, for instance, three days after last year’s train bombing in Spain, the Spaniards elected a socialist government that would withdraw from the war in Iraq. Yielding to terrorism only encourages it.

Here at home, incidentally, the number of Muslims in the United States is estimated at between 4 million and 8 million in a total population of 295 million. “Sleeper cells” — teams of potential terrorists ready to be called into action — have been uncovered in various places around the country.

Published in Editorials on July 19, 2005 10:35 AM