A French scholar of Islam has a dire warning for Europe, claiming that the third generation of young Muslim men are being increasingly radicalised and may lead the continent into a civil war.
Professor of political science at one of France’s most prestigious universities, Sciences Po, Gilles Kepel, claims that the current wave of Islamic terrorism in Europe is not so much a war of Western civilization against Islam, but a war within Islam itself.
The result is an entire generation, adherents of the extremist Wahabist and Salafist movements, who want not only to take over Europe, but to eliminate more moderate Islamic opposition, reports Die Welt.
Prof. Kepel foresees that the growing number of Muslims, who are forming what he calls the “Jihad Generation”, will likely continue to commit acts of terror in European cities.
The goal of the terror is not to provoke political change, but rather to incite hatred toward Muslims from the rest of society, which he believes would eventually radicalise enough Muslims to the point that Europe could enter into a full-blown civil war.
The long-term goal of the Jihad Generation is to destroy Europe through civil war and then build an Islamic society from the ashes, Prof. Kepel said. The strategy is similar to the expansion of Islamic State in Syria, Iraq, and Libya where the terrorist organisation was able to use the chaos of civil war to slowly build its forces, grow in power, and rapidly seize territory.
While Prof. Kepel says that most Muslims do not actively participate in terrorism or with terrorist groups, he says that the growth of Salafism among young people, combined with a sense of entitlement and lack of job prospects, means that third-generation Muslims will be far more likely to join radical groups.
Salafism as an ideology is dangerous, Prof. Kepel maintains, because it preaches that Westerners are “unbelievers” and encourages a path toward violence.
The consequences for the unchecked growth of Salafism among young people could not only lead to civil war, but perhaps to the end of Islam in Europe, with the academic noting the rise of an extreme, nationalistic, right-wing ideology among Europeans as just as much a possibility.
Islamic intellectuals are also not doing enough to combat the Salafist ideology, according to Prof. Kepel. The scholar stated that mainstream imams have a duty to reject Salafist teachings and while some do, he says the vast majority are silent on the issue.
Salafist preachers have become the target of raids in parts of Germany in recent months as the government is finding more and more preachers with links to Islamic State such as notorious preacher Sven Lau.
There is also a fear among law makers and police that the increasing number of young migrants crossing from the Middle East and North Africa may be even more susceptible to Salafist teachings as their expectations of an easy life in Europe are not met.
Authorities have even caught Salafists attempting to convert and recruit migrants by visiting asylum homes.