Je suis Charlie was the rallying cry that resonated across the world after the unfortunate terror incident in France.
Up in arms across Europe
Even Bibi (Netanyahu) with his appalling human rights record was arm-in-arm with the rest of the world leaders to stand up for freedom of expression. Maria Le Pen, the Pia K of France, saw an opportune time to push her anti-Muslim, anti-foreigner agenda.
In German, the anti-Muslim PEGIDA demonstrators gained renewed strength. Calls by Angela Merkel did little to deter thousands of people from attending their marches. In Denmark, spontaneous and organised demonstrators also took to the street to pour blanket blame on Islam and Muslims. In Belgium, which like Denmark, has a Muslim population of well over 5 percent, police raids on terror suspects ended in several fatalities including two policemen. Even in open-door Sweden, anti-Islam rhetoric gained momentum: mosques were attached and some injuries were reported.
Missing the point
These events are stark reminders of the greatest security threat of our time: terrorism. Even world leaders, though united in grief over Paris, were barely reading from the same script.
David Cameron, the British prime minister, condemned the attacks in the strongest words possible. The pope condemned the attacks, but also cautioned about attacking religion. The leader of the free world, Barack Obama, was conspicuously missing from the show of unity, opting for his secretary of state, John Kerry, to offer the condolences of the American people.
The real question, which remains largely unaddressed, is whether terror is the result of a clash of ideologies or civilizations or both.
Terror groups evolving
The ever-changing face of terror is a nightmare for security experts. When Osama Bin Laden was killed, for a moment the West breathed a sigh of relief. Perhaps terrorism will diminish, some thought, perhaps Al Qaeda will break down completely – how wrong they were.
Terror groups have metamorphosed. Islamic State is getting ever stronger, Boko Haram is taking towns at will and sending west African troops fleeing, and Al Shabab is recruiting and rearming. Yemen-trained jihadists are flying back to Europe where they evade the intelligence networks. Sophistication is the name of the game for both the intelligence systems and terrorists alike.
A solution, not the cause
In the political arena, the tone is tough and extreme. Among the anti-Muslim movements in Germany and Denmark, it is clear-cut: get Islam out of Europe.
Yet what escapes most minds is the fact that Muslims are as much victims of terror as the rest of us. Muslims have been repeatedly asked to speak out and apologise for crimes they have nothing to do with. A whole community is constantly under fire to defend actions they are completely opposed to.
Fact is, as long as the tone remains combative and aggressive, there will be no solution. Real issues need real solutions. Unless Muslim communities are inherently involved as part of the solution rather than the problem, the war of terror is going to be a long treacherous road with no end in sight.