The idiotic myth of the ‘lone wolf’ attack

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Oct 18, 2021, 2:06:05 PMOct 18
In the summer of 2020 the French Senate published a report on the
‘Development of Islamist Radicalisation and the means of combatting it.’
It was a wide-ranging review which included contributions from
academics, writers, Muslim associations and politicians. Among those
interviewed by the commission were the ex-security advisor Alexandre del
Valle, Zineb El Rhazoui, a former columnist for Charlie Hebdo and Hugo
Micheron, a doctor in political science, and the author of a 2020 book
entitled The French Jihadism.

The French Jihadism should be required reading for anyone who wants to
understand the nature of the threat posed by Islamic extremism – not
just in France but across the West. Micheron interviewed 80 jihadists
serving time for terror offences in French prisons. In most cases they
explained their journey from disenchantment or delinquency to Islamism,
and how it gave them purpose, motivation and fellowship. Above all, it
imbued in the jihadists a hatred of western Society, a contempt shared
by British, Belgian, Norwegian and all European extremists.

When Micheron was interviewed by the Senate he talked about Mohamed
Merah, who in 2012 carried out the first deadly Islamist terror attack
in France for 17 years. He shot dead seven people, including three
Jewish children in a Toulouse school-yard, before he was killed in a
shoot-out. ‘The police considered him, wrongly, as a lone wolf, but
rather he was the product of ten years of Salafisation in the suburbs of
Toulouse,’ Micheron explained to the Senate. ‘Merah was not a lone wolf:
his act was perfectly understood by other Salafists, without links to
Toulouse, like Larossi Abballa.’ In 2016 Abballa stabbed to death a
couple in front of their three-year-old son in a Parisian suburb.

Micheron’s remarks were echoed by another expert, the author and
Sorbonne professor Bernard Rougier, who told the Senate:

“‘Mohammed Merah is often portrayed, incorrectly, as a lone wolf. That
is to forget that he is the product of local socialisation. Case studies
have shown the central role of this socialisation and the determination
of some religious leaders to speak in the name of Islam.’

The foreword to Micheron’s book was written by Gilles Kepel, France’s
leading authority on Islamism, whose first book on the subject, The
Banlieues of Islam: birth of a religion in France, was published in 1987.

Shortly after the twin attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket
in January 2015, he was asked if the perpetrators were lone wolves. ‘The
lone wolf theory is an idiocy,’ he retorted. ‘It’s deployed by
pseudo-academics and journalists who follow the news but who don’t study
and don’t know the reality of the [Islamic] texts and the actions of the
jihadists. It’s a pure fantasy that has never existed. There are
individuals who act alone or in pairs but they are part of a network,
they have been inspired.’

For a decade France has been on the frontline of the Islamist war on
Europe, and for that reason it has a more profound understanding of the
scale of the challenge. They have learned that the lone wolf narrative
is convenient but delusional; that only the eradication of the
ecosystems that nurture the likes of Mohamed Merah, Larossi Abballa and
Abdoullakh Anzorov, the teenager killer of the schoolteacher Samuel
Paty, will bring the barbarism to an end.

Britain is a significant way behind France in its comprehension of
Islamic extremism, and the appalling death of Sir David Amess may reveal
yet again the inability – or the unwillingness – to confront this grim
reality. The newspapers this morning are full of ‘lone wolf’
descriptions. The ‘UK faces wave of “lone wolf terror attacks from
bedroom radicals”’ is just one such headline.

Many in Britain can no longer bring themselves to even utter the word
‘Islam’ so, to paraphrase Kepel, they deploy idiocy. France has now
armed itself intellectually for the fight, but Britain is still running


Oct 18, 2021, 3:50:24 PMOct 18
Being afraid of war, refusing to see the signs, you bring it to your door.

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