One of the world’s leading authorities on Islamist and jihadist ideology has said militants are trying to provoke retaliation and conflict in the West, so Muslims will “rise up” and side with extremists.
Gilles Kepel, a French specialist in the Middle East and Muslims in the West, who was one of the first people to write about modern Islamist movements, was launching a book in central London on Thursday.
Speaking at the Henry Jackson Society think tank, he explained the Manchester attack, which targeted innocent children, could be justified in Islamic literature. He said the victims were “part of them [the disbelievers]”, and an Arabic phrased of this translation is used in a similar way to “collateral damage” in English.
Kepel argued that in the age of Islamic State, the West is currently facing a “third generation Jihadism” that has “selected Europe as its main target”.
The new wave of militancy is “network based”, rather than the “top-down” organisation of al-Qaeda, controlled by Osama bin Laden, or other waves which fought Soviet troops in Afghanistan or further back in history under the Ottoman Caliph.
This makes attacks today more disorganised and prone to failure, but also harder to predict, he explained.
Kepel argue that Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian theologian and anchor of Al Jazeera television, did much to propagate the “third wave” of jihad, which he claims will be won with “persuasion” rather than war, as “now Muslims have come to Western Europe, the whole continent is going to become Islamic”.
However, “in reality”, modern Jihadism is often violent, unlike al-Qaradawi’s predictions. “The aim of third generation Jihadism is to incite the rest of society to retaliation,” he claimed.
The terrorists hope that “killing the unbelievers” will lead to people killing Muslims. Then, “Muslims, in general, are going to consider there is no future for them in this society… therefore, the only way for them is to cling to the Jihadists,” he said.
Jihadists also hope to “take the electoral process hostage” and “have the jihadi agenda supersede the democratic agenda,” Profesor Kepel said.
The academic and Islam expert, who has previously said that Islamists and their attacks might cause a civil war in Europe. spoke to Breitbart London in Paris in early April days before the French election. Speaking of how to defeat radical Islam, Profesor Kepel remarked the education system had to teach migrants to be French first, and Muslim second. If religious identity came first, he said:”That will lead to the balkanization of society and civil strife.”