BY NOGA GUR-ARIEH / AJT //
Muslim communities in Europe have been around for years. They began as small enclaves when people from the Middle East went searching for greater freedom and opportunities.
The neighborhoods, focused on becoming part of the larger community, grew slowly. They were mostly made up of good citizens, working hard for a better life. The people obeyed the laws of the state and quietly went about practicing their religion.
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For a time, all was well.
But in recent years, their numbers have grown, and something dangerous has become part of their world – extremists and radical Islam. And now they are making demands.
Because all of this has happened slowly and over time, many people in Europe took little notice of troubling changes. Frankly, they’ve been blinded by propaganda and been willing to believe in a world turned upside down.
In this bizarre scheme of things, Israel has become the problem, the country causing trouble. This notion has become so prevalent in recent years that now Israelis choose the countries that we visit in Europe very carefully. There are certain countries that openly revile Israel and all it stands for; their leaders condemn Israel whenever given the opportunity.
Israel has few allies in the region, but much worse than that are the anti-Semitic actions of many of the common folk. Mean-spirited groups have called for boycotts against the Jewish homeland, staged marches and slandered IDF soldiers as “killers.”
These people don’t care about the truth. They are caught up in the lies and distortions offered up by Muslims in their midst.
Of course, there are many Europeans who are still willing to listen to reason. But anti-Semitism in Europe is growing and has become such a huge problem recently that I fear visiting London and Paris, which were two of my favorite cities as a child. I want to return, but the images of hate – marches and flag burnings – that I see on television and online are so bothersome that I know it’s too dangerous to visit these famous capitals now.
The reality of the situation is that many Europeans have been so busy condemning Israel that they’ve ignored the ticking time bomb that is now part of their cities. Muslim extremists have taken over neighborhoods across Europe, and these areas will occasionally erupt in violence.
The fact is that many people across Europe have lost their lives in terrorist attacks – activities carried out by Muslims, not Israelis. Just recently, a British solder was savagely killed in London, a French soldier in Paris was stabbed, and Sweden was the site of terrorist activity.
All of these attacks were carried out in the name of Islam. None of these – and other – attacks are surprising. There have been warning signs for years.
Last year, for example, there were shootings in two French communities. French soldiers and members of the Jewish community were murdered in these attacks. And we cannot forget the 2005 bombings in London, attacks in which 52 people were killed and more than 700 injured.
Still, for some bizarre reason, many Europeans aren’t willing – or able – to realize what’s really happening. They continue pointing accusatory fingers at Israel while Muslim extremists continue attacking their own communities. It’s all unexplainable and frustrating.
The world has truly gone mad. Hopefully, the truth will soon win out and the bloodshed will stop. Hopefully, the world will soon recognize the problem isn’t Israel.
Noga Gur-Arieh visited the U.S. to work at Camp Coleman after finishing her military service in the IDF. She is now back in Israel, working as a journalist.