Europe Confronts Its Clash of Civilizations

Suddenly—and belatedly—leaders are willing to admit that extreme interpretations of Islam are a problem.

“…Hans-Georg Maassen, who heads the German internal-security agency, in recent weeks has warned reporters of the current “virulent” danger of terrorist attacks on the country. He put the number of Salafists in Germany at 8,650 and growing “almost daily.” And he said young Muslim refugees, embodying an “immense potential for radicalization,” were a specific target of Salafist recruiters. Germany, unlike France and Britain, has escaped Islamist terrorist attacks so far.

The Salafists? Gilles Kepel, a prominent French Arabist, described them this way: “Not every Salafist is a jihadi (holy warrior), but every jihadi is a Salafist.” For Mr. Valls, active Salafist groups “are in the process of winning the ideological and cultural battle within French Islam.” And, he has said, “The battle for the Republic and secularity has been abandoned.”

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