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Islamic Extremism on the Rise in Europe

French and American security analysts maintain thatEuropehas allowed itself to become a hotbed for radical Islam. The involvement of British Muslims in the London bombings, along with the killing of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a radical Dutch Muslim of Moroccan descent, have raised concerns that Jihadist Islam is penetrating Europe not only through new immigrants but also by appealing to European-born Muslims. These young Muslims are willing to become suicide bombers and assassins in their place of birth, and not just in far-off conflict zones such asIraq, Kashmir, orAfghanistan.

A study by Robert Leiken, director of National Security Studies at the Nixon Centre, found, that out of the 373 Jihadists that he studied, around a quarter were European Union citizens. Matthew Levitt, director of Terrorism Studies at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, in a testimony before Congress, said that “The rise of jihadist movements in Europe is alarming, not only because of the threat such movements pose to our European allies but because Europe has served as a launching pad for terrorists plotting attacks elsewhere.” There are currently around 15 million Muslims living inEurope, and they make around 3 percent of the European Union population. The Muslim community in Europe, which began arriving in the 1960s and 1970s, is growing at a rate of 7 percent a year in Austria, Spain, Sweden, Italy and Denmark.

The French were the first Europeans to endure Islamic terrorism, a legacy of their colonial past, and there are currently around 5 million Muslims living inFrance, making itEurope’s largest Muslim community. Following a number of Islamic terrorist attacks, the French passed legislation, which allows police to enter any mosque or Islamic prayer hall, deport imams that preach hate, such as Algerian cleric Abdelhamid Aissaoui.Francehas expelled ten radical imams since September 2002, according to police sources.Francealso does not grant asylum to Islamic extremists wanted in their home countries, many of whom found asylum inBritain, much to French chagrin.

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