Don’t Blame Greece or the Muslim Community for the Paris Attacks
It was on November 14, 2015 that news broke that one (if not two) of the Paris attackers had transited through Greece, as a “refugee” with a Syrian passport. The Paris attacks, tragically, left 129 dead and 352 injured, and widespread rhetoric for and against Greece’s current handling of the refugee crisis has ensued.
Greek politicians have been blamed for allowing such terrorists to enter the country so easily. In opposition, individuals shouted at us not to blame Greece, as if coping with 5,000 daily refugee arrivals was not enough, although a better plan should be put in place. It was the Greek Minister for Migration, Giannis Mouzalas, who warned in early September 2015 that terrorists had indeed entered Greece. “It would be foolish to say that no jihadists entered the Greek border,” Mouzalas said. Faced with such an influx of refugees, one or two seemingly innocent individuals could slip through the cracks. No one would have thought they were conspirators in one of the most strategic and deadly terrorist attacks known in modern history.
A perhaps less well-known development is that at least 5 of the attackers believed to be involved in the Paris attacks were French nationals. In our current conflicts, it is sometimes easier to point fingers, to respond attack by attack, to crush the opposition or, as François Hollande said, to say that it is “an act of war” and that the Muslim community fears being retaliated against. against in individual efforts to achieve justice.
According to a Reuters report, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on RTL radio, “we are going to live with this terrorist threat for a long time”. Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the attacks in retaliation for French airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, warned in a video on Monday that any country that strikes it would suffer the same fate. French fighter jets bombarded Islamic State training camps, its biggest such strike since the assaults began as part of a US-led mission launched in 2014.
Continuing Reuters, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters that raiding French police had already arrested nearly two dozen people and seized weapons, including a rocket launcher and automatic weapons, during 168 raids overnight. Another 104 people have been placed under house arrest. “Let it be clear to everyone, this is just the beginning, these actions will continue,” Cazeneuve said.
Should we fight fire with fire? It hasn’t exactly worked in the past because the countries of Iraq and Afghanistan have proven it and people on the ground continue to flee. We must remember that this is not the first wave of immigrants forced out of civil unrest. In fact, it was Syria that was the refuge of many Greeks fleeing prosecution in 1923, after the disaster in Asia Minor, and during the forced exchange of population between Greece and Turkey, as agreed in the framework of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. It is possible that the future will force European nationals to flee the troubles again like those currently fleeing the Middle East, although we hope that history will write a different scenario.
The Paris attacks are an atrocity for Greece, its people and the general and collective world community. It is nonetheless an atrocity for the Muslim community. Stand in solidarity with the injured, those who have died and those who are still fighting for life, but also stand in solidarity with the true state of Islam. As the French Student Muslim Community (EMF) expressed in a video immediately after the “We Are United” attacks, We Are United.
If we don’t learn from history, we are in fact doomed to repeat it.