Islamic State ‘Homegrown’ Terrorism on the Rise in the West

Recent acts of ‘private terror’ in Canada and the US fall in line with Islamic State’s call to murder ‘infidels’ in the West, which may cause severe public response internationally.

MOSCOW, October 25 (RIA Novosti) — The Islamic State has found the unprecedentedly cheap and efficient method to spread terror in the developed nations, by encouraging ‘lone-wolf’ local sympathizers of the Jihadi cause to attack civilians and governmental buildings, and is evidenced by recent events in Canada, France, the US and Australia.

In its struggle to establish a worldwide Sunni caliphate, Islamic State has proclaimed murdering those who they consider ‘infidels’ and ‘apostate’ one of its fundamental targets. These include citizens of the nations that joined the US-led coalition, which is now conducting aerial operation against IS ground forces and infrastructure. “If you can kill a disbelieving American or European … or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be,” one of the Islamic State leaders, Abu al-Adnani, said in September as quoted by the Guardian. “Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict. Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling. Both of them are disbelievers.” Supporters of the Jihadi cause were quick to respond to the IS call to arms, and now the Middle East militants reach far beyond the region, spreading terror in the West via psychotic local residents ready to kill. As evidenced by the aftermath of the Ottawa and Montreal events, the IS new tactic is proven efficient. However, in response to the small-scale attempts at atrocities of terror, the general public in the US and elsewhere may feel the necessity to arm themselves in order to ensure the safety and well-being of their families, businesses and lifestyles.

We can see the escalating public angst emanating from activities related to Islamic State in the last several months; the recent attack of a lone gunman against the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, the Jihadi-fueled hit-and-run car accident in Montreal and reports by the Australian authorities of an extremist cell plotting public massacre.

Recruiting fighters in developed countries requires little effort on a Jihadist's part. They reach out to their target audience with videos and websites and via social media as well. Their anger and militant rhetoric, paired with a growing hatred among some people for their own societies, is causing the latter to become radicalized and plot death and destruction on their fellow citizens as their personal Jihad. This is how the relatively new phenomenon of ‘private’ terror works.

Now, the Islamic State is relying on local Muslim radicals and other supporters of the Jihadi cause in the Western societies. These people are ready to undertake attacks to support their plans to create discord among the ‘infidel’ nations. Most of the recruited fanatics act spontaneously, with no training, which means Islamic State does not have to spend time and resources to prepare the attackers the way, for instance, Al-Qaeda does. While these homegrown terrorists do not usually maim or kill anyone of importance, their acts of violence do achieve their goal of bringing terror home to the developed world.

As the US-led aerial campaign against IS advances in Iraq and Syria, the militants are becoming increasingly active on social media, addressing Muslims living in the West. And the message is changing, the New York Times reports. Hitherto, they used to say, “Come join the attack” as IS was hoping to quickly gain ground as a regular army. Now, as the allied airforce squashes them, they say, “We are being attacked and what are you doing? You are just sitting there!” said Mokhtar Awad of the Center for American Progress, as quoted by the paper. “They are trying to shame sympathizers,” he said. “'If you can’t join us over here, at least do what you can over there, ” he added.

Islamic State’s initial ambition was to act like a government of a state. However, as they are becoming weaker faced with a firm response from the West, they have incorporated a strategy of ‘private violence’, which will only increase in their future activities. "They don't have the capability to expand their campaign trans-nationally," Scott Stewart of Stratfor said, as quoted by Fox News. "These attacks give them some capability to wreak havoc in the West."

The Islamic State’s rhetoric is more radical and more deeply based in medieval Islamic mysticism. As a result, it attracts more unstable and hateful people in the West as supporters of their cause. Therefore, a wave of small-to-tiny-scale terrorist attacks may spread across the globe in attempts of all kind by psychotic people to lead their own Jihad against what they dislike in society. This wave may be a quite lengthy one. “Terrorism works by inducing states to go to extraordinary lengths to stop any efforts against them,” said Christopher Prable of the Cato Institute, as quoted by Fox.

However, Western societies may offer their own response to the new challenge in case their governments are not efficient enough in ensuring their safety. In the US, there has been a long-running arms control debate linked to the issue of crime and is now connected with the religion issue, as outlined in the America blog. Agitated by spontaneous creeping terrorist threats, the public may choose to arm themselves, as after the Ottawa shootings where there have been calls to arms and the establishment of so-called ‘Christian militias’, propagated by entities like Christian Action Network, the Daily Caller reports.  Such tendencies are likely to contribute to escalation of violence in the US, since it is not proven that ‘lone wolf’ terrorism may be efficiently contained by the Wild West attitude toward guns.


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