We write this Discussion Point on July 25, 2016, in the shadow of a week of violence in Europe. After the attack in Nice, there have been three brutal attacks in Germany: the train attack in Wurzburg by an immigrant from Afghanistan, the killing of a woman by a Syrian refugee in Reutlingen, and a suicide-bombing in Ansbach by a Syrian refugee whose application for asylum had been rejected. It is not yet clear whether the German attacks were motivated by politics—in perceived defense of Islam—or by mental health and other personal problems.
In any case, these relentless reminders of jihadi terrorism, amplified by social media, are echoed in politicians’ rhetoric about winning the war on terrorism. Here we consider potential consequences of the more inflammatory rhetoric that uses terrorism as an argument for greater exclusion of Muslims from the West. We ask why the Islamic State is eager to support and claim attacks in Europe, and why the IS strategy is so powerful yet so hard to see.
McCauley, Clark and Sophia Moskalenko. 2016. "Another Look at Jujitsu Politics." START (August). https://www.start.umd.edu/news/another-look-jujitsu-politics