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Just over a year ago (last October) I wrote an article entitled ‘Is Jihadism Becoming Accepted?” (google to read it in full). After the Paris attacks of last week, and given the length and intensity of the reaction to them, I believe I am justified in recycling some quotes from it.

“During this process of Islamisation…” I began “…a good way of gauging the will to resist in the general population is to monitor the speed of recovery after each individual Muslim outrage; that is, how long it takes for the public to resume its usual apathetic mood after being shocked anew by a terror attack or comparable scandal involving Muslims…”

I then gave a brief history of terror outrages (against Western targets), noting that each reaction was briefer than the one before… “The pattern here is obvious: Years, then months, then weeks, then days… Jihadism – it seems – is becoming assimilated into everyday Western life. This is potentially devastating and for several reasons…Most of all it is because shock and anger are integral to the psychology of human resistance.”

Now, a question: Do you believe the reaction to the Paris attacks of this month has been more proactive, severe or long-lasting than the reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings of last January? Personally, I don’t believe so.

Indeed, facebook gimmicks and a few cruise missiles aside, there has been very few political consequences. While, for 24 hours or so, the world was undoubtedly transfixed on the Bataclan carnage, a few days more reduced the event to fish and chip paper. Compare this to the years of outrage over 9/11, the months of outrage over 7/7, the weeks of outrage over Lee Rigby, and the 5 or 6 days of outrage over Charlie Hebdo. While more people dislike – even hate – Muslims than ever before, there is a diminishing vibrancy and intelligence in their emotions. Perhaps needless to say, this is gravely worrying.

Whatever else can be said about Muslims, one cannot say that they are forgetful. Indeed, we are still being attacked in retribution for the re-conquest of Andalusia, the Balfour declaration and the publishing of the Satanic Verses. Muslims remember. They hold grudges. The Western mind, by contrast, is easier to distract than the mind of toddler loaded up on Jelly beans. Whether to facebook, twitter, youtube, xbox or football, Western attention flees from unpleasant realities, having given them only the briefest glance in the first place.

This must change if we are to survive. If terrorism becomes an accepted part of our culture and everyday lives, we will lose the will to do anything decisive or conclusive about it. Religious violence is not acceptable in the modern world, and nor is it inevitable, natural or ‘the way things go’. It is exceptional, horrid and shocking and must remain so to our imagination.

D, LDN

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