Oct 18, 2023

Killings in Brussels – all Islamists want to destroy our democracy

At the time of writing an ISIS terrorist has just been neutralised by Belgian police. Brussels nevertheless remains at Level 4 alert – the highest level. He had fatally shot two innocent Swedish civilians yesterday evening (October 16) and injured another. Witnesses and video footage confirm his cries of “Allahu Akhbar” as he carried out his attack, the same words used by Hamas terrorists (or according to the BBC, ‘militants’) as they raped, dismembered and murdered their way through southern Israel in that unspeakable horror.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that “Europe has been shaken”. Really? Is anyone here surprised at all? For years there has been a global coalition of no less than 83 countries whose purpose is to diminish ISIS’ military capability, territorial control, leadership, financial resources, and online influence.

How is that going? There can be little doubt that ISIS is not the threat it once was. But it is very much still a threat. No-one is sure how many lone wolves or sleeper cells are ready for the call to kill, as we witnessed last night here in Brussels. What we can be sure of is that Hamas is ISIS. Both ISIS and Hamas are driven by extremist ideologies rooted in radical interpretations of Islam. While their ultimate goals differ – ISIS seeks to establish a global Caliphate, while Hamas focuses on the Palestinian cause – they both manipulate religious narratives to justify their violent actions.

Hamas is not only active in the middle east; it is developing influence and capability globally through proxy organisations which appear to be legitimate and operate in plain view. The Popular Council for Palestinians Abroad (PCPA), for example, was established in 2017 by a group of Hamas activists in Istanbul. Erdogan’s tolerance towards and indulgence of Hamas operatives is well known. The PCPA is now based in Germany and works actively as a front to support and promote the ideology and goals of Hamas, not to mention glorify its unspeakable atrocities against Israel.

Most of PCPA’s steering personnel comes from the background of different European organizations defined by Western researchers and security agencies as deeply connected to HAMAS, such as Palestinian Forum in Britain, Palestinian Return Centre (UK), and Palästinensische Gemeinschaft in Deutschland (PGD, Germany). One of PCPA’s leaders, Majed Alzeer, was proscribed by Israel as a Hamas operative way back in 2010.

It is time that the EU takes the next step and adds Hamas proxies and named associated individuals to the requisite proscribed lists. The EU cannot take the risk of tolerating eulogizing the terrorist cause of Hamas, amplifying its Islamist message, and promoting murderous radicalisation. The PCPA and its likes must be banned. So must Samidoun and its Belgium-based leader Mohammed Khatib who, two days ago at another hate-filled rally in Brussels, said that he “celebrated” what Hamas had done. How can the Belgian state permit such brazen support for terrorism?

Hamas is ISIS. Hamas is PCPA. Hamas is Samidoun. All want to destroy the west. All want to liquidate Israel. All pose a clear and present danger to European citizens. What needs to be done? There needs to be a global coalition against Hamas. It is as simple as that. Just as the US took the lead in the fight against ISIS, President Biden should now use his initiative to do the same against Hamas.

The EU and leaders of member states have no hesitation in lecturing Israel about its obligations to combat Hamas according to the precepts of ‘international and humanitarian law’. Yet a report from the monitoring group Airwars indicates that the civilian death toll in the coalition’s actions against ISIS ranges from between 8,300 to 13,000 in Iraq and Syria by coalition actions. No doubt none of these casualties were targeted as combatants by the coalition. No doubt. We await the intense scrutiny of so-called human rights organisations to hold culpable states to account in the same way that they will eagerly hold Israel to account. The double standards of Amnesty, HRW and the UN will all too soon be evident once again.

A week ago, IMPAC worked with one concerned MEP, Cristian Terhes, to organise in the parliament the first event to address the invasion by Hamas. We called it ‘Countering Hamas – united against terrorism’. MEPs from five of the six major political groups attended. They heard first hand from people in Israel about the atrocities.  If Europe was (rightly) shaken by two ISIS Islamist murders in Brussels, how should it be affected by hundreds and hundreds of Hamas Islamist murders in Israel, including EU dual nationals?

MEPs answered this question: ban Hamas proxies, cut funding to Hanas-linked organisations facilitating hatred, establish a coalition to destroy Hamas, expose the evil hand of Iran.

There can be no peace with Hamas, just as there cannot be peace with ISIS. Hamas is ISIS. You must not, cannot tolerate the devil, let alone try to make peace him.

Nigel Goodrich is CEO of IMPAC, a Brussels-based international NGO working with EU institutions and UNESCO to promote dialogue as a means to build cultural bridges and combat intolerance.

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