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“It is not a question of if we will conquer Europe, just a matter of when that will happen. But it is certain … For us, there is no such thing as borders. There are only front lines.” These were the chilling words German journalist Jürgen Todenhöfer heard from an Islamic State militant during his recent, stunning visit behind those “front lines,” in Iraq and Syria. The militant was himself a German, one of hundreds of sympathizers joining the Islamic State’s ranks from Europe and the United States.
Todenhöfer, 74, who has been reporting from war zones for 50 years, got into the IS-controlled cities of Raqqa and Deir Ezzor in Syria, as well as Mosul in Iraq, according to reports on CNN and The Independent. Here are some excerpts:
Once within Isis territory, Todenhöfer said his strongest impression was “that Isis is much stronger than we think here,” He said it now has “dimensions larger than the UK,” and is supported by “an almost ecstatic enthusiasm that I have never encountered in any other warzone.” Isis’s fighters … number around 5,000 in Mosul, and are spread so widely that were the US to bomb them all “they would have to reduce the whole of Mosul to ruins,” he said.
Todenhöfer says that this ultimately means Isis cannot be beaten by Western intervention or air strikes – despite US claims last week that they have proven effective. “With every bomb that is dropped and hits a civilian, the number of terrorists increases,” he said. In his view, Isis will soon come to the West to negotiate a level of co-existence. “The only ones who could stop this now are the moderate Iraqi Sunnis,” he said, adding: “If you want to defeat an opponent, you must know him.”
Most concerning of all, he said, was Isis fighters’ belief that “all religions who agree with democracy have to die.” He said the view that kept being repeated was that Isis wants to “conquer the world” and all who do not believe in the group’s interpretation of the Quran will be killed. The only other religions to be spared, Todenhöfer said, were the “people of the book” – Jews and Christians. “This is the largest religious cleansing strategy that has ever been planned in human history,” he told [German network] RTL.
Commenting on the articles was US-based intelligence analyst Stephen C. Coughlin, who echoes the warning for the West that comes trhough in Todenhöfer’s reporting. “I think 2015 will witness an escalation of violence that will transition into the West (including the US) as well as in the Middle East to the point where it will break through media filters,” Coughlin told Aleteia. Until now, those “media filters” have downplayed the role of Islam in various incidents of violence in the US in recent years, he said.
“For example, very few are aware that the US Muslim Brotherhood was an active behind-the-scenes player in the Ferguson activities or that the Muslim convert who killed the two NYPD officers had Verse 8:60 on his Facebook.” Verse 8:60 of the Quran says “And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged”.
Rather than making the Islam connection apparent, the mainstream media often focus on the “mental instability” of suspects. “As with Major [Nidal Malik] Hasan [who fatally shot 13 people and injured more than 30 others in the Fort Hood mass shooting on November 5, 2009], who could not have been clearer of his jihadi intent, such actions are designated as the acts of an unstable actor that then makes an investigation into his motivations irrelevant (as he is crazy, what’s the point),” Coughlin said. “This happens across the board. The DC Sniper [John Allen Muhammad] was openly aligned with the goals of [al Qaeda,] for example.
“There are many reported news events of someone engaging in a ‘jihadi’ act in the US where the reporting will use the person’s birth name, then in one of the final paragraphs, note how he recently changed his name to an Islamic name owing to his recent conversion, state that it had nothing to do with his actions, and then discuss his mental health status. This happened in the Oklahoma beheading,” he said.
John Burger, news editor for Aleteia’s English edition.
December 23, 2014