Freedom or Terror: Europe Faces Jihad (Hoover Institution Press Publication)

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9780817911140: Freedom or Terror: Europe Faces Jihad (Hoover Institution Press Publication)

In his analysis of Europe's ambivalence toward jihadist terror and the spread of aggressive Islamism, with particular emphasis on the European responses—or lack thereof—to this violent anti-modernism, Russell A. Berman describes how some European countries opt for appeasement and apologetics, whereas others muster the strength to defend their way of life and stand up for freedom. He describes a complex continent of different nations and traditions to further our understanding of the range of reactions to Islamism.

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From the Inside Flap:

In September 2001, Europeans might have felt comfortable in thinking that Al-Qaeda was only a scourge to the United States; some presumably indulged in the unkind speculation that the United States had only itself to blame. That innocence is now gone. Europeans have faced their own terror: the bombings in Madrid and London, the suitcase bomb in Germany and the Sauerland trial, the riots in France, the anti-Danish violence, and repeated threats against politicians and intellectuals who dared speak out. Europe, however, has discovered its homegrown problem and is working to find a response to terrorism. But the European response has been by no means monolithic, instead being complex, varying from country to country and across the political spectrum.

In Freedom or Terror, Russell A. Berman looks at the varying European responses to Islamist terrorism. In individual chapters he examines the responses of England, France, Germany, Bosnia, and the smaller nations: Belgium, Holland, and Denmark. Each country addresses the issues in light of its particular institutions and national history. Yet, the author reveals, the erosion of established religious faith in the large secularist swaths of Europe, combined with the spread of a consumer culture, has weakened traditional value structures. The submersion of individual nations into the bureaucracy of the European Union, and the larger slide into globalization, has further weakened national cultures. The result is a postmodern culture of relativism, with few shared values and diminished symbols of national community, replaced by an ethos of multiculturalism and a reluctance to make "value judgments." The key question that remains: Can a Europe tied up by so many hesitations find the strength of will to face a determined enemy?

The war against Islamism in Europe is a war for free societies everywhere. Some Europeans are waging that war with dedication and seriousness. It is important that they win that war, despite the resistance they may face from other Europeans, distracted by other ideological commitments. The United States should support Europeans in their confrontation with violent Islamism, learn both from their errors and their accomplishments, and recognize their battle as our own.

From the Back Cover:

In the nearly ten years since 9/11, Europe has oscillated through a range of stances to the threat of Islamist terrorism. Some European soldiers have fought side by side with Americans in Afghanistan; Europeans have also shown leadership on other fronts, especially in their domestic counterterrorism efforts. But not all Europeans have stepped forward to defend democratic modernity against the jihadist challenge. Many in fact have been reluctant even to recognize the special character of the threat, let alone to resist it.

In this book, Russell A. Berman offers an analysis of Europe's ambivalence toward jihadist terror and the spread of aggressive Islamism, with particular emphasis on the European responses—or lack thereof—to Islamist terrorism. Berman describes how some European countries opt for appeasing and apologizing for terror, whereas others stand up for freedom. He presents an outline of a complex continent of different nations and traditions to further our understanding of the range of reactions to Islamism.

Ultimately, the author reveals, the question of European responses to Islamist terrorism is a question of culture: the confrontation of contemporary European culture with the cultural values of jihadist radicals. Whether Europe is truly up to the challenge will only become clear in the struggles of the next decade.

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