People pay their respects to those who were murdered
People pay their respects to those who were murdered in Brussels

by Robert Singer, CEO and executive vice-president of the World Jewish Congress.

The terror attacks that struck Brussels on Tuesday came as a shock, but perhaps not a surprise. They are just the latest carnage in a bitter war being waged by jihadist fanatics against the world, their battlefield now sadly all too common in Western cities. 

What we know so far is that the two attacks in Brussels were planned and carried out by the same people that were behind the Paris attacks of last November. What we don’t know is if there are more people in this terror cell ready to blow themselves up in order to cause a maximum number of casualties.

 Robert Singer (Chair), Chief Executive of World Jewish Congress

Robert Singer (Chair), Chief Executive of World Jewish Congress

It’s clear that we can’t continue doing business as usual as these attacks rage across the world. We need more international cooperation in the fight against Islamist terrorism.  

We need countries such as Turkey and Israel to work together – these countries are faced with similar threats, as evidenced by last Saturday’s attack in Istanbul and the countless stabbings over recent months in Israel.

We need a United Nations that rises to the challenge, stops its obsession with slamming Israel and instead focuses on delivering to the peoples of this world what they really need: a solution to the security threats they are faced with. The UN could do a lot if only it was willing to change its ways. 

We also need to reinforce police and strengthen intelligence services on the national and supranational levels so that they can do better in preventing terror attacks. A lot more resources need to be allocated there, and certain hesitations must be overcome.

We must to know what is going on inside mosques, and it is intolerable that within so many Islamic communities in Europe preachers of hatred incite against Western values. Any such establishments must be put under tight watch by the authorities or shut down.

However, albeit important, it won’t be sufficient to just have more police or military patrolling the streets, to improve border controls, to install extra security at airports, etc. We also need to prevent the emergence of ‘parallel societies’. 

The support network for jihadist groups, which obviously exists, must be identified and dismantled. Home-grown jihadists must be stopped from travelling freely to Syria and returning in the guise of refugees. In 2016, we ought to be able to track the movement of these people.

At the same time, migrants, refugees and survivors of war must be properly integrated into our societies. They must be educated and given the tools to build status and become fully-fledged members of our societies, and not be regarded as foreigners forever. Europe cannot afford another generation of radicalized youth being raised in its midst.

It must be said that the United States has been much more successful at integrating its migrants, and providing them ground to become proud and contributing residents. In Europe, all too often the attitude prevails that once a migrant, always a migrant.

The most important thing is to cut the tree from its roots, to oppose the Islamist and jihadist ideologies on all fronts, to educate people, especially young Muslims, and finally, to ensure that the senseless killing of people is stopped wherever it takes place – especially in Syria and Iraq, the breeding ground for more terror and hatred, but also in Israel. 

We all know by now that any country, any citizen can become a target of these terrorists. Therefore, all countries must unite to defeat the terrorists and the ideology that inspires them.  

The war against this form of terror is a fight of good against evil. It can be won, but we must not shy away from rising against the sword, and deploying all the means we have at our disposal.