German authorities are baffled: a knife-wielding man, identified in the German media as “Jibril A.,” stabbed three people to death and injured five others in Würzburg, Germany, on Friday. Police and intelligence officials have no idea why he did it. Yes, he was screaming, “Allahu akbar!” during his attacks, and yes, he told police interrogators after he was arrested that he had now carried out his “jihad,” but really, what does that even mean? The German-language Tagesspiegel reported Saturday that “the motive for the fatal knife attack in Würzburg on Friday has still not been fully clarified.” Of course it hasn’t. After all, Islam is a religion of peace!
According to Tagesspiegel, Bavaria’s Interior Minister, Joachim Herrmann, said that “it must now be determined to what extent the psychological condition of the 24-year-old Somali played a role.” Hermann revealed that “his condition had been noticed in recent months, including violent tendencies, and a few days ago he was put into compulsory psychiatric treatment.”
Hermann did acknowledge that Jibril’s screams of “Allahu akbar” and identification of his act as a “jihad” do suggest “a possible Islamist motive, and that is also part of the investigation,” but it’s clear that German authorities are favoring the idea that Jibril is mentally ill over the possibility that he is a jihad terrorist. German government spokesman Steffen Seibert tweeted Saturday: “The investigation will reveal what the motive was of the gunman from #Würzburg. One thing is certain: His horrific act is directed against all humanity and every religion. All thoughts and prayers are with the seriously injured and the families of the victims in their pain today.”
Those thoughts and prayers are no doubt going to go a long way toward fixing this problem, but Seibert’s claim that Jibril’s attack was against “all humanity and every religion” is hard to square with the attacker’s own claim that he was engaging in a “jihad.” Jihad is a theological concept in the Islamic religion that involves, among other things, warfare against non-Muslims until they accept the hegemony of Islamic law, which mandates a detailed and institutionalized second-class status for those outside the Islamic fold. The Islamic holy book, the Qur’an, tells Muslims: “Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, and do not practice the religion of truth, even if they are of the People of the Book [that is, primarily Jews and Christians] — until they pay the jizya [a poll tax] with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.” (9:29) And more succinctly: “Fight them, till there is no persecution and religion is all for Allah.” (8:39)
The idea that the Islamic religion might contain exhortations to wage war against unbelievers, however, is not something that Joachim Herrmann, Steffen Siebert, and other German officials are prepared to accept. If the Merkel government accepted that notion, it would be testifying publicly to the utter folly of having brought in millions of Muslim migrants without making the slightest effort to determine whether they hold such views or not. Other European countries, as well as the U.S. and Canada, are in the same boat: to admit that a man who stabs people to death while screaming “Allahu akbar,” who then explains that this was his “jihad,” might be motivated by texts and teachings of the Islamic religion would call into question so many of their domestic and foreign policies that the political elites in the various countries are simply unwilling to consider the possibility. As far as they’re concerned, to do so would be tantamount to committing political suicide.
And so this absurd comic opera plays out in Germany yet again, as it has numerous other times. Just weeks ago in Hamburg, a knife-wielding Muslim screaming “Allahu akbar” threatened motorists and attacked police, who ignored his exclamation (which means “Allah is greater” and is a declaration of Islam’s superiority over other religions) and claimed that his motive was “not determined.” The following week, in neighboring Austria, a Muslim migrant dragged a police officer 50 meters with his car, while waving a Qur’an; despite his book recommendation, however, police said his motive was “unclear.” Around the same time in France, a man who was known to practice what was described as a “rigorist version of Islam” and who was known to the police stabbed a police officer, who ignored his Islamic rigorism and declared that his motive was “unclear.”
I could multiply such examples endlessly, but they all work the same way: a man commits an act of violence and makes it abundantly clear that he did so in obedience to and in accord with Islam’s teachings of jihad warfare against unbelievers. Authorities then ignore these statements and profess utter bafflement as to why this good fellow would do such a thing. Then do it again next week. And the week after that. And on and on and on, until these self-deceptions collapse of their own weight. But how many more people will have to be killed before that happens?