The best weapons to end terrorism

Should Western governments battling extremism take a leaf out of Norway's book? Emily Hohler reports.

The recentterrorist shootings at a satirical magazine in Paris "followed a familiar pattern", says Philip Johnston in The Daily Telegraph. There was horror, followed by outrage that the gunmen should have targeted that tenet of Western democracy, freedom of expression.

Then came defiance, exemplified by the 1.6-million-strong march in Paris attended by "grim-faced world leaders".

Next, there were calls for more anti-terror measures. David Cameron is suggesting greater surveillance powers even though this would have made no difference in Paris, where the terrorists were already known to police.

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Thankfully, that's unlikely to happen. In the past when governments have tried to ratchet up security, ministers have had to "row back" once proposals were tested in Parliament or the courts.

In the end, vigilance and acting on intelligence are the best weapons "not more laws that undermine the very freedoms we seek to defend".

But do we take full advantage of those freedoms? asks Boris Johnson in the same paper. It is "striking" that the UK media hasn't published the drawings that provoked this atrocity, and I'm afraid this is not out of "old-fashioned good manners" but fear. It is, agrees David Aaronovitch in The Times.

"A reason Charlie Hebdo could be singled out for attack is because the rest of us have been cowards. There should... be satires on Islam as on Christianity, as on capitalism, as on Russell Brand." There aren't, mostly because editors worry that "some demented Godnik" will turn up at their door with a "carving knife". The recentevents should embolden us.

The "deal for living together" is tolerance, and the tolerance that allows Muslims or Methodists the freedom to practise their religion is the same that allows their religion to be "criticised or even ridiculed You live here, that's what you agree to. You don't like it, go somewhere else."

This is a "dangerous moment", says Owen Jones on France is home to around five million Muslims who live "disproportionately" in poverty, often in "ghettoised banlieues". Many feel alienated and discriminated against.

The favoured targets of Europe's far-right, including France's Front National, are Muslims, and Islamophobes are "seizing this atrocity to advance their hatred", saying Islam is responsible. They wish to "homogenise" Muslims even though many victims of Islamic extremists are Muslim (including one of thevictims).

We must remember that "vengeance and hatred" serve Islamic fundamentalists well, says Jones, by attracting support for their cause. And there is a choice.

Following the mass shooting on the island of Utoya in Norway three years ago, carried out by Anders Breivik to stop the "Islamisation" of Norway, the official response was not clampdowns and retribution but, in the words of the prime minister, "more democracy, more openness and more humanity".

This enlightened response should serve as a model. "It would be the last thing the attackers would want us to do."

Emily Hohler

Emily has extensive experience in the world of journalism. She has worked on MoneyWeek for more than 20 years as a former assistant editor and writer. Emily has previously worked on titles including The Times as a Deputy Features Editor, Commissioning Editor at The Independent Sunday Review, The Daily Telegraph, and she spent three years at women's lifestyle magazine Marie Claire as a features writer for three years, early on in her career. 

On MoneyWeek, Emily’s coverage includes Brexit and global markets such as Russia and China. Aside from her writing, Emily is a Nutritional Therapist and she runs her own business called Root Branch Nutrition in Oxfordshire, where she offers consultations and workshops on nutrition and health.