They are dangerous and committed — and can enter the United States without a visa. So writes Robert S. Leiken in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, with thanks to Mark Krikorian.
Fox News and CNN’s Lou Dobbs worry about terrorists stealing across the United States’ border with Mexico concealed among illegal immigrants. The Pentagon wages war in the Middle East to stop terrorist attacks on the United States. But the growing nightmare of officials at the Department of Homeland Security is passport-carrying, visa-exempt mujahideen coming from the United States’ western European allies.
Jihadist networks span Europe from Poland to Portugal, thanks to the spread of radical Islam among the descendants of guest workers once recruited to shore up Europe’s postwar economic miracle. In smoky coffeehouses in Rotterdam and Copenhagen, makeshift prayer halls in Hamburg and Brussels, Islamic bookstalls in Birmingham and “Londonistan,” and the prisons of Madrid, Milan, and Marseilles, immigrants or their descendants are volunteering for jihad against the West. It was a Dutch Muslim of Moroccan descent, born and socialized in Europe, who murdered the filmmaker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam last November. A Nixon Center study of 373 mujahideen in western Europe and North America between 1993 and 2004 found more than twice as many Frenchmen as Saudis and more Britons than Sudanese, Yemenites, Emiratis, Lebanese, or Libyans. Fully a quarter of the jihadists it listed were western European nationals — eligible to travel visa-free to the United States.
The emergence of homegrown mujahideen in Europe threatens the United States as well as Europe. Yet it was the dog that never barked at last winter’s Euro-American rapprochement meeting. Neither President George W. Bush nor Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice drew attention to this mutual peril, even though it should focus minds and could buttress solidarity in the West…