The knife attack on two Americans at Amsterdam Central Station on Friday has now officially been considered a terrorist attack by the 19-year-old Afghan who commented on his motives. Strikingly, this terrorist attack took place shortly after the Taliban’s call to kill Dutch soldiers. The background was an initiative by Geert Wilders, who promoted a “cartoon competition” in order to caricature the Prophet Muhammad. Thus, 19-year-old Afghans Jawed S is either an actual Taliban member or, more likely, a Taliban sympathizer identifying with the Taliban and following their appeal.
It’s known since April last year, that among the Afghan refugees might have been people with a terrorist past, when thousands of them admitted themselves to being a member of the Taliban before coming to Europe. Certainly, this does not apply to most of them and simply has the background trying not to be deported, since members of the Taliban in Afghanistan threatens the death penalty. However, there are 70 cases that are being investigated by German authorities and six suspects who are in custody, suggesting that they were fighters or members of the Taliban.
It should not be forgotten that there was a similar case in August 2016, when a 17-year-old Afghan refugee attacked tourists with an axe and a knife in a regional train in Würzburg and severely injured three of them. Shortly before the attack, the 17-year-old Afghan recorded a video, where he swore allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group and presaged the attack.
There are different reports in the press regarding the choice of victims at Amsterdam Central Station. Sometimes it is said that they were not chosen randomly. But then again, the fact that Jawed S. Unconsciously accidentally caught two Americans among all the people at the Amsterdam train station seems rather unlikely. What is a possibility, however, is that the Americans were actually selected randomly after Jawed S went to the Netherlands and looked for attractive targets at the Amsterdam train station and then noticed the two Americans?
Such primitive terror attacks – as in this case where only a knife was used – follow the strategy of probably the most important jihad strategist Abu Musab Al-Suri in 2004 in his 1600 -page book ‘The Global Islamic Resistance Call’. His reasoning is simple and logical. Why plan complex terrorist attacks in larger groups that are often prevented by Western security agencies, especially because of their complex preparations, when there are easier ways to reach the goal? As a lone wolf without connoisseurs and with the most primitive means such as a knife, you can achieve at least psychologically almost the same effect as after a huge bomb attack.
The attack in Amsterdam, particularly highlights a problem that was more frequently discussed at European level at the beginning of the refugee crisis in 2015: the danger posed by immigrant terrorists migrating across Europe in the mass of genuine refugees. Because with a German residence permit, there is also freedom of travel in the Schengen area, which lasts up to three months. The inclusion of asylum seekers from war zones without security clearance challenges not just German security authorities, but also those of other European states. Depending on the political situation and the intensity of the fight against Islamist terrorism in the respective European country, there are frequent calls of attacks from terrorist organizations such as IS and Al Qaeda.
The groups call out for terrorist attacks in the country, increasing pressure on the government. Regardless of how well the respective country has its own Islamist scene under control, jihadists entering Germany legally threaten to become a security problem, as can be seen in the example of Amsterdam. This is further proof that it needs solutions at European level, and that Europe-wide freedom of movement must be accompanied by a European-wide security policy. Equally necessary is a unified European refugee policy, for the unilateral actions of individual European states endanger Europe’s entire security. The security policy must be coordinated across Europe to meet new challenges.
Final question: How is this attack to be assessed under Islamic law? It is a violation of countless Islamic commandments and cannot be classified as an attempted murder.
It should be noted that, according to Islamic law, any Muslim in an Islamic country can invite a non-Muslim, even without the permission of the state, to all four schools of law, and nobody should be allowed to bend this non-Muslim even a hair. In this case, Jawed S broke his contract with the Federal Republic, then went to the Netherlands and also violated the law, thereby severely wounding two completely innocent civilians with a knife.
On top of that, as a war refugee, he entered Germany, pretending to be peaceful and asking a Christian country to give him refuge from war and persecution. However, after being generously cared for, he cheats on his new home by trying to take the lives of innocent people. The first interrogations of the suspect, who has a German residence permit, showed that he had a terrorist motive.
Image source: The Time.
Analyst - Counter-Terrorism - Europe Desk (Germany)