The west at war

Allah Akbar! — “Allah is great!” This cry has resounded all over the world through the videos that documented the violence of Islamic militants against women, children and young people of all nationalities, massacred or kidnapped on 7 October 2023, while an avalanche of rockets beat down on Israel. The same invocation — Allah Akbar! — rang out again in the days that followed in the Arab squares and on pro-Islamic western social media, to celebrate the aggression of Hamas against Israel. It matters little that this has taken place on Israeli rather than on European territory. What counts is that a new war has been declared.

The attack came at the dawn of a symbolic day for the west, the anniversary of the victory at Lepanto on 7 October 1571, just as the attack on the Twin Towers coincided with the anniversary of the liberation of Vienna from the Turks, which came about between 11 and 12 September 1683. Two emblematic events, which for Islam must be avenged through Jihad, or “holy war”, the doctrine that obliges every Muslim to bring the world under sharia, the religious and political law of Allah.

Islam is not a monolithic religion, but all of its branches agree on the need to fight against the corrupt west. In this struggle, Islam does not distinguish between Christians and Jews. 23 February 1998 saw the release of the Declaration of the World Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and the Crusaders, inspired and signed by Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. The first objective of the Islamic Front, as of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), is the reconquest of Jerusalem, the city from which the prophet Muhammad is said to have ascended in a chariot of fire, and where the Al-Aqsa Mosque stands, built on the ruins of the Temple. The second objective is the conquest of Rome, called the Kizil-Elma — “Red Apple” — in analogy with the golden globe that surmounted the statue of the emperor Constantine in the Byzantine capital. After Constantinople, Rome became the “Red Apple,” that is, the final destination of the triumph of Islam over Christianity.

Islam’s strategy of expansion foresees the migratory invasion of Europe and the destruction of the State of Israel. In the days of the attack on Israel, the “Alliance of Mosques” was born in Paris, the new association of Muslims all over Europe, inspired by the wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, which theorises the “soft jihad”, the “gentle” Islamisation of Europe. The Hamas attack of 7 October is instead a dramatic expression of the “hard jihad”, which involves terrorism and war. Behind the former strategic approach is Turkey, which controls the migratory flow into Europe and, for years, has aspired to become part of the European Union in order to dismantle it. Behind the latter approach is Iran, through its agents, Hamas and Hezbollah, which are pressing their siege to the south and north of the State of Israel.

On 5 October, a report was presented at Luiss University in Rome, produced by the Med-Or Foundation, on the topic, “Silent Enemy: The presence and evolution of the jihadist threat in the wider Mediterranean”. The report describes in detail the development of the jihadist phenomenon, operating in many areas of the wider Mediterranean, with particular attention on Africa, the main incubation area of this phenomenon. The Ukrainian conflict has monopolised international attention, but jihadism, the report warns, is part of a far-reaching operation to destabilise the west, in a geopolitical context in which Islam is not the only agent.

On 5 October, Vladimir Putin spoke at the twentieth assembly of the Valdai Discussion Club, a Russian think tank. In his keynote speech on “Fair multipolarity”, Putin spoke of the existence of an “ongoing war of civilisations” and appealed to the ties that Russia maintains with the Arab world, China and India to combat the hegemonic role of the west. Moreover, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict has revealed the existence of an internal front within Europe and the United States, which looks with favour upon Putin and criticises the western support for Ukraine. The idea of “enemies of the west” seems to be evaporating from the awareness of part of European public opinion. This attitude of benevolence towards the aggressors is one of the psychological factors that explain the debacle of the Israeli intelligence system, considered the most efficient in the world, but which proved incapable of foreseeing the attack of 7 October, due in part to having deluded itself about the possibility of dialogue between Israel and Hamas.

Meanwhile a third war-front is about to be opened in Taiwan, which China is preparing to invade. It will not be easy for the United States to simultaneously support its allies on multiple battlefields, in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. This is taking place a year from the American elections in which the stage has been set for a struggle between two candidates, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, worn out and crippled for various reasons. Meanwhile, in the European elections, the victory of a “third party” is looming, along the lines of the new Slovakian president Robert Fico and the possible French president Marine Le Pen, both determined to widen the gap between Europe and the United States. It is on the weakness of the west that its enemies are counting, especially after the shameful abandonment of Afghanistan in 2021, which marked a severe moral defeat for the United States and Europe. This weakness, before being political, is moral, having its root in the west’s loss of identity.

One tragically eloquent symptom of this waywardness is offered to us by the situation in which the Catholic Church finds itself today. In the meditation given on 1 October to the participants in the general assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Fr Timothy Radcliffe, former master general of the Dominicans, began by stating:

“When the Holy Father asked me to give this retreat, I felt enormously honoured but nervous. I am deeply aware of my personal limitations. I am old, white, a westerner, and a man! I don’t know which is worse! All of these aspects of my identity limit my understanding. So I ask for your forgiveness for the inadequacy of my words.”

The rejection of one’s identity as white, as a westerner, as a man (and why not also as a priest?) reveals the abyss into which the leaders of the Church are plunging in the face of an attack that is far worse than that of the barbarian invasions of the fifth and sixth centuries. Back then, the Church, guided by great pontiffs, did not abandon its post, while today it declines to carry out its mission.

A profound theological difference exists between Catholics and Jews, who in their denial of the Holy Trinity are more akin to Islam than to the Church of Rome, but what remains of Christian Europe is fighting against the same enemy as that of Israel. In the same way, Russia wants to take up the legacy of Constantinople, while Islam is the heir of the Turks who destroyed it, but today they have a common enemy. This enemy is the west: also the economic, political and military target of communist China, which lays claim to the errors of Marx and Lenin, spread by Russia throughout the world.

The confusion is dramatic and war, like natural disasters, seems to be gripping Europe in an inexorable encirclement. It is a “war of chaos” that cannot be escaped, as Vittorio Macioce wrote in Il Giornale (9 October): “It is a fate that pursues you house by house and touches Europe and Italy.”

Italy is the heart of the world, because it hosts the see of the Chair of Peter, which is the sole foundation of a possible rebirth of Christian civilisation. And it is necessary to remember, when all seems lost, that all is possible to God. We must believe this, with profound trust in Divine Providence, in one of the darkest hours of humanity’s history.