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One of the things about living in a highly multi-cultural area, as I do (in north Dublin city, probably the most multi-cultural district in the country) is that you get a salutary reassurance about how lucky you are. Immigrants, now living here, constantly tell me how fortunate we are here in Ireland because we have a functioning democracy, freedom of speech and worship, the rule of law and, crucially, a lack of corruption, despite what some of our purists say.

‘You don’t fear the police everyday – and that they will kick the door down’ I am told by a man, who comes from a place where this does happen – all the time.

However, we take these liberties for granted, even though they are hard won, and slowly gained. And we take their defence even more for granted. Those appeasers who said during the Communist era that we should seek ‘peaceful co-existence’ with the other political culture usually ignored the fact that the other culture was out to encroach upon our world, and ultimately destroy it. This is aside altogether from the fact that we are surely morally obliged to free others from such ideological tyranny. In the end, Communism collapsed and there is nobody, except a few Cuban dreamers and North Koreans, who want to see it restored.

Now we are living in a similarly threatened world except one that is even more dangerous in that the threat is no longer of another country or bloc, but of rogue units and enraged individuals who seek not to conquer via their violence, or persuade, but simply do damage and create havoc. We face the threat, not of an invading army, but a ‘lone wolf attack’ in a televisual age. The danger is that, as with Communism, we could over-react, like the US did during the Cuban crisis, or even 9/11 when it went after the wrong foe.

However, in other respects, the US has remained vigilant and defended itself, and now Europe must do likewise. But it also means that we will have to sacrifice some freedoms and comfort to ensure that we retain our broader freedom and protected way of life. We will have to expect increased surveillance, and online eavesdropping and at times a more obtrusive police and military presence. Those who get exercised about this Big Brother aspect should realise that we are already increasingly watched and monitored by Google, by street and shop cameras, and by mobile phone signals, and yet it doesn’t seem to bother most people

This surveillance will also have to be accepted by much of the muslim community, and even more so by them. Yes, the likes of ISIS and Al Qaeda do not represent most muslims, but they are an Islamic phenomenon which thrives on Islamic radicalism and discontent and so, for the muslim community itself, this surveillance should be increased. This is very important: an increasingly watchful atmosphere protects, firstly, the muslim community itself which has suffered the most from Islamic extremism. But secondly, it protects the broader society.

In the multicultural community that I encounter every day, at the school gate, are many muslims and so, ironically, the freedoms of which they speak of may have to be protected by more surveillance of them – and of the rest of us. But we all accept that. Interestingly, they do not seem threatened, or embarrassed by the Paris events. Though muslim, they come mainly from non-Arab countries, but they know that radical Islam is now a global threat.

We have a chance to do this right. In English cities, like Bradford and Leicester, the prevailing ‘live and let live’ culture has led to the creation of ethnic ghettos in which militant imams and madrassas (pop-up ‘schools’) are out of reach of supervision or even understanding by the mainstream culture. Except these phenomena are not ‘live and let live’ themselves – they reject the very culture in which they grew up. It is the same in France in the banlieues (suburbs) and, as for Brussels, who’d have thought that within a taxi ride of the EU institutions there lurked some home-grown jihadis dedicated to mass murder?

And ‘home grown’ is the key. Shockingly, the 7/7 bombers who attacked London, for example, did not fly in from war-torn Syria or Iraq, but were from Leeds and Aylesbury : so-called ‘clean skins’ unknown to police and raised in a perhaps too permissive, too security-lax Western society.

This was ten years ago, and yet Europe is only now waking up to the threat of ‘insider’ Islamic terrorism after the game changer that was Paris. The French government has shown the way with a robust and determined reaction, but all of us will have to forfeit some privacy and liberty if we want to protect and cherish the Western way that we live.

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