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EU's White Knight Syndrome: Sleepwalking to Islamic Extremism

Last month, more than 1000 islamists held a shameful anti-democratic and anti-German demonstration in Hamburg, Germany. They paraded through the streets, calling the German government a “dictatorship of values”. Certain signs were spotted calling for the establishment of a caliphate in Germany. 

The demonstration sent political shockwaves throughout Germany and Europe. However, this incident is one of many that have unfolded across Europe, from Sweden, to Germany, from the UK to Turkey. There are many other examples that are not named here.  The rise of and persistent presence of groups and individuals that support Islamism raises a serious question: has Europe done this to itself?

I think yes, and White Knight Syndrome is to blame. 

White Knight Syndrome is the powerful urge to help others, whether they are in need of help or not, at the cost of your own health. Dr. Marilyn J. Krieger and Dr. Mary C. Lamia in their book The White Knight Syndrome (2015) first described the syndrome, intended for use in psychology. 

However, the syndrome is useful in describing political institutions, particularly in Europe, where certain member states of the European Union promote open borders to help those in need while deteriorating the quality of life of their own citizens. 

With the upcoming EU elections just a month away, exit polls from across Europe indicate a rise of conservative-christian parties and groups or the so-called far-right. The rise of these parties may well result in Islamophobia and discrimination against minority groups. But, what is the solution? Well, the EU, as a whole, has to take a stricter stance against Islamic extremism. This is because the rise in conservative-christian parties comes in part as a response to islamic extremists, who rally against the foundational values of Europe.

What happened in Hamburg led me to dig deeper. The organiser behind this march was Joe Adabe Boateng, a prominent Islamic figure with a steady following on social media. He is the leader of Muslim Interaktiv, a controversial radical group that uses the excuse of combating Islamophobia to promote other agendas. 

Judging by the volume of hate targeted at the German government, the agenda in Hamburg was loud and clear. The demonstration took place under the auspices of unity against Islamophobia and against Germany’s decision to continue supporting Israel. However, many attending the demonstration were far more extreme. As a result, harsh criticism was the immediate response, with lawmakers condemning the demonstration.

A plethora of German politicians were quick to denounce, calling for immediate punishment for all those that threaten German democracy by demanding the implementation of Sharia Law. Alexander Dobrindt, leader of Bavaria’s Christian Social Union and the official opposition to Olaf Scholz Chancellery, was the first to condemn the demonstration. Dobrindt suggested prison sentences and the German citizenship to attendees emphasising that in Germany the rule of law is followed, not the rule of theocracy. 

Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, who is a member of the ruling Social Democrats, urged the Hamburg police to undergo investigations for criminal offences that occurred during the rally. Meanwhile, Green party politician and Economy Minister Robert Habeck, pointed out that the demonstration directly questioned the principles of the German Republic, principles that are embedded in the constitution of the country. 

The entire political spectrum expressed their condemnation alongside foreign diplomats, all of whom saw the demonstration as incompatible with European freedom and democracy.

The United Arab Emirates ambassador in Germany, Ahmed Allatar, commented on social media that the rally was incomprehensible and unacceptable. In his own words as posted on social media platform X: 

“It is unbelievable, unacceptable and incomprehensible how people who have found a home in Germany are turning against Germany. But that is typical of political Islamists”. 

The united condemnation brought to mind the words of the Emirati Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who in 2017 made a prophetic speech. The viral video has resurfaced after the Hamburg incident and seven years later it is worrying how right he was. In his own words:

“There will come a day when we will see far more radicals, extremists and terrorists coming out of Europe because of a lack of decision-making, trying to be politically correct, or assuming that they know the Middle East, that they know Islam, that they know the others far better than we do. And I’m sorry but that’s pure ignorance”.

Europe faces a situation created by those pretending to be more knowledgeable than Muslim majority nations. Europe now suffers because of its fear of being politically incorrect, beholden to White Knight Syndrome. Europe believes it must play saviour so much that it has allowed islamist extremism to arise across major European cities. 

Rightly, the German government would immediately issue arrest warrants and take a large-scale action to uncover any fascist cells that pose a threat to democracy. It’s clear, governments must take action to stop radical Muslims who promote a political ideology that opposes freedom and democracy. 

Political Islam has no place in Europe. It goes without saying, there must be protections for minorities, respect for the religion of Islam and an avoidance of Islamophobia and hate crime. That is what Europe stands for. However, we must draw a line. At the moment the German domestic security service has labeled Muslim Interaktiv as an extremist group, yet no action has been taken to dismantle it.

Europe thinks of itself as everyone's saviour, but not everyone deserves to be saved. We must condemn and take immediate action against demonstrations like the one in Hamburg, in order to prevent the rise of political Islam. There must be an equal reaction to every group that threatens our democracies, regardless of political or religious background. 

When we are silent and look the other way we create two groups. People who have lost patience and turn to fascism and religious fanatics who support sharia law and the establishment of a caliphate like we have seen in Hamburg. 

In times like these, we must not forget Karl Popper’s Paradox of Tolerance. In order to have a tolerant society in Europe, we must have a political structure that will be intolerant towards any group that promotes intolerant conditions in an already tolerant society.

Image: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

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