The Corner

National Security & Defense

Jihad in London: A Few Thoughts About ‘Love”

This just happened in London:

A van driving at high speed mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge late Saturday night before the occupants got out and began stabbing patrons at nearby bars and restaurants, witnesses said in an attack that police described as the latest in a string of deadly terrorist strikes to hit Britain this spring.

Witnesses described a rampage that left a trail of bloodied bodies on the bridge and in the adjacent Borough Market — both of which are London landmarks.

The low-tech but high-profile attack will raise questions about how British security services failed to stop yet another mass casualty strike after years of thwarting such attempts.

Police said in a 4 a.m. news conference on Sunday that six people had been killed, and that officers had shot dead the three attackers. London Ambulance Service issued a statement saying it had taken more than 30 patients to five hospitals.

If the past is any guide, the next few days will feature (once again) a lot of talk about love, including lots of folks saying that “love will triumph over hate” or that “love can’t give in to hate.” A bit of moral clarity is in order.

It is right and necessary to cover the victims and their families with love and support — not just tomorrow but in the days and weeks and years to come. Innocent men and women will be scarred and traumatized for the rest of their lives. They should be loved and supported for the rest of their lives.

It is right and necessary for individuals to continue to love their neighbors, but they should not be naive about their neighbors — some of them are jihadist murderers or support jihadist murderers. 

Consequently, it is also “loving” to wake up to the reality of jihad and its pervasiveness within certain Muslim communities. You are not loving your neighbor if you believe lies, and your belief of lies makes you and your nation more vulnerable to evil.

Finally, a nation that refuses to adequately protect its citizens does not love its citizens. Britain is a great nation, and there was a time when its greatness manifested itself in decisive and courageous force against the most terrible foes. There is much courage in Britain still. Will its government care enough about its citizens to unleash that courage against its mortal enemies?

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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