When Journalists Become Terrorists

It is unfortunately not unheard of for certain journalists to exhibit sympathies for militant organizations or terrorists. It is more unusual for journalists to become terrorists themselves. We now have such a case.

On June 6, 2017, a hammer-wielding Algerian student attacked police officers outside the famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. Farid Ikken, 40, took one of the officers to the ground and wounded him before other policemen shot two bullets at him. Ikken was carrying kitchen knives in addition to a hammer.

Anti-terrorist police who later raided Ikken's flat found a video of him pledging his allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS). The French Interior Minister confirmed that Ikken shouted "This is for Syria!" as he struck the police officer. According to the news agency AFP, a spokesperson for the French government said the man had never shown any signs of radicalization. The attack is therefore being treated as an "isolated incident."

There seems to be many such "isolated incidents" happening during Ramadan, from Egypt to England.

The Swedish independent news website Fria Tider soon exposed that the suspected terrorist from Paris had previously worked as a journalist in Sweden, including for the national publicly funded radio broadcaster Radio Sweden (Sveriges Radio). Radio Sweden eventually confirmed that he had worked for them in 2010. Ikken was a freelance journalist employed for different media in Sweden for several years.

In 2009, Farid Ikken won an EU award for journalism against "discrimination." He is thus an award-winning journalist and a terrorist. The article for which he received this award dealt with asylum seekers who are not entitled to free medical care but who still receive it, courtesy of the local taxpayers. Ikken was pleased to see that such important topics as discrimination and diversity received positive attention from the EU.

Ikken had studied at Stockholm University and is thought to have married a Swedish woman during his time there. In 2017, he was enrolled as a doctoral student specializing in communication at Metz University in eastern France. Arnaud Mercier, his PhD supervisor, stated that he was completely stupefied by the attack as Mr Ikken "believed very much in journalistic ideals." Professor Mercier claims that he didn't have a beard and he didn't wear special clothes. The Swedish Security Service (Säpo) had no previous record of Ikken. A well-known French media and journalism researcher has described him as "meek as a lamb."

According to most reports, Ikken does not seem to have shown external signs of so-called radicalization before this attack. The mass media and the authorities stress this fact, seemingly in an attempt to reassure people. Have they considered the possibility that this actually makes matters worse, not better?

The attack in front of Notre Dame appears to be a case of what the author Daniel Pipes has dubbed "Sudden Jihad Syndrome." This term applies to Muslims who, without having previously shown clear signs of jihadism, suddenly attack, anyway. If Farid Ikken was indeed a so-called "moderate Muslim," his example illustrates that even so-called moderate Muslims may physically attack us.

The simple truth is that some allegedly moderate Muslims lie. The concepts of taqiyya and kitman allow Muslims to lie and falsify their intentions towards non-Muslims. This strategy is widely employed by Islamic terrorists.

Another possibility is that a moderate Muslim can suddenly turn militant within a very short time. This abrupt change may be triggered by political or personal experiences, even trivial ones.

As a science fiction fan, I have previously compared Islam to the film The Matrix from 1999. In the movie, anyone connected to the Matrix can at any time become agents of the system and kill those who are perceived as being a threat to the system. This is a good analogy for Islam. Anyone who identifies with Islam can suddenly become agents of Islam and kill those who are perceived as being a threat to the system.

In reality, this means that we cannot rely on so-called moderate Muslims. They may suddenly and without warning turn against us and attack us. The only ones we can trust to a certain extent are ex-Muslims, individuals who have completely abandoned and publicly distanced themselves from Islam.