BERLIN — The German police arrested three Syrians on Thursday who are suspected of traveling to Europe on behalf of the Islamic State to attack a popular district of the western city of Düsseldorf, federal prosecutors said.
A fourth man, also a Syrian citizen who is in custody in France, was charged with supporting the plot. The plan involved suicide bombings, as well as attacks with firearms and explosives, the prosecutors said.
At least two of the suspects entered Germany during last year’s influx of refugees, the prosecutors said. German news media reported that two of the men had been living in refugee shelters and at least one had submitted an application for asylum.
Prosecutors said Saleh A. and Hamza C. joined the Islamic State in early 2014 in Syria, where they were ordered by leaders of the organization to carry out an attack in an area of Düsseldorf that is packed with bars and cafes and is popular with residents and partying tourists.
Like all the other horrors in the seemingly endless abattoir that is Islamism, the Paris attacks, San Bernardino, and Brussels, provoked widespread outrage.
While unsurprising, it is nonetheless striking how much more focussed that outrage becomes when the threat is practically in one's neighborhood. In the picture below, the Altstadt, the intended target, is directly to the right of the Rhine River freighter.
The Altstadt is perfect for tourists and residents. Picturesque. Lots of restaurants, stores and bars. Always crowded if the weather isn't beastly.
I guess that makes it perfect for Allah's faithful murderers, too.
Four friends of ours live there. Less than a mile from our apartment, we go there frequently. So while the litany of other atrocities is immersed in a vague, blurry buffer, no such comfort is on offer here. It is all too easy to imagine a wonderful area I know well turned into a charnel house.
By the Religion of Peace™.
This reminded me of a post from more than six years ago, Enhanced Condemnation:
No small amount of writing, and plenty of writers, have made the bold claim that torture is always, irrevocably, wrong, and that those who sanction it are, by definition, moral monsters. Oddly, they take this bold stand without coming to terms with their subject, giving a nod to context, or recognizing that the sin of commission must be assessed against the sin of omission.
What they arrive at is a position with precisely the same supposed lofty superiority of pacifism, while completely failing to understand how such blanket condemnations, just like pacifism, are completely amoral.
In the comments on my post, and in the links, I was accused of moral deficiency by suggesting that blanket condemnations of "torture" (scare quotes, because the term has all the definitional rigor of "art") are facile moral preening.
Having captured these suspects, I wonder how much "sweating" of other suspects was involved. Just as I wonder how much some people — relatives of the victims, perhaps — wish a bit more "sweating" had happened before the Brussels atrocity.
Interesting how one's view on things might change with a bit of skin in the game.