Of all battles to politicize, ISIS constantly evokes imagery of the Crusades. In one of their propaganda videos titled “See You In Dabiq,” ISIS militants are depicted fighting “crusaders” in Rome. According to Heavy.com, the film’s dialogue (which is all in Arabic) makes claims that the “Dabiq [ISIS] Army” will race into Rome, destroy crucifixes, and enslave Christian women.”
Just last week ISIS lost control of Dabiq, the city where they prophesied the apocalypse to occur following an epic battle with the non-believers. They’ve lost their most significant piece of territory, and it’s just about impossible they’d ever be able to take Rome. While the terrorists have yet to reach Rome, the Colosseum has attracted a symbolic protest against the West.
Thousands of Muslims gathered in protest outside Rome’s Colosseum Friday after Italian authorities shut down a number of so-called “garage mosques” to avoid young people becoming radicalized.
The Muslim community of Rome chose the iconic Colosseum, a worldwide symbol of Christian persecution and martyrdom, to stage their demonstration against the alleged shutting down by police of illegal places of Muslim worship in the city.
An imam led the group in chanting “Allahu Akbar,” which means in Arabic “God is great,” as they prostrated themselves on the ground.
Many Roman citizens were visibly disturbed by the protest, noting that in its propaganda videos, the Islamic State has repeatedly employed images of the Colosseum when threatening to conquer Rome and the “Crusaders.”
Two months ago, Italian police set up a high-security perimeter around the Colosseum, after the Islamic State issued a new threat to “conquer” Rome in its latest video.
A Bangladeshi Islamic group called Dhuumcatu reportedly organized the demonstration, saying that police had closed three makeshift mosques in Rome in the last few months.
Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano did not deny the allegations, and in fact in August said that “mini mosques in garages” should not be allowed as it makes them difficult to monitor, possibly raising the risk of radicalization.
Until now, Italy has shown itself to be remarkably resilient to attacks from Islamic terrorists and has been proposed as a model for counterterrorism for the whole world, in part because of its willingness to deport radicalized individuals seen as a threat to national security.
One can only ponder how long the Italian government, which wouldn’t tolerate small garage mosques, will tolerate a protest of this nature.
[Note: This post was written by The Analytical Economist]