Je suis Charlie and the legacy of jihadism


What Anwar al-Awlaki did more than any other western jihadist preacher was to establish a western iteration of the global jihad movement that was no longer dependent on importing foreign preachers and ideas. He created a jihadist subculture that now exists across many western societies - not least France - and that speaks directly to people born and raised in the west like the Kouachis.

This changed everything. It produced British and French and Belgians ready to murder their fellow citizens; and, as Meleagrou-Hitchens noted to me, it created a pool of ideologically-primed recruits for Isis. People who will still be there the next time a jihadist group comes knocking. Until this inevitability, there are certain words that we must never allow to descend to mere platitude: je suis Charlie. Never forget.

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