In the years since 9/11, Europe has oscillated through a range of stances to the threat of Islamist terrorism. Some European soldiers have fought side by side with Americans in Afghanistan; Europeans have also shown leadership on other fronts, especially in their domestic counterterrorism efforts. But not all Europeans have stepped forward to defend democratic modernity against the jihadist challenge. Many in fact have been reluctant even to recognize the special character of the threat, let alone to resist it.
In this book, Russell A. Berman offers an analysis of Europe's ambivalence toward jihadist terror and the spread of aggressive Islamism, with particular emphasis on the European responses—or lack thereof—to Islamist terrorism. Berman describes how some European countries opt for appeasing and apologizing for terror, whereas others stand up for freedom. He presents an outline of a complex continent of different nations and traditions to further our understanding of the range of reactions to Islamism. Ultimately, the author reveals, the question of European responses to Islamist terrorism is a question of culture: the confrontation of contemporary European culture with the cultural values of jihadist radicals. Whether Europe is truly up to the challenge will only become clear in the struggles of the next decade.