Concerns over ISIS returnees remain pressing for many western governments, as does apprehension over domestic actors potentially spreading violent extremist ideology or carrying out terrorist attacks under the banner of ISIS or other terrorist groups. Some argue the November 2020 Vienna attack, in which four people were killed, marked the relaunch of ISIS’ “Europe campaign.” 

Debatably, al-Qaeda supporters and sympathizers back in the day exhibited more fortitude as sleeper cell agents, sometimes waiting up to two or three years for marching orders before taking action. ISIS’ “flash to bang” indoctrination peddled vis-à-vis its follower base nowadays seems to have become rapid and has been tightening.

Perhaps the case of the French middle-school teacher who was brutally murdered in October 2020 in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, France, by a militant jihadi adherent serves to demonstrate the point and perhaps draw attention to newly emerging forms of violence and terrorism in Europe. This particular terrorist act has once again intensified the public debate over a “radical atmosphere” in Europe, interspersed with diverse opinions on subjects such as secularism, terrorism, endemic violence, immigration, and freedom of expression.

Read more: Homeland Security Today