Barcelona attack on Las Ramblas Lluis Gene/Getty Images

We Are All From Europe

After the recent terrorist attack in Barcelona, a crowd chanted “I am not afraid.” It was a firm demonstration of unity that transcended internal divisions – precisely the kind of unity that will prove critical to defeating Islamist terror in Europe.

PARIS – “I am not afraid,” chanted the crowd that took to the streets in Barcelona after a van was driven into pedestrians on the Las Ramblas promenade, killing at least 14 people and injuring some 130 others. It was the most dignified and appropriate possible response to a terrorist attack, a firm demonstration of unity that transcended internal divisions. While rifts between, say, Spaniards and Catalonians will surely reemerge soon, that fundamental sense of unity must endure.

Following attacks in Paris, Brussels, London, Nice, and Berlin – not to mention Madrid in 2004 – the choice of Barcelona as a target should come as no surprise. Barcelona is not just the European city that has attracted the largest number of immigrants from the Maghreb, especially Morocco; it is also a symbol of intercultural dialogue and tolerance.

In fact, Las Ramblas – one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions – is itself a symbol of openness: more than 30 nationalities were represented among the victims. One of the suspects subsequently confessed that his terror cell was also planning to use explosives against major monuments, including Barcelona’s world-famous Sagrada Família church – a clear sign that they were attempting to strike at the soul of the city.

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