Sunday, August 13, 2006

 

British Terrorists Baffle Attempts to Understand Them

I've just got back after some days away and can't really post on anything except the airlines terror plot and British Muslims. The aspect concerning me is well covered in the press today. The Sunday Times editorial considers the 'enemy within' which seeks to 'destroy our way of life.' It notes the estimated 1200 involved in 'terrorist networks' together with the fact that they are drawn both from educated,well integrated middle class families as well as the Muslim underclass.

Some blame British foreign policy for this tragic development and certainly Blair and his ministers have not helped matters by their policies relating to Iraq and the Lebanon. But this is too facile a judgement. Firstly foreign policy sometimes has to ignore public opinion; to tie Foreign Secretaries' hands through fear of a terrorist backlash at home surely cannot be right. Secondly, there is a world of difference between objecting- as illustrated by my pictures on this and the previous post- to a foreign policy and coldly planning to murder thousands of people because of it. This is the nub of the issue for me.

What is it which causes well integrated, prosperous young Muslims to bale out of the society which has helped nuture them-not forgetting its many many flaws- and to translate anger over a government actions into such murderous intent? It's a huge amount of ground to taverse that: anger to mass murder. Between the feeling of anger to the execution of the act is a mountain range of moral questions of Himalayan proportions.

How does it happen? Two articles in The Observer address the topic. Safraz Manzoor ponders how and why Sajid Mahmood, a Pakistani by origin England fast bowler was booed and called a 'traitor' by elements in the Headingley crowd. What country did they expect him to play for when he was born here?

Jason Cowley suggests understanding of how people can make this journey can best be derived from fiction and mentions a number of novels which might help enlighten us.
I'm prepared to read and think and ponder but have to confess that for the here and now, I'm angry, bewildered and totally unable to understand how our own fellow citizens can even contemplate such horriffic criminal acts.

Comments:
‘I'm angry, bewildered and totally unable to understand how our own fellow citizens can even contemplate such horrific criminal acts’

The same way that the Turks could murder the Armenians or the Nazis the Jews. Our fellow citizens can contemplate and carry out these acts because to them, non-believers, like the Armenians and the Jews, are sub-human and should be killed if they won’t convert to Islam. John Reid was absolutely right when he said that this country is facing its biggest threat since WW2.

Additionally, to lay the blame for this current state of affairs, as stated in the recent letter by Muslim MPs and community leaders, on British foreign policy is quite simply outrageous, especially as John Reid has said that al-Qaeda plots were broken up in Birmingham in 2000. These people are advocating blackmail and appeasement to Islamic fascism; to people who want to blow us back 1500 years.
 
Dreadnought
I think there is a difference between the muderers you mention and the present people. The former were often currently at war when the 'usual rules' are suspended. Well, I can see how the current aspirant terrorists might claim to be at 'war' but that's a pretty big idea to think yourself into-hence my bafflement.
On foreign policy, I'd accept, as I say in my post, that it's wrong to ascribe the blame wholly on Iraq etc but I would not deny that it does provide, at the very least, ONE cause of terrorism.
 
Further to Skipper's point, I should say that it is ridiculous to suggest that Islamic extremism is the biggest threat we face since WWII. Has John Reid forgotten the Cuban missile crisis - that moment in 1962 when (it is not an exaggeration to say) the human race was a heartbeat from oblivion?

Terrorism by its nature has effects far beyond its utilitarian scope - the main consequence being fear, and thus the ability to change lifestyles. But we should try to keep a little perspective. 62 million people died in WWII, so it is frankly a little insulting to equate that war with what is going on at the moment.
 
Skipper

I think you are missing the point somewhat. The Armenians, Jews and other peoples, who did not fit with the societies being created around them, were not killed as a result of the suspension of the ‘usual rules’, whatever they are, during wartime. These people were killed because they were deemed racially inferior and their culture, customs and beliefs were irrelevant. Islamic terrorists who are prepared to turn their own children into bombs to kill innocent people, as in this latest alleged plot, are out of the same mould as SS officers who could swing Jewish babies round by their ankles and smash their heads into brick walls. The victims and potential victims in both instances are irrelevant to the beliefs of the perpetrators. This is the reason, I believe, why John Reid said what he did. He did not, and nor do I, equate today with WW2, but the wanton murderous philosophy of the Nazis and the Islamists are quite similar.
 
To be fair, that's different from what you said in your original post.

Your first post referred to the practical reality ("the biggest threat...") while the second compared the evil of the ideologies of Nazis and (extreme - please don't forget the prefix) Islamists.
 
The extent of slaughter achieved and the degree of evil are not necessarily proportionate. Only a fool does not notice differences in language and action between the two. I would go as far as to say Islamism surpasses Nazism on many levels. The reason for the lack of deaths(so far - remember Nazism has been defeated, and we(well some of us) are still engaged in a deadly war against Islamism), is their capability. Hitler had control of Europe's most powerful nation, and eventually an entire continent. The Islamists have not (yet) achieved this capability, and with the actions of the US and UK will not. 1962 is a moot point. Most of the recent work done shows that Khrushchev was in no position
to launch such an attack. Islamists will not hesitate given the same chance.
 
SPL

I dont think you are quite reading my posts correctly. In both posts I have also referred to the view islamists have of non-believers and, in both, compared this philosophy to the Nazis.
With regard to the Cuban Missile Crisis, and not wanting to debate it, Krushchev may have been a dictator but he was not, as was proved, suicidal. Mr Oakeshott is right, islamists would not hesitate given the same chance.
 
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