Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Fighting terrorism

The recent, tragic, London bombings have spawned a long-overdue debate and increased focus on the issue of terrorism. Yesterday the Financial Times published a must-read editorial about moderate Muslims' reactions.
This is why the London bombings represent a milestone for moderate Muslims. They can either stand up and fight Islam's radical fringes from within or sit haplessly by while the west does it for them. Verbal condemnations and choreographed press releases against violent terrorist acts, as Britain's Muslim leaders produced last Thursday, are no longer sufficient. Real action is needed - and fast.
America's Muslims failed to rise up to their citizenship responsibilities after the September 11 attacks, choosing instead to play the role of aggrieved, helpless victims. Their voices in America's body politic are now marginalised as a result. Britain's Muslims have an opportunity to set an important example by elevating the duties of citizenship above fears of looming civil rights violations.
That moderate Muslims do not take meaningful steps to irradiate al-Qaeda's cancerous metastasis in their communities is a stunning failure of leadership and lies at the heart of the increasing distrust secular societies have for all Muslims.
The writer goes on to suggest three steps that would improve the situation - do read the whole thing. I would like to underline that anyone who thinks that, because of the opinions I express here, I have anything at all against Islam or Muslims in general, is living in a fantasy world. I have a profound respect for Muslims, and precisely because I don't believe that all or even most Muslims support terrorism, I strongly feel that much more needs to be done to stamp out this cancer, to allow Islamic societies their proper place among the nations.
In another interesting analysis (via MP), Daniel Pipes underlines the superior tactics and resolve of the French (over the British) in the war on terror and why London has become the hub of Islamist terrorism in Europe.
British-based terrorists have carried out operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel, Morocco, Russia, Spain, and America. Many governments - Jordanian, Egyptian, Moroccan, Spanish, French, and American - have protested London's refusal to shut down its Islamist terrorist infrastructure or extradite wanted operatives. In frustration, Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak publicly denounced Britain for "protecting killers."
More broadly, President Chirac instructed French intelligence agencies just days after September 11, 2001, to share terrorism data with their American counterparts "as if they were your own service." The cooperation is working: A former acting CIA director, John E. McLaughlin, called the bilateral intelligence tie "one of the best in the world."
What lies behind these contrary responses? The British have seemingly lost interest in their heritage while the French hold on to theirs: As the British ban fox hunting, the French ban hijabs. The former embrace multiculturalism, the latter retain a pride in their
historic culture
. This contrast in matters of identity makes Britain the Western country most vulnerable to the ravages of radical Islam whereas France, for all its political failings, has held onto a sense of self that may yet see it through.
Although I have occasionally been very critical of the French, and my sensibilities generally lie with the Anglosphere, I have enormous respect for their tenacity and intransigence in this crucial battle, as I have noted before.

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