They demand the elimination of Israel; the withdrawal of all Westerners from Muslim countries, irrespective of the wishes of people and government; the establishment of effectively Taleban states and Sharia law in the Arab world en route to one caliphate of all Muslim nations.
From the mid 1990s onwards, statements from Al-Qaeda, gave very clear expression to this ideology: "Every Muslim, the minute he can start differentiating, carries hatred towards the Americans, Jews and Christians. This is part of our ideology. The creation of Israel is a crime and it has to be erased.
"You should know that targeting Americans and Jews and killing them anywhere you find them on the earth is one of the greatest duties and one of the best acts of piety you can offer to God Almighty." Just as great is their hatred for so-called apostate governments in Muslim countries. This is why mainstream Muslims are also regarded as legitimate targets.
This is what we are up against. It cannot be beaten except by confronting it, symptoms and causes, head-on. Without compromise and without delusion.
The extremist propaganda is cleverly aimed at their target audience. It plays on our tolerance and good nature.
It exploits the tendency to guilt of the developed world, as if it is our behaviour that should change, that if we only tried to work out and act on their grievances, we could lift this evil, that if we changed our behaviour, they would change theirs. This is a misunderstanding of a catastrophic order.
Their cause is not founded on an injustice. It is founded on a belief, one whose fanaticism is such it can't be moderated. It can't be remedied. It has to be stood up to.
If it is the plight of the Palestinians that drives them, why, every time it looks as if Israel and Palestine are making progress, does the same ideology perpetrate an outrage that turns hope back into despair?
If it is Afghanistan that motivates them, why blow up innocent Afghans on their way to their first ever election? If it is Iraq that motivates them, why is the same ideology killing Iraqis by terror in defiance of an elected Iraqi government?
What was September 11, 2001 the reprisal for? Why even after the first Madrid bomb (in March 2004) and the election of a new Spanish government, were they planning another atrocity when caught?
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Blair speech on terror
Tony Blair made a very strong speech today denouncing terrorism which says "What we are confronting here is an evil ideology." It is very refreshing to see such an articulate explanation of what the "war on terror" is fighting - something which President Bush has never been able to explain sufficiently carefully to the American people.