Sunday, July 10, 2005

Islam & Terrorism roundup

An excellent article by Salman Rushdie on India and Pakistan's Code of Dishonor. "The 'culture' of rape that exists in India and Pakistan arises from profound social anomalies, its origins lying in the unchanging harshness of a moral code based on the concepts of honor and shame. Thanks to that code's ruthlessness, raped women will go on hanging themselves in the woods and walking into rivers to drown themselves. It will take generations to change that."

And also in today's New York Times, For a Decade, London Thrived as a Busy Crossroads of Terror. Read this article if you subscribe to the puerile excuse that the attacks in London last week were because Britain has supported the U.S. in the war in Iraq.
Long before bombings ripped through London on Thursday, Britain had become a breeding ground for hate, fed by a militant version of Islam.

For two years, extremists like Sheik Omar Bakri Mohammed, a 47-year-old Syrian-born cleric, have played to ever-larger crowds, calling for holy war against Britain and exhorting young Muslim men to join the insurgency in Iraq. In a newspaper interview in April 2004, he warned that "a very well-organized" London-based group, Al Qaeda Europe, was "on the verge of launching a big operation" here. In a sermon attended by more than 500 people in a central London meeting hall last December, Sheik Omar vowed that if Western governments did not change their policies, Muslims would give them "a 9/11, day after day after day."

If London became a magnet for fiery preachers, it also became a destination for men willing to carry out their threats. For a decade, the city has been a crossroads for would-be terrorists who used it as a home base, where they could raise money, recruit members and draw inspiration from the militant messages. Among them were terrorists involved in attacks in Madrid, Casablanca, Saudi Arabia, Israel and in the Sept. 11 plot. Zacarias Moussaoui, the only man charged in the United States in the 9/11 attacks, and Richard C. Reid, the convicted shoe-bomber, both prayed at the Finsbury Park mosque in north London. The mosque's former leader, Abu Hamza al-Masri openly preached violence for years before the authorities arrested him in April 2004.

...Well before Thursday's bombings, British officials predicted a terrorist attack in their country. In a speech in October 2003, Eliza Manningham-Buller, the director general of MI5, Britain's domestic intelligence agency, said she saw "no prospect of a significant reduction in the threat posed to the U.K. and its interests from Islamist terrorism over the next five years, and I fear for a considerable number of years thereafter."

Britain's challenge to detect militants on its soil is particularly difficult. Counterterrorism officials estimate that 10,000 to 15,000 Muslims living in Britain are supporters of Al Qaeda. Among that number, officials believe that as many as 600 men were trained in camps connected with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

...Even last week's bombings did little to curtail the rhetoric of some of the most radical leaders, who criticized Prime Minister Tony Blair for saying that the bombings appeared to be the work of Islamic terrorists. "This shows me that he is an enemy of Islam," Abu Abdullah, a self-appointed preacher and the spokesman for the radical group Supporters of Shariah, said in an interview on Friday, adding, "Sometimes when you see how people speak, it shows you who your enemies are."

Mr. Abdullah declared that those British citizens who re-elected Mr. Blair "have blood on their hands" because British soldiers are killing Muslims. He also said that the British government, not Muslims, "have their hands" in the bombings, explaining, "They want to go on with their fight against Islam."

Imran Waheed, a spokesman for a radical British-based group, Hizb ut Tahrir, which is allowed to function here but is banned in Germany and much of the Muslim world, said: "When Westerners get killed, the world cries. But if Muslims get killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, it's the smallest of news. I will condemn what happened in London only after there is the promise from Western leaders to condemn what they have done in Falluja and other parts of Iraq and in Afghanistan."

So far, there appears to be little effort to restrain outspoken clerics, including prominent extremists like Sheik Omar, who has reportedly been under investigation by Scotland Yard. Sheik Omar, who remains free, is an example of the double-edged policies in Britain. He is a political refugee who was given asylum 19 years ago and is supported by public assistance. Asked in an interview in May how he felt about being barred from obtaining British citizenship, he replied, "I don't want to become a citizen of hell."

It's nice to see the Times not pulling any punches in today's article, because in article in yesterday's Times on Muslims in England, they presented Imran Waheed as an example of a moderate Muslim outraged by people slurring all Muslims as terrorists! See this outrageous article.
But the frustration of the community is growing as evidence mounts that Muslim immigrant citizens or the children of immigrants in Europe are increasingly populating the rank and file of terrorist organizations. Of 140 people implicated in European terrorist activities since 1993, 24 percent were European nationals, according to a study by Robert S. Leiken and Steven Brooke at Washington's Nixon Center, an independent think tank.

And whose fault is it that Muslim immigrants or their children are increasingly counted among the terrorists? Seems to me that Muslims should be frustrated at themselves, not at others!

These next paragraphs, however, are the most outrageous, picking supporters of Islamist terror and quoting them as moderate Muslims!
For many Muslims here, condemning terrorism does not mean condoning American or British policies. "It is correct to say Islam forbids the killing of civilians, but we need to have a larger discussion about why these actions happened," said Imran Waheed, spokesman for the British branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a global Islamist party working for the return of an Islamic caliphate, whose activists handed out leaflets outside the Finsbury Park mosque as people left Friday Prayer. "What we want is equity or parity between the life of a Briton in the suburbs of London and a farmer in Iraq," he said.

Opposition to Britain's role in Iraq has turned the area's Muslim community away from the governing Labor Party and toward the upstart Respect Party of George Galloway, who issued a statement Thursday saying that his party had warned that the war in Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain.

Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of Britain's Islamic Human Rights Commission, argued that injustice lends legitimacy to extremist discourse. "There needs to be a separation between those who are committing those atrocities and those who are passionate about injustice," he said, adding that dismissing extremists outright only isolates them and makes them more likely to turn to violence. "We need to encourage that passion and give them avenues within the civil society to deal with injustices."

This is another excuse for terrorists. Their "passion" needs to be encouraged and given avenues within civil society! How, exactly? Making all women wear burkas? Like instituting the laws about rape cited in Salman Rushdie's op-ed piece? Like opposing the existence of the state of Israel?
"We have far greater experience as victims of terror than as perpetrators of terror," said Mr. Waheed of Hizb ut-Tahrir, saying that the community's reaction to the killing of Muslims in Afghanistan and the Middle East has been "remarkably restrained..."People need to understand the feeling on the Muslim street," he said. "People hate the foreign policy of Britain and the United States, and the West needs to consider whether constant interference in the Muslim world is productive."

What were the editors of the Times thinking when they allowed this piece of biased, slanted, and simply wrong journalism to be printed in the newspaper? It seems to me that they were letting the political biases of this particular reporter, Craig Smith, get in the way of some honest reporting about the support for Islamic terrorism among Muslims in Britain. While I am not usually one to attack the Times for its political stance, in this case I think it has made an egregious mistake.

This article, however, does give me some hope: Longtime Haven for Arabs Now Must Ask: Why Us?. One of the bombs in London went off in a predominantly Arab neighborhood.
"We have to be honest and realistic with ourselves," said Laith Abdel Fattah, a part owner of Panini Cafe, tucked on a side street a block from the bombed train station. "We are living in an age that is simply unnatural. Is there anywhere in Islam that says you have to kill? Nowhere does it say you can take away somebody's right to live. And yet they do this in the name of Islam." Like many here, Mr. Abdel Fattah said he was indignant that the bombing could possibly be done in the name of his faith and his community. Out of a sense of duty, he said, he approached the police on Friday and offered any help they required.

"I wanted to show them that we too believe that what happened was unacceptable," he said. "There are only two directions we can take now. Either we wait and see what's coming, and that can only be bad, or we have to speak out and say unequivocally this is unacceptable. We need to show people what the right example is."

At the Rafidain Real Estate Agency on Edgware Road, Abu Ahmad al-Sharif sat with his nephew and a friend, pondering the bombings. Mr. Sharif, an immigrant from Iraq, was riding a bus as the Edgware Road bomb went off a few blocks away from him. The bus service was halted and he walked to work, leading him past the carnage at the Edgware Road station, where he grasped the gravity of the incident. He realized his son had taken one of the routes to work and broke into tears, then grew furious.

"In my homeland, Iraq, terrorism is no longer a surprise," Mr. Sharif said. "But I never imagined it could happen in a place like this. This place always seemed so far from terrorism," he said, noting the safe harbor England has given many Iraqis. "I blame the fathers, the mothers and the schools of these people who let them get to this point," he said. "It is our duty to find these groups because they are like a cancer and will only continue to grow unless we cut it from its roots." "Someone has to show them the boundary," said Sabah al-Hamdani, who had been listening intently. "We need to stand in their way."

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