Friday, July 22, 2005

Playing Happy Families with the Radicals

One of the issues brought into sharp focus by the London bombing of 7/7 is that there is a problem with radical Islam in Britain. Scattered amongst the overwhelming law-abiding and peaceful Muslim community are radicals who — whether by action or by ideology — represent a threat, not only to the wider community but also to race relations between the Muslim community and society as a whole.

In the aftermath of 7/7, many Muslim organisations, including the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) were quick to condemn the attacks and those who carried them out. Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary General of the MCB said:
“We must and will be united in common determination that terror cannot succeed. It is now the duty of all us Britons to be vigilant and actively support efforts to bring those responsible to justice.”
When it emerged, a few days after the attacks, that young British Muslims had been the bombers, the MCB inched further forward:
“We have received today's terrible news from the police with anguish, shock and horror. It appears our youth have been involved in last week's horrific bombings against innocent people.”
And when Prime Minister Tony Blair convened a meeting in Downing Street on 19 July with senior Muslim leaders to discuss radicalism in the Muslim community, the MCB were also there.

But are the MCB really committed to weeding out the radicals amongst the British Muslim community and working to squash radical thinking, ideology and politics? If one examines some of their other statements, the waters begin to look slightly murkier. Here is a statement from a special meeting of Imams and scholars convened by the MCB on 29 September 2001:

“The meeting stressed that it was crucial to do everything to enhance and not undermine the unity of the Muslim community. The use of such terms as 'moderates' and 'extremists' should be avoided as this would create division and polarization

Now this is an altogether different message. Instead of a promise and commitment to root out the radicals, here we see the MCB promoting the idea that the unity of the Muslim community (ummah) takes precedence over ideological labels. But if you can’t even identify the extremists and the moderates, then how can you proceed to actually tackle them?

Whilst this particular stance may explain why the MCB allows those who preach hate to become affiliate members, it doesn’t explain how they can help the government root out Islamic radicalism if even using the terminology is taboo.

The tie that Muslims feel to the one global Muslim community, the ummah, is a powerful one and for many, this communal tie is stronger than any sense of Britishness. This is not a problem in and of itself, as people of all religions have ‘trans-national confessional allegiances’. Where it is a problem is when membership of the ummah clashes directly with the need to root out radicalism.

The MCB need to face this issue and answer the question: is it more important to hold the global Muslim ummah together, moderates and radicals united in one big happy family, or to root out radicalism from British Islam? The choice appears to be to split the ummah or confront the radicals.

The challenge is on the MCB is to choose. After 7/7, sitting on the fence is not an option.


At 10:59 am, July 22, 2005, Blogger john b said...

The moderate majority of Muslims are happy to follow their religion in a secular, non-Muslim state.

A radical minority of Muslims would like to replace the secular government with a Taliban-style theocracy.

A minority *of that minority* would be willing to use terrorism to achieve that goal.

The MCB is saying that it is willing to accomodate the first two groups in its efforts to weed out the third.

This seems fair enough (indeed, essential: fellow radicals are more likely to know of the terrorists' plans than moderates are...)

At 11:15 am, July 22, 2005, Blogger MCB Watch said...

The best polling that has been done to date would suggest 10%-15% of the Muslim community are "radical". So, yes, still a minority --- but still significant. The MCB's problem is that they still have not really decided where to draw the line and what fundamentals to actually take a stand on.

At 2:36 pm, July 22, 2005, Blogger Richard Waghorne said...

Just saw this site. A worthwhile enterprise - the MCB have dropped the ball a few times.

Nice work - keep it up!

At 8:14 pm, July 22, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A quote from Polly Toynbee's comment piece in todays Guardian from Iqbal Sacranie, before he was a Sir, back in the day when 'The Satanic Verses' furore flared up. Asked about what he thought should be the fate of Salman Rushdie he said:

"Death, perhaps, is too easy for him ... his mind must be tormented for the rest of his life unless he asks forgiveness to Almighty Allah."

Do you ever feel that we are being made fools of?

At 10:57 pm, July 22, 2005, Blogger Modern Zionist said...

Ever see the nasty stuff lurking deep inside the MCB website?

more @ reactionista blogspot

At 12:12 am, October 01, 2005, Blogger Intelligence Summit said...

FBI: Missing the newest trend in terrorism?

By John Loftus, President of The Intelligent Summit

Special Agents in the street grumble that Al Qaeda is evolving again, while the Bureau's bosses pat each other on the back over yesterday's victories. Al Qaeda was a different beast before. First it was an alumni organization, recruiting combat veterans who had been schooled in the Afghan wars. Once the school rosters fell into American hands, the alumni were systematically hunted down, captured or killed. Good work.

But while the FBI applauded itself, Al Qaeda switched over to its second tier of recruits. Waiting in the wings were members of nationalist groups like the Moroccan madmen who bombed Madrid or the Jordanian fanatics of Al Zarqawi. These second tier terrorists were more like Kentucky Fried Chicken franchisees: they were independent operators who only borrowed the Al Qaeda name but were not subject to Al Qaeda control. As the EU and Arab states consolidate their anti-terror operations, the franchise terrorists are slowly becoming neutralized, isolated or exterminated. Ask Iraq.

In desperation, Al Qaeda has now devolved into its third iteration: a teenage fan club whose members correspond with each other over the internet as if they are playing a video game. But, as the London subway passengers discovered last July, sometimes the video games are a deadly dress rehearsal for the real thing.

For too long, western intelligence has dismissed the third tier of recruits as kiddy crime, the harmless posturing of Al Qaeda wannabees. The teens' twin terrorist organizations, Hizb ut-Tahrir and Al Mujaharoun ("Hut/Muj" for short) were laughed at as propaganda outlets of Sheik Bakri, a harmless little lunatic based in London at the Finsbury Mosque. But, as Bakri himself admits, during the 1990's both he and his assistant worked with the British Secret Intelligence Service setting up the Kosovo Liberation Army. They are not exactly virgins at recruiting kids to kill.

Hut/Muj usually targets 15 to 19 year olds, and indoctrinates them with private religious lessons for several years. Their na?ve ?migr? parents think the kids are going to some sort of Islamic Sunday school, while they are actually attending Bin Laden's version of the Hitler Youth. After several years of bonding and brain washing, the kids, now in their early twenties, are ready for terrorist operations. Some live near you.

Hut/Muj cells have spread like a cancer to California, New York, Virginia and Oregon. Despite the fact that local police have made several arrests for planned subway bombings and terrorist training, the FBI still laughs the whole Hut/Muj phenomenon off. This, the feds assert, is protected freedom of speech, mosque based religious education, entirely harmless. That is what the British used to say before 7/7. The mental calendar of the FBI's top leadership seems permanently stuck on 9/10. It is time they faced a clear and present danger.

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