Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Brits wake upto terror

ND Batra
From The Statesman

Learning to live in ‘Londonistan’

In the wake of last month’s London bombing, President Pervez Musharraf asked Britain to take strong steps to curb terrorism instead of blaming of Pakistan. As if on a hint from the Pakistani ruler, Prime Minister Tony Blair just did exactly that, announcing a 12-point list of stricter measures that included closing down mosques that have become pulpits of hate and deportation of foreign Muslim clerics who “foster hatred, advocating violence to further a person’s beliefs or justify or validating such violence”.

I don’t know whether Musharraf would have the political courage to take such determined action in Pakistan, especially against madrasas and Al-Qaida training camps, regarded by international experts as breeding grounds for global terrorism. Nonetheless, he cannot be blamed for every act of terrorism that takes place in Britain or the rest of Europe even if the perpetrators were of Pakistani descent.

Blair went to the extent of saying that Britain would modify human rights laws, if needed, to enable authorities to deport foreigners glorifying violence back to their native lands, even if those countries have questionable human rights records.

Under the new rules, law enforcement agencies would be authorised to take measures even against extremist Islamic websites and bookstores; and those foreigners in Britain who are actively engaged with them would be deported. Other measures would include stripping citizenship from individuals apprehended indulging in extremist activities who have dual citizenship or are naturalised citizens.That’s what should have happened after 9/11 but most Brits saw no danger to their way of life thinking that what happened “over there” would not happen to them.

“We are British,” they thought, most liberal of all Europeans, a multicultural society. And they thought they could co-opt militant Islam through their openness, their unique British way of life. That seemed to be the pervasive smug feeling, but the subway bombing that killed 56 and the subsequent failed attempts by militants was a rude awakening for the British that Islamic jihadists would spare none. For the fist time since World War II Brits are scared that their Britishness is under threat and have begun to re-examine how far their culture could accommodate multicultural separateness.

At the Friday news conference, Blair said that swearing of formal allegiance and a rudimentary knowledge of English would not be enough to acquire British citizenship. “Let no one be in any doubt that the rules of the game are changing. Coming to Britain is not a right and even when people have come here, staying here carries with it a duty. That duty is to share and support the values that sustain the British way of life.” At the question-answer period that followed the announcement, Blair was hard-pressed to explain how far integration would go without destroying the salad-bowl kind of multiculturalism that has prevailed in Britain for long.

How much Britishness for citizenship is good enough would depend upon the state of terrorism. Frightened Brits would ask for more surveillance and stricter immigration and citizenship rules, as it is happening in the United States. Blair’s immediate goal is to see that tough measures to drive out extremists actually work without alienating the Muslim community at large. A similar struggle to integrate Muslims into their mainstream societies has been taking place throughout Europe since the Paris Metro bombing, the Madrid train attacks, and the killing of the Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh in Amsterdam. Some say Britain has been too tolerant of Islamic militants, who have mistaken its magnanimity as cultural decadence.

Of course the new measures must be vetted through the British judicial system, but Blair is right in emphasising that freedom does not mean that foreigners should come here and say that “suicide bombing is a good thing, these people are heroes…. they shouldn’t come into Britain, and if they are here, they should leave.” These are the words of a deeply grieved and disillusioned man.

Nonetheless, the challenge is how to engage Muslims to accept that, as Blair put it, “you can have your own religion and your own culture but still feel integrated into the main stream of a community” much as British Hindus, Sikhs, Jewish, and Chinese have done without losing their distinctive cultures, their distinctive identities. While Britain may throw out some jihadists, work out some way so that multiculturalism does not dissipate into segregated cultural ghettoes, and every one living in Britain acquires some “British common sense,” whatever that means, the Internet presents a unique challenge for the international community.

Cyberspace has become a watering hole for extremists, where they replenish themselves with fundamentalist ideology that begets hatred against non-Muslims. Cyberspace, where a Muslim is a Muslim, not a Pakistan or a Saudi or a Moroccan, provides a secure, anonymous and fertile ground for Al-Qaida jihadists to spread their hate ideology, raise funds and recruit suicide bombers.

Blair compared Al-Qaida ideology with communism, but communism in its heyday was geopolitical; it had boundaries. But cyberspace has none, so Al-Qaida terrorism presents a different kind of threat, where global cooperation is absolutely essential and extremely difficult. In the meantime, Britain should examine closely, as France has been doing, what cultural permissiveness and appeasement of Islamic extremism has done to their beautiful country. India should do the same.


  1. Britain and USA are birds of the same feather, so they have flocked together. They aided Bin Laden to counter Russia in Afghanistan and are the real sponsor founders of al-Quaeda. One should watch Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" to realize the deep bonding between the families of Bin Laden and George W Bush. These countries forgot the old adage that if you dig a hole for others there is also a chance that you may fall into it some day. Therefore the western world is having a taste of its own monster that no longer obeys its master. You reap what you sow, if it is a poison tree that you have planted then expect to harvest its poisonous fruits. Hope these nations learn from history what lies ahead of them. Any way they cannot avoid bearing the moral responsibility of innocent people being killed by the horrid Islamist terrorists. May God bless us and save us from both these terrorists plus all terrorists as well as from the hidden agenda of Bush and Blair who propagate themselves as the sole keepers of the free world!

  2. Ever wonder why Pakistan is at the very frontline of Islamic terrorism? Why it teaches Muslims all round the world how to fight the Holy War? The answer is pretty simple: the Pakistani Muslims are all converted from Hindus, either a generation ago or a thousand years ago. The Hindus, specially the Hindus of yore, were excellent teachers. They ran superb schools and the “Guru Shishya parampara” still continues today. Among all the Muslims, the Pakistanis have the brains to undertake the task of enlightening their fellow Muslims in the path of the Prophet, a fact emphasized by none other than the Nobel Laureate V.S.Naipaul.
    For long the English, and for that matter the W.A.S.P, have chosen to side with the Pakistani Muslims against the Hindus of India in the mistaken notion that the Hindus were Banias and not worth a fiddle. Even a cursory reading of Lord Macauley will show how the Western attitude took its shape. Now they are learning at their own cost the price of harbouring such fifth columnist in their midst.
    It was indeed pathetic to see a Muslim refugee fleeing religious/political persecution in the land of his forefathers and being granted asylum in England and who had no compunction whatsoever to bite the hand that fed him.
    It is very difficult to determine at what point in time the mind of a decent, liberated, Westernized Muslim does an about turn and becomes a cesspool of obscurantist values and quickly transforms itself a fertile breeding ground of religious retribution. Few people understand this phenomenon and fewer still acknowledge it.

  3. The only way to teach the terrorism sponsoring Muslim countries a final devastating lesson can be done through imposition of a total economic sanction against them by the peace loving western world and their cohorts. It can easily be done through refusal to buy any petroleum products from these Muslim countries. To achieve this objective the western world should also withdraw all their personnel and logistics from these countries and implement alternate energy solution to run their industries and vehicles. The quicker they do it would hasten the process of bringing down the entire Muslim world and its terrorist networks. Till that period the western world and its cohorts should shut up and learn to live with the situation that primarily was their own creation.