Pulse Media


Muslims in Britain

The Muslim News (extracts)

The degree of integration may, however, be cold comfort. It is indeed possible that it is the uncertainty brought by the loss of the hierarchies and values of traditional societies such as that of rural Pakistan, of the Punjab or Kashmir, from where most British Muslim Pakistani immigrants originally came, that is behind some of the militancy. Certainly studies show that most of those suspected or convicted of terrorist crimes in recent years have not been marginal, alienated figures.

'People who think kids do it because they are poorly integrated are wrong,' said Mark Sageman, former CIA officer and terrorism expert. Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist, has studied the backgrounds of hundreds of militants and concluded that there is no 'terrorist type or personality' nor evidence of psychological illness.

Instead, Sageman points to small group dynamics as a key trigger. 'Kids get together. They talk the talk. A few decide to act. These are self-organised groups of volunteers. Al-Qaeda is like Harvard. It doesn't need to recruit.'

The government insists that there is no link between British foreign policy and Islamic militancy. Ministers brusquely rejected a letter signed by 36 Muslim associations and public figures, including several Labour MPs and peers, claiming a connection. But though the positions of some are predictable - Haji Mustafa of the controversial group Hizb-ut-Tahrir told The Observer that anger at 'the Bush-Blair doctrine of "follow our values or we'll bomb you" lay behind the violence - the breadth of anger at the British government's position on the war in Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian question and the conflict in Lebanon is undeniable.

It's all very well calling for moderate voices within Islam, particularly in Britain, if there is no moderate voice coming from the government. Nothing justifies murdering innocent people on a plane or in an office building, and our society has a right to be outraged by such violence. We also have a right, and more to the point a duty, to be outraged by violence carried out in our name against innocent people in far away countries such as those of the Middle East. We may wonder why young British Muslims feel such a bond to Muslims in the Middle East, that they decide to kill themselves in order to murder hundreds of innocent bystanders, but we are expected to accept, that soldiers from our country should go and bomb hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians simply because innocent Americans were killed by what we are supposed to accept are the terrorists. A terrorist is someone who terrorises. Whatever his or her agenda, origin or form, a person or entity, which terorises is a terrorist.
Claiming Islam is responsible for the rise of Islamic terrorism in Britain is extremely shortsighted at best, and a lie at worst. Until last year, there were no Islamic terrorist attacks in Britain. The only terrorism we had known on British soil had been IRA and British army terrorism. Is it that we feel closer to the Irish, that we can accept their anger more easily than that of young British Muslims, even if over the years, the IRA and related groups have killed far more innocent civilians than the islamists did, and even though Ulster is not a country under constant foreign aggression as have been several middle eastern countries over the past decades?