Defeating The Threat Of “Homegrown” Terrorism
Today’s Sunday Times of London editorializes on the enemy within:
The great challenge for Britain is how to stop this and minimise the future risks. Nobody should underestimate the scale of the problem or the time needed. We already have a generation of disaffected Muslims who see any excuse, whether it is war in Iraq, Afghanistan or Lebanon, as a reason for killing their fellow citizens. The government has commissioned studies on combatting the problem, so far with little tangible impact. Tony Blair has been wooing Muslim leaders, too often the radicals rather than the moderates, although this policy seems to lie in shreds as they moan about wars in the Middle East inflaming Islamic youth. They are perfectly entitled to be angry about these conflicts, but that anger should be expressed through the democratic processes of demonstrations and elections.
That is not to say that the government is not right to try to win over Muslim opinion. If terror is to be defeated, you have first to drain the swamp. Muslims have to be persuaded that we are on the same side, that there is no witch-hunt against Islam and that the wars involving British troops are about stopping Islamists and the corruption of their religion. This means Muslims being alert to extremists in their ranks and being prepared to identify them to the police. It means Muslims becoming intolerant of radical mullahs and hounding them out of their mosques. Equally the authorities have a responsibility to crack down on extremists in universities and in prisons, to close internet sites and bookshops that spread hatred and violence, and to take all reasonable measures to protect their citizens.
At times this may seem unjust. Muslims who visit Pakistan will have to be more closely scrutinised and it may seem that they are being systematically targeted. But Muslims will have to understand that it is their co-religionists who are bent on bombing trains and planes and that requires extraordinary measures. A mature Muslim response will be to co-operate and help to eradicate extremists in their midst. It requires the vast majority of Muslims to believe that their future is tied to Britain, a country in which their religion can be respected and freely practised. If the radicals succeed, it will foster only hatred and intolerance.
This low-level war is going to take a huge effort of will and courage. It is going to mean applying what may seem illiberal measures in order to save lives. In return, the state must exercise massive restraint and not abuse that responsibility. But the real key is for Muslims to realise that their future lies here and to embrace British values and reject violent Islamist theology. The country may indeed be in its greatest danger since the second world war, as John Reid, the home secretary, said last week. But as Britain prevailed then, so it will again.
It’s definitely worth taking the time to read the full editorial. This is as clear and concise a piece as any that I have read on the threat of jihadism that is emerging from within Western nations. And the candor with which this editorial describes what is necessary to succeed is a refreshing departure from the equivocal MSM here in America.