Monday, July 09, 2007

UK Muslims: Not in their name?;jsessionid=FMZLGUBGOWWNBQFIQMFSFFOAVCBQ0IV0?xml=/news/2007/07/08/nrmuslim108.xml&page=1

UK Telegraph July 08 2007 Alasdair Palmer

Muslims were as much outraged by last weekend's failed car bomb attacks as the rest of the country. Does that mean they will now help the authorities to root out Islamist terrorists? Alasdair Palmer investigates

The statement from Muhammed Abdul Bari, the general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) was as surprising as it was unequivocal: "The police and the security services deserve the fullest support and co-operation from each and every sector of our society, including all Muslims."

It was a surprise because, in the past, the MCB has seemed to be somewhat lukewarm about encouraging British Muslims to go to the police or security services with any suspicions they might have about friends or acquaintances who they think might be involved in terrorism. It is, after all, only nine months since Mr Bari issued a scarcely veiled threat to the authorities: he said that if the Government and "some police officers and sections of the media" continued to "demonise Muslims… Britain will have to deal with two million Muslim terrorists, 700,000 of them in London".

Last week, the MCB was considerably more conciliatory. Inayat Bunglawala, Mr Bari's deputy, accepted that the MCB was taking a new stance in insisting that it was an "Islamic duty" to help the police prevent terrorism, but he said he was confident that the organisation's 400 affiliates would back it. "The overwhelming majority of Muslims," he said, "will understand the predicament our nation is in."

Will they? The Government and most of Britain hope that the failed attempts to blow up a nightclub in central London and the passenger terminal at Glasgow airport may mark the beginning of a sea-change in attitudes to terrorism within Britain's Islamic communities. Yesterday's march in Glasgow was an attempt to demonstrate solidarity between Muslims and other religions in their opposition to violence. A group named "Islam is Peace" placed full-page advertisements in several national newspapers emphasising that "Muslim communities across Britain are united in condemning the attempted bombings".

The police say that a change of attitude is badly needed. Peter Clarke, Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist chief, has publicly lamented the reluctance of too many Muslims to come forward with information about possible terrorism that they have, and that could help the police to prevent bombings. MI5 officers have a similar complaint. One, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Sunday Telegraph: "Perhaps our biggest problem is that when we start trying to get sources, very quickly we hit a wall… people who live with actual or potential terrorists, who know what they are doing, who know who is vulnerable to extremist propaganda, who know who is being dragged in or acting suspiciously; the people who have this information just won't share it. It makes the job of finding out what is going on, and stopping it, much harder."

Muslim police officers are in very short supply. There are about a million Muslims in London, but only 268 of them have joined the Metropolitan Police. They represent less than 1 per cent of the total force. It is the same story across the country. Attempts to encourage more Muslims to sign up can backfire: there are allegations, for instance, that several al-Qaeda sympathisers have entered the organisation with the intention of undermining it.

Still, a number of leading British Muslims have already stated that the change of tone that has marked Gordon Brown's premiership is "helpful" in gaining the support of Muslim communities in Britain. Ahmed Versi, the editor of Muslim News, for instance, remarked last week that "Tony Blair used to use the phrase 'Islamic terrorism' …it made the whole [Islamic] community feel they were being targeted."

Mr Versi is pleased that Gordon Brown seems to have decided to drop "Islamic terrorism", the "war on terror" and the other belligerent phrases that came to characterise Tony Blair's time in office. Jacqui Smith, the new Home Secretary, insisted last week that it was "unacceptable to hold any one community responsible" for the attempted outrages, something Mr Versi very much agrees with, because, in his view, what motivates the terrorists is not Islam: it is British foreign policy.

Not everyone, however, believes either that attitudes in Britain's Islamic communities are changing, or that Gordon Brown's change of the language he uses to describe bomb attacks will make much difference. Ed Husain was drawn to what he calls "Islamism": the anti-secular, anti-liberal position that asserts that Western democracies such as Britain are irredeemably corrupt and must be replaced by a theocracy based on Islamic law. He spent several years working for Hizb ut-Tahrir, an extremist organisation dedicated to that goal, before eventually turning away from it and discovering what he now thinks of as orthodox, traditional Islam.

"The MCB's insistence that there is a duty to help the police is very welcome," he says. "The trouble is, they are still wedded to a version of Islam that is, at the very least, hospitable to the extremists. None of the leading members of the MCB have condemned the hard-line anti-Western ideology of figures such as Syed Qutb, the Egyptian radical fundamentalist who developed, in the early Sixties, the theological justification for violence in the name of establishing an Islamic state (Qutb was executed by the Egyptian government in 1965). It would be a very powerful signal if the MCB said that Qutb's hatred of the West and of democracy, and his endorsement of violence as the means to replace secular government with theocracy, had no Koranic justification. But no one from the MCB seems willing to make that move."

The MCB has also failed to condemn suicide bombing by Hamas against Israel. "It is a very short step from accepting that there is a theological justification for 'martyrdom' operations in Israel," states Mr Husain, "to accepting that there is a justification for perpetrating the murder of civilians here. I know. I have been down that road."

Hassan Butt is another who spent several years as an extreme Islamist before coming to understand that the people with whom he was working were "evil". Mr Butt used to act as a fund raiser - he says he raised more than £150,000 - for fundamentalist terrorist groups. He doesn't see any change in attitude among their members. His family have rejected him for what they see as his "treachery". His friends have all deserted him. Some of his former colleagues have openly told him that they want him dead. Earlier this year he was stabbed in the street for his "betrayal". Last week, the windows of his house were broken, and his front door smashed, as a further attempt to intimidate him.

He believes that the moderate Muslim community is "in denial" about the extremists in its midst. According to Mr Butt, many imams who preach at mosques in Britain "refuse to broach the difficult and often complex truth that Islam can be interpreted as condoning violence against the unbeliever, and instead repeat the mantra that 'Islam is peace', and hope that all of this debate will go away. This has left the territory open for radicals… I know, because [when] I was a recruiter, I repeatedly came across those who had tried to raise these issues with mosque authorities, only to be banned from their grounds. Every time this happened… it served as a recruiting sergeant for extremism."

It is certainly true that many imams in Britain are very conservative. Almost all are Sunni Muslims, rather than the Shia variety, and have little or no appeal to the younger generation of Muslims - the generation from whom the terrorists are recruited. A study by Prof Ron Geaves of the University of Chester, published last week, found that the majority of imams preaching here were born and trained outside Britain, and many don't even speak English. Their sermons are frequently in Urdu, which most British Muslims born here do not fully understand. It means that debates fundamental to demonstrating the message that "Islam is peace" and does not condone violence cannot be had inside mosques.

"And that is a huge problem," says Ed Husain. "One of the main reasons I was recruited to Islamism was because I was ignorant. Like most Muslims born in Britain, I knew nothing of Islamic traditions and I couldn't read Arabic. The extremists had the field to themselves. There was nothing to counteract their very narrow, perverted interpretation of Islam.

"I believe that one of the most important things that could be done to diminish the attraction of Islamism would be to expose young Muslims to the full variety of Islamic scholarship and debate. At the moment, a lot of them are turned off by the local mosque: they think it's boring. The extremists are 'cool'. But that's because no one actually confronts them properly. I had to go to the Middle East to get a proper Islamic education. It's not available in most of Britain's mosques - and that leads to extremist voices being very tempting to young Muslims who are looking for a form of Islam that they think is authentic."

It is not only in mosques that misguided policies allow radical Islamists to flourish. Some British universities have also failed to combat their presence and influence effectively. Two of the July 7 suicide bombers studied at Leeds Metropolitan University, for example. Waheed Zaman, awaiting trial on charges arising from last year's alleged plot to blow up passenger jets over the Atlantic, was a bio-medical student and president of the Islamic Society at London Metropolitan University.

Dhiren Barot, jailed last year for 40 years for plotting terrorist attacks, studied at Brunel University in London, as did Jawad Akbar, who was sentenced to life for trying to blow up the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent and the Ministry of Sound nightclub in London.

And yet, when the Government issued guidelines for tackling campus extremism, which included ways of identifying and tackling extremist behaviour, those guidelines were unanimously rejected by Universities UK, and the Universities and College Union, the umbrella organisations for Britain's universities. Teaching and administrative staff insisted they would not apply them.

"A monumental act of irresponsibility," is how Prof Anthony Glees, the director of Brunel University's Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, describes it. "The problem [of extremism on British campuses] is widespread and underestimated," Prof Glees says. He believes that universities will "come to regret" their "mindless rejection" of the Government's guidelines. "It sends out a signal to people who want to do us harm that universities will continue to be a safe bet from which to recruit: that they are safe areas for extremists to ply their trade. Academics are in a state of complete denial and confusion over what they should be doing; this a huge hindrance to tackling the problem."

While the problem of extremism in universities badly needs to be confronted, many believe that the seeds of fundamentalist terrorism lie at much earlier points in a Muslim boy or girl's education. "The result of 25 years of multiculturalism has not been multicultural communities. It has been mono-cultural communities," says Ed Husain. "Islamic communities are segregated. Many Muslims want to live apart from mainstream British society; official government policy has helped them do so. I grew up without any white friends. My school was almost entirely Muslim. I had almost no direct experience of 'British life' or 'British institutions'. So it was easy for the extremists to say to me: 'You see? You're not part of British society. You never will be. You can only be part of an Islamic society.' The first part of what they said was true. I wasn't part of British society: nothing in my life overlapped with it."

Patrick Sookdeo, the director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, converted to Christianity from Islam. He is convinced that Islamic "separatism" is at the heart of the problem. "The Islamic community," he says, "is evolving as a separate entity within the UK. We are facing a form of apartheid."

It is certainly true that there are plenty of Muslims who say they would like to be able to live under a separate legal system, obeying sharia law rather than the secular laws passed by Parliament. Ibrahim Mogra, the chairman of the MCB's inter-faith relations committee, says: "I am in the business of helping everyone live according to sharia… Most Muslims try to live according to sharia. The Government should consider whether it is necessary to make changes to the law to recognise sharia".

The fanatics, of course, go one further step: they say they are entitled, indeed required by divine law, to use violence to ensure that Britain becomes an Islamic republic under sharia law. The problem is preventing seepage from the moderate Islamic position, where sharia is only an aspiration, not a requirement. "But that can require Muslims to recognise that religion has to be separated from politics," says Shiv Malik, who investigated the life of Mohammad Siddique Khan, the July 7 bomber, and his background in Leeds for nearly a year. "It requires recognising that we live in a secular state, where religion is not what decides fundamental questions of law. But if you see the Koran as the word of God, as most Muslims do, that can be very difficult, because the Koran specifies all kinds of laws for family, social and political life. One example is the Koranic punishment for theft: cutting off the hand of the thief. No modern state would think that anything other than barbaric and inhumane. But theologically, Muslim fundamentalists are committed to trying to achieve a state that implements it."

Still, Hassan Butt sees grounds for optimism, as does Ed Husain. They both believe that the fanatics can be defeated. "But for that to happen, Muslims in Britain have to wake up to the fact that they have a problem with extremism," says Ed Husain. "Too many Muslims leaders look for explanations outside their own communities. They blame British foreign policy, or social deprivation, or unemployment, or poverty. They don't blame the perverted versions of Islam that their inactivity has allowed to flourish."

Mohammed Naseem, chairman of the Birmingham Central Mosque (it is affiliated to the MCB), exemplifies Mr Husain's point. He insists that there is "no proof" that Islamic extremists were behind any of the terrorist attacks. "The official explanation of 7/7 does not make sense," Mr Naseem says. "The majority of Muslims don't accept the version that we've been presented with [by the Government]. Videos can be made and the pictures of people on train platforms don't prove anything. Why should we condemn Muslim extremists when we don't know who did it?"

Polls reveal that 6 per cent of Muslims believe that on balance, the attacks of July 7, 2005 were justified, and 5 per cent think there is a Koranic justification for them. As Ed Husain and Hassan Butt note: solidarity marches and press advertisements assuring us that "Islam is Peace" will make no difference at all to the threat we face until those numbers reduce significantly.

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Israel should have [a long time ago] press the UN for:
1) Condemming Arab Muslim 'Palestinian' parents, teachers, leaders, Mullahs, for using Arab kids as human shields and as human bombs, clarifying the real culprits in Arabs' deaths.
2) Violations by ILLEGAL PA Arabs "settlers" on Israel's "agreed" borders by the UN.
3) "Palestinian" Violation of virtually ALL agreemants pacts with Israel (Oslo, Camp David, etc.).
4) The PA official media & education = hate (crimes) campaign on "the joos", (not just on Israel...).
5) Exposing the constant intimdation on nations by the GOLIATH ARAB MUSLIM (oil) block, to tarnish innocent Israel in the UN.



1) Are you denying that the Arab racist attacks on Jews in Israel/"palestine" has started since 1838 (Safed) [so were the attacks in 1883, 1920, 1921, 1929 - Hebron, etc.]?

2) Had Israel be a (mostly) Arab-Muslim State, would the intolerant Arab-Muslim Goliath world not accept them?

3) Why is there a complete silence on the historical fact of Arab immigration late 1800s early 1900s into Israel/"palestine"?

4) What anti-Israel bigotry is stronger, the "Arab racism"; factor? or the 'Islamic-Jihad' factor?

5) 'Moral equivalence' Do you have Arab activists on behalf of Israeli victims, just like you have Jewish, Israeli, Zionists activists for the (so called) 'Palestinian cause' (whatever that is...)?

6) If humane Israel would really go after "unarmed poor palestinians" as the 'Pallwood' propagandists tell us, How many Arabs would have survived Israel's might?

7) Who's more at fault, the Arab Muslim "Palestinians" parents pushing for Shahid-isim, or the indoctrinating Mullahs, Imams in the holy Mosques for using "Palestinian" kids and women as human bombs and as human shields (so they can blame the Zionists when Arab kids die)?

8) What would have happened if Arab Muslim "Palestinians" would have invested as much energy in rebuilding their lives as they do in destroying both nations' lives in fascistic Jihad, total hatred and campaign for GENOCIDE [to "drink the blood of the Jews" or to "push them all to the sea", or to "wipe them off of map"]?

9) Why does "bad" IDF Israeli army announce an area residents' civilians to evacuate before an operation against terrorists?

10) Why did Humane Israel's IDF invented specially low range missiles designed to hit ONLY the [terror] target and minimize collateral damage?

11) When was the last time the "Palestinian" well oil-ed propaganda machine has retracted [or even apologized] for it's usual PALLYWOOD fake images industry?

12) What's the difference between a Christian in Indonesia, Buddhist in Thailand, Christian in Nigeria, in Philippines, Australians in Bali (2002), non Muslims in London (0707/2005), in Madrid (bombing), "not the-right-kind-of-Muslims" in Shiite-Sunni hateful massacres in Iraq, oppression & massacres in the "Islamic Republic of Iran", and Israeli victims of the same "evil ideology"?

13) What's a harder oppression, your "average" Arab Muslim regime's on it's own people, Hamas-tan Islamic Apartheid [which most "Palestinians" supported!] on non Muslims, or the pro-Jihad parents' on their kids?

14) What would have happened if at least ONE Arab Muslim nation [regular or oil-ed one] would really care about the Arab [brothers, that since the 1960's started to call themselves as] "Palestinians" and let them get off the terror slum into normality and even prosperity?

15) What part of 'BLIND FASCISM' do Arab-Muslims deny, the usual obsessed anti Israel demonization [no matter what Israel does] or the reluctance to see Israel's super kind gestures for those that are trying to kill them [releases from prison, giving away own land vital to it's security, humanitarian aid, etc.] not as goodness but as "weakness"?

16) Why is it that when Islamists terrorists [Hamas or Hezbullah, Islamic Jihad, etc.] succeed in making sure Arab kids die [with their known tactics of cowardly firing among or behind children, etc.] the Arabs, Muslims rejoice and the Israelis, Jews are saddened ?

16) How can land be an issue [or the blatant lies the Arab lobby's financed: Jimmy Carter has said, though he admitted that Israel is a great equal democracy for all, Arabs and Jews alike!'] if "moderate" Palestinian official government still has venomous hatred and pro 'death cult' in it's regular curriculum and on it's official TV, or that such "moderate" Arab media outlets [like Al Jazeera] still glorify mass murder as "martyrdom"?

17) Who's more powerful, the Arab Muslim Goliath Oil mafia "lobby" on the world or a Chinese, Italian, Israeli, Irish, pharmaceutical, cigarettes lobbyists in Washington?

18) Had the International Arab Muslim lobby of nations in the UN [or the EU] not threatened other nations to bash Israel 24/7 [motivated by intolerance only!], What would be then the outcome?


Let's make it clear, even if there will be a "Palestine" state, it will never change the factual history, that a group of foreign Arab immigrants came into the (historic) land of the Jews (and started to call themselves as "Palestinians" in the 1960's) and hijacked the world comunity via terrorism and Arab oil power to give them yet a second 'Palestine' state (after Jordan).



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