From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, with thanks to Skeet Street.
LEEDS, England — In a basement mosque where suspected suicide bombers once prayed, the imam ended worship Thursday with traditional Islamic blessings, then turned to the subject on everyone’s mind: “The devil of radicalism is at our doorstep. We must fight it, brothers.”
Shahzad Tanweer — one of the suspected suicide bombers in the July 7 attacks in London — often filed through the low metal gate surrounding the Stratford Street mosque to pray here. Now, Imam Munir refuses to mention his name, calling him only “one who failed the faith.”
Tanweer, 22, sometimes brought his friend, 18-year-old Hasib Hussain, but they began to drift away from the mosque in recent months, the imam said. Tanweer went to Pakistan for two months this year to study Islam. And some mosque members believe that he and Hussain began holding prayer sessions with the third suspected bomber, 30-year-old Mohammed Sidique Khan.
“We can proclaim peace as tolerance all we want,” said Mohammad Khan, a Pakistani-born shopkeeper who attended midday prayers at the mosque after walking around police barricades throughout the neighborhood of red-brick row houses in the Beeston section of Leeds.
“But we are fighting something so big. Our young people always hear these calls of martyrdom and jihad in the name of religion. Some follow it, and I’m afraid more will, too,” he said.
“I think there was something we could have done to stop them. But what? How do you fight an enemy you can’t see; an enemy that resides in people’s souls?”
It is in places like this that “the real war on terrorism will be won or lost,” said Nadim Shehadi, an Islamic affairs specialist at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.
“London is the real capital of the Islamic world,” Shehadi said. “It’s from here where ideas spread. If you can rob terrorism of its intellectual strength in Britain the impact of this will be felt all the way around the world from Chechnya to Uzbekistan, Iraq, Syria and everywhere.”
Moderate clerics’ appeals to reject radicalism have become a familiar part of the cycle of Muslim denunciations and introspection after attacks from New York to Indonesia to Madrid…
[Prime Minister Blair] set a challenge that passes directly into the hands of moderate Muslim leaders. “We have to find ways to pull up this evil ideology by its roots.”
“Yes, everyone agrees the Muslim leaders must be more pro-active in fighting radical thought,” said Hanif Malik, head of the main Islamic community center in Beeston, “But it’s just empty words when Muslims feel the world is against them. You can say it’s not true. I don’t believe it’s true. But for those who do, the call of the radical side is strong. We all know that this is not over.”
So, the world is against them because they murder people and they murder people because the world is against them…