Anti-dhimmitude from The Sunday Times: “No offence, imam, but we must call it Islamic terror”
After the terrorist outrages of July 7, 2005, most Londoners have continued to travel by bus, train and Underground. They are more vigilant, but few seem to experience anxiety about a repeat attack during their journey. That is remarkable because objectively the chances of another massacre must be higher than a year ago.
Last year the bombs were the first shock. The second was to discover that the terrorists were suicide bombers and British. We could have coped with the outrage more easily had the murderers been foreigners, raised in squalor, brainwashed under a theocratic dictatorship and shipped here to massacre people for whom they had no kindred feelings.
Once we understand that, we feel less safe. Also, things have got worse over the past year. Although there has been no anti-Islamic backlash it seems that many British Muslims feel victimised by the authorities” response to terror. They think they face discrimination when stopped and searched. The bungled police operation in Forest Gate has become an emblem of supposed repression.
Even peace-loving Muslim spokesmen feel obliged to give credence to the perception that their community is being unfairly harassed. It causes some young Muslim men to withdraw further from a British society claimed to be hostile. At best that surrounds the terrorists with a penumbra of disaffected Muslims who may not condemn
their crimes or denounce their murderous plots. At worst it enlarges the pool from which new bombers can be recruited.
It is there that Al-Qaeda has scored its greatest success. More significant for the long term than the bombs is the impact that terror has in dividing the groups that make up our society, and in increasing the appeal of militancy to those who can be duped into seeing themselves as repressed.
So to try to condemn the expression “Islamic violence” is a dangerous attempt at censorship that would hamper our understanding of the threat we face. The term is certainly offensive to Muslims, but the offence is caused by the bombers, not by those who describe the process.
Last week Tony Blair caused a furore by calling on Muslims to do more to control, denounce or deliver up the men who preach and practise violence. Some Muslim spokesmen said that was a divisive remark that stigmatised Muslims instead of recognising that the problem was one for British society as a whole.
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