Instead of cheering for the arrests of jihad terror plotters. “Plots and paranoia are mainstream views for Muslims of Sparkbrook,” by Andrew Norfolk in the TimesOnline, :
To wander the streets of Sparkbrook yesterday, from shabby corner shop to proud, white-domed mosque, was to enter a world where conspiracy theories are the breath of life.
Many ordinary Muslims did not believe that Wednesday”s arrests were an act to foil a terrorist plot aiming to visit unspeakable barbarity on a young British soldier.
Rather the entire operation was a giant con trick. This fits a growing perception of a post-9/11 world in which innocent Muslims are demonised, and the terror threat manufactured to suit the dark designs of the West’s Judaeo-Christian elite.
The decision to distribute 5,000 multilingual leaflets, carefully setting out details of the anti-terrorist operation and the events leading up to it, may have sought to offer a well intentioned reassurance “that the police are not targeting communities or faiths, but suspected criminals”.
To many Muslims that message has fallen on deaf ears. That many seem not to believe police reassurances is at least in part because they are listening to a very different message from mosques across the city. Take the Birmingham Central Mosque, where up to 4,000 people will be attending Friday prayers today.
Its chairman for the past 32 years has been Mohammed Naseem, a past champion of interfaith dialogue who was for many years regarded as a voice of Islamic moderation. A year ago, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Birmingham.
Dr Nasseem, 83, yesterday told The Times of his certainty that the nine arrested men were innocent of any crime and would eventually be released without charge.
He spoke of his conviction that the Government was “pursuing a policy of maintaining a perception of a [terrorist] threat to justify the draconian anti-terror laws they have been passing”.
He went on to compare Tony Blair’s Britain to Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union under Stalin. People were beginning to realise, he said, that the Government had embarked on “a campaign to strike terror in the hearts of the Muslim people”.
And Dr Naseem is said to be a voice of the mainstream. Indeed, he explicitly condemns terrorism and “the killing of innocent people”. He was keen to appeal for calm yesterday and to urge Muslims “not to lose their dignity by taking the law into their own hands”.