Britain is now fighting a war it dares not name. The recent failed car bomb attacks on a London nightclub and Glasgow airport demonstrated once again that Britain is a principal target for al-Qaeda. But even now, the British response is dangerously confused.
After eight people in the medical profession were arrested over these attacks, there was widespread shock that those who cure should also want to kill. This naive and ahistorical reaction demonstrated yet again the extraordinary state of denial about the Islamist jihad. After all, Osama bin Laden's sidekick, Ayman al-Zawahri, is a doctor. So are other Islamist terrorists, including Mahmoud Zahar, the Hamas strongman in Gaza.
But because the deeply empirical British do not understand how religious fanaticism twists the human mind, they tell themselves that Islamic terrorism must be driven by rational grievances such as deprivation, "Islamophobia" or British foreign policy.
Many continue to believe that Britain is a target because of its involvement in Iraq. While the war is undoubtedly used to whip up hysteria in the Muslim world, the irrationality of believing that it is the cause of Islamic terror is clearly demonstrated by the fact that British Muslims who have been jailed for terrorist offenses were recruited even before 9/11. Al-Qaeda is also heavily engaged in places such as Indonesia or Africa, which have no connection to Iraq or the Middle East.
In Britain, all these grievance excuses are wearing very thin, thanks to the recent emergence of former jihadists who have renounced their extremism.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
The Un-Named War
I call it the War on Terror, but it is a war on Islamic fundamentalist and jihadis. I don't have a problem saying it, but apparently the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown does.