Seeking a way to combat terrorism

Category: Americas, World Affairs Topics: Conflicts And War, Iraq Views: 4032

The London bombings have triggered new fears, heightened security measures and sparked another round of finger-pointing.

But, unlike in post-9/11 America, all sides of the debate are beginning to be heard in Britain.

All civilized people have condemned the terrorism, unequivocally, including British and Canadian Muslims.

Yet there is a tendency in some quarters to never lose an opportunity to lay a collective guilt trip on all Muslims. The new McCarthyism usually takes the form of a demand: "What do you have to say about ...?" 

Such folks need to be reminded of the May 22, 1944 notation in the diary of Anne Frank: "What one Christian does is his own responsibility, what one Jew does, reflects on all Jews."

Hounding law-abiding Muslims contravenes our basic democratic principles, besides being wholly counterproductive.

The next debate is over trying to understand the causes of terrorism. 

One side says Muslims are angry because of what's going on in Iraq, Palestine, Chechnya, etc.

Yes, but ... says the other side. How come Africans and Tibetans are not terrorists? Such critics fall into three camps.

One blames Islam. "It's a violent religion; its adherents always wage jihad." Oriana Fallaci makes millions saying so. A congressman makes headlines wanting to bomb Mecca. Other hatemongers are more careful.

The second camp draws a distinction between Islam and what it calls Islamism, defined as Osama bin Laden's dream of destroying the West and founding a caliphate. The terrorists are said to be his foot soldiers.

But clearly not all are inspired by Bin Laden's religion, only his politics of grievance.

The third camp categorizes the terrorists as a neo-fascist, nihilistic and death-loving cult with an Islamic sheen. "They hate our freedoms." "They want to destroy our way of life." 

"An evil ideology," Tony Blair calls it, associating it with "radical Islam." He'll hold a conference, just as he had on Palestine when feeling similarly helpless.

The "cult of death" line prompts a debate over which side kills more - the terrorists or state-initiated economic sanctions, wars and endless occupations? 

Piping up in the middle are the old unreconstructed multiculturalists, still bemoaning that the West would be better off if we were all a homogeneous lot.

We are going in circles.

Which way forward? 

One side says we show the same interest in solving the problems of the Muslim world as we did, say, in East Timor.

The other side says, Muslims heal thyself. Crack down on madrassas. Fight Wahhabism. Stop fiery sermons. If you don't do it, we will do it for you.

Muddling along in the middle are politicians and bureaucrats.

British competence in identifying the bombers does not cover up the fact that a recent security report concluded that there was no imminent threat; that one of the bombers was probed last year but not held; that the mastermind of the bombing, a known operative, was allowed to slip in and out of the country.

Blair's pledge to deport Islamic extremists avoids the issue of where he will send those born in Britain. 

Similarly, the macho talk of our own Gen. Rick Hillier about going to Afghanistan to fight "detestable murderers and scumbags" does not clarify if he plans to go to war on Britain or Pakistan or Egypt, where the bombers were born or had visited or had connections with.

He is not the only quacking Canuck. Anne McLellan - "we are also a target, you know" - would also be wiser to prepare harder but talk less.

But there is hope.

Britons see the connection between Iraq and their troubles. It's not just Ken Livingstone, the leftist mayor of London, or rebel MP George Galloway, or some British Muslim leaders. So does a confidential security report. So does a public report by the Royal Institute of International Affairs. So does two-thirds of the public.

They are asserting themselves the same way that Canadians did before the Iraq invasion, notwithstanding the pro-war stance of the Tories, the establishment and most media.

Why are Western governments and the media so afraid to examine whether or not the terrorist Muslim mayhem that we are suffering is the extremist response to what America and its allies are doing in Muslim lands, or are complicit in?

Our own publics are pointing the way.

Haroon Siddiqui is the Toronto Star's editorial page editor emeritus. [email protected]

  Category: Americas, World Affairs
  Topics: Conflicts And War, Iraq
Views: 4032

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Older Comments:
No Americans, no terrorism.

Steve, it goes without saying that besides my self, all Muslims and I mean all, feel deeply for all the murdered victims of the bombing, and their families. There was no hidden messge in my statement and there isn't any now. If previously I did not express a general condolonce for all, it was not out of any devious intent. I assumed that the import of my statement was well understood. You see Steve, we Muslims are most weary now. We feel horrible but short of jumping off a cliff to express our pain for the suffering of all, we just don't know what to do, nothing we do is enough. We are the official "terrorists". We are spit on, shunned in public who give us aweful stares as if we were some strange bugs, our women and children are assaulted, many beaten to death, our businesses, mosques and homes burnt, all because some idiots who went by Muslim names committed a horrible crime. I ask you this Steve, each and every day in every part of the world there are disgusting crimes committed by persons of all faiths. But does the world hold all the adherents of the faith of these criminals responsible? I could quote the Holocaust or Japan or Vietnam or Bosnia or Albania, but not once would such massive crimes against humanity cause one to think, 'Its those Christians again'. Or I could mention the daily killings in Palestine and point to the fact that these murders are sanctioned by Israel, but no one would say 'Ah ! Jewish blood lust again'. And I am not even going to bother to remind the world of the occassional slaughter of innocents in India. Often chopped up or burnt alive by Hindu lynch mobs, in which the Indian military and police are openly complicit. Has the world been known to take all Hindus and their religion to task - NO. Steve I am not saying that this crime in London or Madrid or in the US is justified by the years of injustice to us, all I am saying is don't hold 2.8 Billion people and Islam at fault for the mindless actions of a few.

Tim, I applaud your comments. I also noticed how the
author throws in comments like 'feeling helpless." Don't
try to force the same feelings on the West that Haroon
feels. Blair doesn't "feel helpless" anymore than
George Bush would. In addition to all the other reasons
you can rationale terrorism and murder, one thing that
people forget is the terrorists are playing a dangerous
game here. The U.S is not going to pull out of Iraq the
way Spain did because of some angry thugs. People
forget that the U.S. has the military, technological and
economic power to wipe most of the world off of the
map and if these people continue with these murders, it
just might do that. It makes no difference whether you
reply to me with "Look how many murders the U.S. has
committed,, etc...etc..." I know and the U.S/ gov't knows
that the U.S. policies are often horribly unfair and
destructive to many people and should be changed.
Bombings aren't going to do it though -- it will just
enhance the anger. Instead of blathering about
conspiracy theories like I've been reading, why don't
more people denounce these murders and forbid them
to be a part of their lives. There's no "Yes, but..." And, it
doesn't make a damn bit of difference why they are
commiting these murders, nothing will change unless it

STEVE said:
abu mohammed, your deep ethical concern for the brazilian is exemplary and inspiring..don't let anyone tell you that the fact you entirely omitted mention of the London victims of the bombers indicates any hidden agenda in your post..people can be so nitpicking

More idiocy and hypocrisy from the likes of those launch illegal wars and invasions and demand that when they suffer blowback, that we all line up and shed crocodile tears for them.
This is not a crisis for Islam but a moment of reckoning for the west. Dont committ terrorism if you do not to suffer from it. Its common sense. Let us not forget that these warmongers are responsible for the deaths of over 128000 Iraqis, I dont see them condemning their war criminal troops for their actions.
And lest we forget Al-Qaida is their creation. Reap the whirlwind "liberators."

All this aside I really feel terrible and most distraught at the horrible killing of Jean Charles de Menezes. He was human being and a good person. He had a family and people who loved him. My deepest sympathies to his family. May God be kind to him. I don't think any amount of money can compensate for this terrible and horrible state sanctioned murder. I have owned and sold three businesses in London. I enjoyed dealing with Londoners. I have employed English lads whom I found hard working and honest. I think the English are far more sensible, compassionate, forthright, educated and intelligent than the Americans. I left UK after 30 years for the US where I live now. But I have always vacationed in London. Sadly in fear of my family's welfare and mine, with no blame to the English, I will never go there again.

1. Forget for the moment that the terrorists are Muslim. We are fighting a war. Terrorism is just a tactic of war. We cannot allow them to win or others will see it as a way to impose their views on the public too.

2. Nobody cares if the terrorist has justifiable reasons. It's the same way that if you were mauled by a dog, you would not care if the dog had been abused as a puppy. You just want to kill him.

3. Terrorist kill indiscriminately. Over 600 Muslims were killed in the Twin Tower attacks of 9-11. Did the Muslim terrorists ever apologize to the families of the Muslim victims?

4. We are fighting a war. A terrorist attack on America, Canada, Britain, or Europe will most certainly kill Muslims as well as non-Muslims.

5. These particular terrorists identify themselves as Muslim. In the West they attend the same mosques and follow the same rituals as as peaceful Muslims. Unfortunately, many Western Muslims do support the terrorists and aid them. So which group should the police be searching to find these terrorists, Catholics and Buddhists?

6. It is important for Western Muslims to purge these terrorists from their midsts. If they do not, their silence will be seen by non-Muslims as sympathy for the terrorists. If there are more attacks in the West, Muslims should be on their guard as there will be random acts of violence against Muslims who will be seen by many as collaberators.

6. Stop taking on the personas as "victims". All your non-Muslim neighbors will ask is "Are you with us or against us?" Nobody can be neutral in this war. If these "Muslim terrorists" don't speak for you, then show it by word and deed.


Steve and Nasser, The government of Muslim countries are chose by their people, people has no say in what their governments do, but they take all the pain and sanctions, bombs, occupation from outsiders, so for the sins committed by their governments (western puppets) the west punish the common man. What about people living in the western democracies, who have a say in what their governments do, and have the power to change it. Even after knowing that their governments wage an illegal war they (as majority) chose the same people in government, So if Muslims has to take the bombs for the sin of their governments what about westerners who not only choose their governments but also take share in the booty (cheap oil, big business contracts) their governments snatch from the poor families of Muslim countries.

First of all its not even Iraq or even Afghanistan, the new generation of Muslims, is now awaked, awaked after a long sleep, now they don't want any one meld in their affairs, they don't want to have any western puppet ruling them, they don't want to take order from west.

Yes, Muslims are not like others, Muslims don't beg, we snatch what is ours, we will not let any super power take away the bread from the mouth of our Childers, else we will not let you eat in peace any more.

Had it not for the insurgents in Iraq, American would have installed a puppet dictator on Iraq long back, thank to the insurgency, American have not option but to talk about democracy in Iraq.

Oh yes Steve old boy, ofcource we all know that those who are responsible for the murder of over 128000 Iraqis are not Iraqis, just as we know that those who launched an illegal war of terror against them werent Iraqis either.

STEVE said:
brilliant, nasser! indeed, someone else is carrying out all these suicide bombings and blaming muslims..what could be clearer! personally, I think the guilty ones are those green martians in their flying saucers..

p.s. you also say "if Iraq is invaded then the people of Iraq have a right to fight back" and advise others to go there and help out...

Isn't it ironic that the majority of suicide bombers in Iraq are NOT Iraqis and that the majority of their victims ARE!

We have these so called inteligent muslims writing these articles, but from my end, a person with a lot more to learn, I am sadden by this article.
NO matter what is happening around the world we as muslims should not use these atrocities as justification for the terrorist bombings. These murders disobey one of the basic principles of islam (do not kill innocent women and children, innocence on the whole). What you are doing is justifying these terrorist actions because of the Iraq war. If Iraq is invaded then the people of Iraq has a right to fight back, and if you want to help them, then go to Iraq. Don't take revenge here and make life miserable for muslims in the whole western world. This is one of reasons why I thik that muslims are commiting these atrocities we are not that stupid to commit a crime to have the athorities come and distroy our families and houses left behind. Someone else is doing this and blaming this on muslims, and at the same time we are finding reasong to implicate ourselves. STOP THIS