Monday, August 14, 2006

Wilfully blind to terror's source

Wilfully blind to terror's source

National Post
Mon 14 Aug 2006
Page: A11
Section: Issues & Ideas
Byline: Lorne Gunter

In light of Thursday's thwarted terror plot to explode Transatlantic airliners, outbound from Britain to the United States, can we all now please stop pretending that the problem isn't the present state of Islamic culture?

For there to be enough Muslims terrorists to feed the manpower needs of the London plots (last week's, and last summer's 7/7 attack on the Underground and buses), the Toronto 17, the Miami 7, the Mumbai train explosions last month, the Afghan insurgency, the Iraq insurgency, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Islamic Jihadi, Madrid, Bali, Mogadishu, Chechnya, LAX, the Danish cartoon riots and so on, there must be literally millions of Muslims vehemently hateful of Western culture and democracy. Not every fanatic is capable of martyrdom, nor do martyrs operate alone ---there must be a vast network to produce and feed them.

To produce the tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of Muslims fighters and terrorists that exist worldwide, there must be millions more funnelling support and money, hateful preaching, deadly training, poisonous school lessons and so on into the tip who are the actual plotters and bombers.

Yet even as they announced the arrests of 24 middle-class British Muslims late this week, representatives of the British government and Scotland Yard assiduously avoided saying that any of the arrestees were followers of Islam, even though all were. Officials steadfastly referred to them as "British Asians," as if either their British-ness or Asian-ness was the cause of their desire to sneak explosives aboard 10 aircraft filled with civilian travellers and detonate them mid-flight.

They were not prepared to blow themselves up and take 200 or 300 innocent flyers with them because they were fanatical devotees of cricket, nor because they were worshippers of Vishnu, the Hindu god of creation.

Being British and Asian had almost nothing to do with their being suspected conspirators in the largest terror plot since 9/11.

It was the same in June when Canadian security forces arrested 17 Muslims plotting to attack targets in this country using fertilizer bombs and perhaps even kidnap the Prime Minister and saw off his head.

When announcing those arrests, Mike McDonell, an assistant commissioner of the RCMP, insisted -- in what may be the most politically correct whitewash in the history of Canadian policing -- that those in custody represented "the broad strata of our society. Some are students, some are employed, some are unemployed."

Yeah, sure. But all of them were Muslims, right?

And it was not their scholastic careers nor their employment status that compelled them to scheme to bring down the Peace Tower and CSIS's offices in Toronto.

For his part, too, Bill Blair, Toronto's police chief, boasted that "there was not one single reference made by law enforcement to 'Muslim' or 'Muslim community.'"

As if it were a good thing; as if it would help end terror for police to be wilfully blind to the source of the threat.

A story on British Muslims in Sunday's New York Times reported that 81% identify themselves as Muslims first and British second, with similar levels among Muslims in other Western nations. Even among Muslims not radical enough to be either bombers or their supporters -- among moderate Muslims -- Muslim-ness was more important than British-ness.

They would not identify themselves are "British Asians," so why should police and government ministers?


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