We must stand up to Islamo-fascism
History tells us it takes a long time to rouse the British, though once roused they see things through. Maybe the latest terrorist outrage will give second thoughts to all those well-meaning battalions of left and right and leaders of the Muslim community who have yet to see an anti-terrorism measure they approve. No to 90 days to question suspects; no to identity cards; no to selective telephone monitoring; and yes, in the name of free speech, to the radical mullahs brainwashing deluded youth.
A whole culture of complaint has grown up among the media and among leaders of the Muslim community. The protest letter signed by 38 Islamic organizations, with three MPs and three Lords, is typical of the buck-passing. They blame British foreign policy, which is unhistorical. The Islamic radicals were using Afghanistan as a base to plot mass murder, climaxing in 9/11, long before the ill-judged invasion of Iraq. They were planning murder, too, when Tony Blair was active in trying to establish a Palestinian state and negotiations with Israel were at an apex of hope. By attacking Blair instead of Osama, the protesters give the radicals a free pass and feed a sense of alienation among perennially disgruntled youth.
It is understandable that the leaders of the Muslim community are sensitive to a stereotype of Muslims as terrorists. Everyone knows the vast majority are decent, law-abiding citizens who deserve our sympathy and respect. But everyone knows, too, that the crimes are committed by Muslims in the name of Islam, and not by Christians, Jews, Buddhists. The anti-terror laws that draw protest do not discriminate, so why protest them?
As for too much of the media, the attitude is that typified in a 52-page document from the International Federation of Journalists – 52 alarm bells – where FIEJ describes the response of government to terrorism as “a devastating challenge to the global culture of human rights established almost 60 years ago … we are sleepwalking into a surveillance society.”
A devastating challenge to the global culture of human rights?
Speaking personally of challenges to human rights, I'd rather be photographed by a hidden surveillance camera than travel on a train or bus with killers carrying bombs in their backpacks.
Speaking personally, I'd regard being blowing to bits on the street as more of an intrusion on my privacy than having an identity card. I have only one identity; the terrorists hide behind multiple identities that require time to unravel.
Speaking personally, I'd rather have my phone subject to monitoring than know that terror plotting is going undetected.
There can be no security without freedom – but no freedom without security.
Of course, it is true that as well as the accident of the De Menezes tragedy, anti-terrorism measures have resulted in a number of notorious affronts to human rights. There is absolutely no justification for Abu Ghraib, nor for long-term detention without due process; but these shocking events, all properly exposed by a vigilant press, have led to prosecutions of the perpetrators. That is the way a free society works.
An editor at an international conference I attended recently said blame for the murders of journalists in Iraq – most of them Iraqi – is all because President Bush won't accept the Geneva conventions. I am not going to defend Bush's stubborn and stupid unilateralism on a whole range of issues, but it totally misunderstands the nature of terrorism today to think the Geneva convention, courts of law, or the “foreign policy” the Islamic organisations dislike, even remotely enter the thinking of Osama and his motley bombers.
The civil rights lobbies are working from a passé play book. They are blind to the lethal nature of the new Salafist totalitarianism. They won't recognize that we are facing an irrationalist movement immune to compromise and dedicated to achieve its ends of controlling every aspect of daily life, every process of the mind, through indiscriminate mass slaughter. It is a culture obsessed with death, a culture that despises women, a culture devoted to mad hatreds not just of Americans and Jews everywhere, but of Muslims anywhere who embrace a less totalitarian, less radical, more humane view of Islam. These Muslims are to be murdered, and have been in their thousands, along with “the pigs of Jews, the monkeys of Christians” and all the “dirty infidels”.
Nor is the repellent language of hate limited to recognized terrorist groups like al-Qaida, Hizbullah and Hamas. It is in the school textbooks in Palestine and in the schools of our “ally”, Saudi Arabia. They promised to clean them up but a recent Washington Post investigation showed the books still tell the young they have a religious obligation to wage jihad against not only Christians and Jews but also Muslims who do not follow the xenophobic Wahabi doctrine.
The Salafist movement was under-rated and misunderstood and the reaction to it has been confused. As always, the right is triggerhappy and hostile to free expression; as always, the left never wants to do anything that would hazard its self-righteous sense of moral purity.
These are historic fault lines. The right tolerated fascism in the thirties, the left Soviet Communism in the fifties. Of course these two earlier totalitarian movements were different in nature and our response when it came was not always well judged – the tendency is to think first of the excesses of the right typified by the witch hunts of the odious McCarthy, but we should remember, too, that the Democratic party in the immediate postwar years of Henry Wallace would have abandoned Europe just as the left in the eighties would have left Europe at the mercy of the new Soviet missiles.
The apologists for the Islamo-fascists – an accurate term – leave millions around the world exposed to a less obvious but more insidious barbarism.