Is British foreign policy fueling Muslim extremism?

Article submitted to Times on line in response to an article by Inayat Bunglawala, assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain. (,,6-2309097,00.html)

Is British foreign policy fueling Muslim extremism?
Let’s look at the facts

By Maurice Ostroff

The article “It’s undeniable: British foreign policy is endangering all of us” by Inayat Bunglawala, assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, calls for serious consideration and comment. (The Times August 12, 2006)

The Author reports that a working group tackling extremism and radicalization which he convened, accepted that extremism is a reality in some sections of the Muslim community and that it must be confronted and defeated. Subsequently he refers to too many Muslims preferring to entertain outlandish conspiracy theories rather than grapple with the harsh reality of extremism.

It is impossible to understand the article without an explanation of the “outlandish conspiracy theories” to which Mr. Bunglawala refers and his curt dismissal as “chatter” of the Daily Telegraph’s leader “Only Muslim families can stop this infamy”, is disappointing. Surely, it is not unreasonable to ask Muslim families to assist in dealing with the problem, in view of the undeniable fact that all the current suspected plotters are Muslims, added to the facts that in January 2003, six Muslims were arrested on suspicion of producing the deadly ricin poison and that both the 7/7 and 9/11 perpetrators were all Muslims.

If they were all members of any other particular group or club, nobody would object to calling on all members of that group to take action.

There is one statement in the article with which we must all agree. It reads
“The simple fact is that we all need to face some difficult truths; ”

Let’s do exactly that. If one examines the history of the murderous extremist violence currently under discussion, it becomes obvious that it has nothing to do with the policies of either Blair of Bush. Rather it springs from incitement to Jihad by the likes of Sheikh Abu Hamza, who told London Mirror reporters on August 26, 2002, that he advised young British supporters that murder and bank robbery are legitimate weapons against the enemies of Islam and that the infidel should be kept on the run. With this kind of indoctrination, it is not surprising that Muslim protestors in London later carried placards reading, “Butcher those who mock Islam” and “Massacre those who insult Islam”.

That these violent acts are directed at Western values everywhere and not only at Britain and the USA is self evident from incidents in places where British policy is of no concern. Witness the riots sparked by the fake Danish newspaper cartoons, which struck fear into media world wide, producing a noticeable reluctance to criticize Muslims for reasons of safety that continues to this day.

In Britain, both the Spectator and The Liberal magazine withdrew offending cartoons from their websites due to fear of reprisals. The Liberal’s editor stated: “Despite our wishes and convictions, for reasons of safety the magazine will no longer carry the cartoon itself.” In the USA, “The Phoenix”, a Boston newspaper admitted its reason for not publishing the cartoons was fear of being terrorized, adding “..this may be the darkest moment in our 40-year publishing history”.

Even in Egypt, far away from the Blair/Bush scene, the recent bombings in Egyptian Sinai are part of the same terror movement, with links to earlier events dating back to long before Tony Blair became prime minister. In an article in Egyptian daily Al-Ahram (03/05/2005) Ahmad Naji Kamha wrote that in Egypt whenever things moved toward real reforms, the state was taken by surprise by political acts of violence, beginning with the assassination of the late President Sadat. Referring to current events he wrote; “The Lie Behind the Inciting Claims that the U.S. is the Great Satan Must Be Exposed”

The incitement to violence even connects London to Russia. On October 3, 2004, The Observer revealed that Kamel Rabat Bouralha attended the Finsbury Park mosque with Osman Larussi and Yacine Benalia, both loyal to Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev who boasted of training the men who took control of the school in Beslan and wired it with explosives. Nothing to do with the policies of either Blair or Bush.

Mid-East expert Jon Lewis, describes the Darfur genocide as a case of Islamic jihad, and going further back in history to Black September of 1970, a series of hijackings of airliners by Palestinian terrorists was followed by the PLO’s attempt to take control of Jordan. Nothing to do with the policies of either Blair or Bush.

It is surprising how short the public’s memory can be. The 2003 war on Iraq was a consequence of the 9/11 attack in 2001, not vice-versa, as some would have us believe. More importantly, connecting the dots backwards leads to the terrorist attack on the WTC as far back as 1993. No possible connection to the policies of either Blair or Bush.

With hindsight it is now obvious that this should have been a wakeup call. The culprits were a small group of Middle Eastern men. The mastermind, Ramzi Yousef, stated that he intended his bomb to cause the Twin Towers to fall, and he further admitted a failed plot to kill 4,000 people in the Philippines by blowing up 12 U.S.-bound airliners.

In October 1985, the PLF hijacked the Achille Lauro, shooting to death wheelchair-bound passenger Leon Klinghoffer and dumping his body overboard. Blind Egyptian sheik, Omar Abdel-Rahman, was convicted in 1995 on charges that he and his followers had plotted to assassinate Egyptian President Mubarak in New York in 1994 and to bomb the U.N. building and the Holland and Lincoln tunnels in New York In November 1997 foreign tourists were savagely attacked in Luxor, Egypt. India, too, has been deeply ravaged by Islamic terror. Nothing to do with the policies of either Blair or Bush.

It is not the perpetrators who should be condemned as much as the cynical plotters who send them off on their missions with promises of heavenly rewards. Behind each terror attack is an elaborate infrastructure that must be tackled, starting with the incitement propagated under the very noses of host cities in Britain, Europe and the U.S., as well as in madrassas in the East.

It is incredibly difficult to understand why our instinct for self preservation does not prevent us from being side-tracked about British foreign policy instead of connecting the visible dots warning of continued threats to our way of life, not from Islam, but from Islamic fundamentalism. Let’s be practical for a moment. If the British government were to break off relations with Israel in order to appease the British Muslim extremist population, the chances are that their support of violence will not diminish by one iota. Rather it would be treated as victory and encouragement to more vigorously pursue the objective taught by Abu Hamza of transforming Britain into a Sharia state with all its implications. In Sharia law alcohol is forbidden and crimes are punished by stoning, lashes or the severing of a hand. Not long ago, the Guardian reported that an Islamic court in Nigeria sentenced a woman, accused of adultery, to death by stoning.

Most importantly the civilized world must seek out and support the many Islamic religious leaders who are uncomfortable with the distortion of their religion and assist them to boldly protect true Islam from the extremists who distort it, so that the unpleasant phenomenon of “profiling” will become unnecessary. It is essential to distinguish between the angry mobs and moderate Muslims, whose voices are being drowned by the highly visible extremists