Statsminister Tony Blair fikk på nyåret ifjor en rapport på sitt bord om fremveksten av ekstremisme blant unge britiske muslimer. Det var foruroligende lesning. 7/7 ser ut som en bekreftelse.
Intelligence experts and Islamic leaders agree that Thursday July 7 marks the bloody emergence of home-grown Islamic terrorism in Britain rather than the arrival of Al-Qaeda’s bombers on these shores. The favourite hypothesis of investigators is that the bomb teams comprised a cell of some eight or nine young British Muslims, led by a foreign-born «talisman» figure who controlled and directed them.
Dette er unge som ikke har noen formell tilknytning til Al Qaida. De finnes ikke i registre over mistenkte, er født i Europa, er beskyttet av dets lover og rettigheter, og vet hvordan ting fungerer.
«There is a growing phenomenon of angry young Muslims in Britain,» said this man, who wished to re2_kommentar anonymous. «I get many young people who watch Al-Jazeera or Al-Arabiya [the satellite TV channels] coming to me after Friday prayers saying they have seen the atrocities at Abu Ghraib or the defacing of Korans at Guantanamo and what should they do.
«I tell them to study, take care of their own lives, that if they are angry with George Bush or Tony Blair there is no point killing innocent people in Oxford Street. But there may be many more going to crazy people who tell them to take matters into their own hands. There is an absolute majority among Muslims who share the anti-US sentiment of Al-Qaeda and it is easy to harness that.»
Franske sikkerhetseksperter sier at Storbritannia nå høster hva det har sådd. Ved å la alle mulige ekstremister få opphold i landet på humanitært grunnlag, og ved å la dem drive politisk virksomhet, har britene gjort London til et knutepunkt for terrorister.
«It may not be the moment to say it,» said a defence ministry official in Paris, «but London is paying for its mistakes, for allowing all those radical organisations from Saudis to Pakistanis to set up shop in London, put out newsletters, make recruits and gather funds to finance their activities.»
Young men from Algeria and Morocco, including members of Islamist armed organisations, came to Britain in the early 1990s to escape persecution by the security forces in their home countries. They were granted asylum and some have since lived on welfare. Supporters of the Armed Islamic Group, known then as the GIA, used mosques such as Finsbury Park and Brixton, in south London, to raise funds to buy guns and bankroll a terror campaign that cost tens of thousands of lives in Algeria. They engaged in blackmail, drug dealing and credit card fraud to support their fundraising in London, Manchester and Birmingham.
Britene gikk så langt at de sa nei til fransk etterretning som ønsket å avhøre visse GIA-mistenkte på britisk jord. For alle som husker GIAs sanseløse brutalitet er dette utrolig lesning. Hva var tankegangen bak en slik politikk?
In April 1994, after raids on GIA suspects in Paris, police found documents said to be «GIA communiqués» sanctioning the murder of Algerian police officers. Fax numbers were traced to London addresses in Southall, Mile End, Brixton, Finsbury Park and Richmond. A French investigating magistrate came to London to try to interview eight of those linked to the documents. But he was apparently blocked by the British authorities.
The French were so concerned about the role of the GIA and other groups in London that they authorised illegal spying operations against them in London — without telling the British.
Å skape et miljø
Ved siden av de utenlandske ekstremistene, tillot britene fremveksten av en hjemmeavlet:
Increasingly, hundreds of young Muslim men, most of them British born, were being drawn to the cause of fundamentalism. Radical websites and imams in mosques in London, Luton, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester were preaching holy war to disaffected young Muslims who were looking for a purpose.
Overvåkingspolitiet ble oppmerksom på problemet. Men hvordan definerer man ekstremisme? når er det ytringsfrihet, og når en sikkkerhetstrussel?
I Norge har man i liten grad satt søkelyset på denne problematikken. Hvis man støtter jihadistene i Irak, kvalifiserer det til registrering?
Etter Lund-kommisjonen er all politisk overvåkning diskreditert. Men man har gått for langt den andre veien. Det var absolutt trekk ved SUF(m-l) og AKP(m-l) som kvalifiserte til overvåking. Før det hadde man trusselen fra Sovjet. Idag gjelder trusselen våre byer. Er det så merkelig om man reiser spørsmålet om registrering av folk som hyller jihadistene? Det er interessant at Klassekampen på lederplass hyller den brede motstandskampen i Irak, og setter de døde i Fallujah opp mot London-ofrene. Det er den type retorikk som skaper et miljø hvor noen kan gravitere over til handling. Her burde gamle ml-ere ha mye å bidra med, hvis de er blitt demokrater i mellomtiden.
The paper prepared for the prime minister spelt out the breadth of the problem: «By extremism, we mean advocating or supporting views such as support for terrorist attacks against British or western targets, including the 9/11 attacks, or for British Muslims fighting against British and allied forces abroad, arguing that it is not possible to be Muslim and British, calling on Muslims to reject engagement with British society and politics, and advocating the creation of an Islamic state in Britain.»
It stated that «a small number of young British Muslims are known to have committed or participated in terrorism abroad . . . a number of extremist groups operate in the UK and seek to recruit young Muslims . . . and an increasing number of British Muslims, often young, have needed UK consular services after being detained on suspicion of terrorist or extremist activity in other parts of the world (eg Yemen, Egypt and the US)».
Dette at britiske konsulat må hjelpe britiske borgere som er blitt innblandet i terroraktiviteter i muslimske land, er nytt. En interessant konstellasjon. Vi må være klar over at i land som Egypt sier regimet at det er lett å kreve reformer, men vi aner ikke hva de er opp mot. Unntakstilstanden trengs for å holde islamistene nede. Derfor er det nok med en viss skadefryd de ser at bombene går av i vestlige byer.
En studie viser at det er rundt 16.000 muslimske ekstremister i Storbritannia. Det er ganske mange. Særlig hvis man ikke vet hvem de er.
The paper cited an intelligence estimate that the number of British Muslims engaged in terrorist activity, whether at home or abroad, or supporting it, was «less than 1%» of the UK’s Muslim population of 1.6m. But that suggests that up to 16,000 may be involved — a numbing figure.
It went on to explain why these thousands of potential terrorists re2_kommentar below the security radar: «Whilst many have grown up in Muslim households, a significant number come from liberal, non- religious Muslim backgrounds or only converted to Islam in adulthood. These converts include white British nationals and those of West Indian extraction.
«By and large most young extremists fall into one of two groups: well educated — undergraduates or with degrees and technical professional qualifications in engineering or IT — or under-achievers with few or no qualifications and often a criminal background.
«The former group is often targeted by extremist recruiters circulating among university-based religious or ethnic societies. Among the latter group some are drawn to mosques where they may be targeted by extremist preachers; others are radicalised or converted while in prison.
I tillegg kommer et fenom der folk verves på tomannshånd. Etter hvert som ekstremistene har mindre spillerom i moskeene har kastet sine øyne på andre møteplasser; puben, parkene, disko. De som rekrutteres mann-til-mann får beskjed om å avvente ordre, og er ikke del av noe miljø.
Irak-krigen har utløst en kamplyst som er totalt fremmed for våre samfunn. At britisk-fødte borgere kan dra til Irak og glede seg til å drepe britiske og amerikanske soldater er vanskelig å fatte. Artikkelen i Sunday Times forteller om to brødre som dro for å bli martyrer.
The exporting of home-grown jihadis — and their fanaticism — was confirmed in Iraq last month by a senior insurgent commander, «Abu Ahmad», who revealed that about 70 volunteers had arrived from Britain. Two had been killed fighting alongside him against American troops.
One of these, a 22-year-old known as Abu Hareth, had been born in Britain of Iraqi parents. He was killed in fighting in Falluja in April last year.
«When the battle intensified and due to his lack of military experience I asked him to take shelter in a basement. He refused my advice and told me off for asking him to hide and he said, ‘I will hold this against you when the day of reckoning comes for you tried to prevent me from attaining martyrdom’,» Abu Ahmad said.
Two brothers — Ammar, 22, and Yasser, 18 — arrived in Iraq from Britain after the fall of Baghdad in April 2003: «They could not wait to go out and fight and kept on asking when they will go into battle.»
After about a month, Ammar was killed fighting American troops: «His younger brother Yasser, who witnessed Ammar’s death, surprised us by shedding tears of joy and praising Allah for his brother’s martyrdom.»
The commander continued: «When we returned to our base we asked Yasser to return home, telling him it was enough that his family had lost one son; it would not be right if the second son was also killed and that there were others who would fight on his behalf here.
«But he refused and told us: ‘What would I tell my mother? She will not accept me in the house for when she bid us farewell she told us either to return victorious or to achieve martyrdom. I cannot return. I have to finish off what Ammar my brother started here, and anyway I do not want to leave my brother all alone in this land. I want to be buried with him’. And he began to cry.»
Abu Ahmad said that having been ordered home, Yasser wrote a letter revealing that when he had arrived in Britain his mother had celebrated on hearing about Ammar’s death — «ululating with happiness and calling her friends and relatives to tell them the good news. She distributed sweets and juices in celebration to all those that came to pay their respect».
Denne lysten etter å dø. Og moren som sitter hjemme og venter at begge sønnene skal bli drept! Det snakkes om venner og bekjente som var med å feire da han kom hjem. Man kan lure på hvor mange tips britiske MI5 får fra lokalmiljøet? Det burde være en indikasjon på om situasjonen er ute av kontroll.
Men artikkelen inneholder også en positiv historie, om en algerisk jihadi, som learned the hard way i Afghanistan. Hans lærdom dreier seg om essensen i jihadismen: de er flinke til å kjempe og dø, men ikke til å leve. Han sier også at London på mange måter er det beste sted på jorda for muslimer. Alle som vil ødelegge det er hans fiende.
Han har med andre ord fått noe å forsvare. Det er denne erkjennelsen flere muslimer i vestlige land må komme til. De må skjønne at Vestens friheter er det de nyter og lever et godt liv på.
One former Algerian jihadi may hold the answer to the terrorist threat. When he was 24, Abdullah Anas reached a turning point in his life. A member of the Muslim Brotherhood and an imam, he had been brought up on stories of the long war for Algeria’s independence from France. Now he decided it was his turn to take up the gun for a cause: in his case, jihad.
Anas travelled to Peshawar in Pakistan and then walked for 40 days to northern Afghanistan. He lost most of his toenails, but «I felt I was reborn when I first got there . . . Even though I was sick for 10 days, I was so happy to be walking along with my Kalashnikov and with my brothers».
He fought there for eight years, becoming close to Bin Laden. But he was eventually disillusioned. «I am proud God chose me to be part of that holy war. I went there prepared to become a martyr. But it was very sad for me to see that once they had liberated their own land, they were unable to build their country. It was a big lesson for me,» he said last week.
«I realised that Muslims can win the battle, but can’t stabilise afterwards and win the peace. I saw it with my own eyes. I saw the same in Algeria, where my father and grandfather fought for freedom from the French, but once we had it, it fell to pieces. The Muslim fighters know how to die, but not how to live.»
Anas was among the wave of Algerians receiving asylum in Britain. He learnt English and now works as a company secretary and teaches Arabic and Koranic studies. The board of trustees running Finsbury Park mosque since the overthrow of its radical regime regularly invites him to preach to congregations of 1,000.
His message is both outspokenly Muslim and adamantly against violence. London is a safe haven for Muslims, he says: «In some ways London is the closest thing we can get to the society described by the Koran. God said, I created you as many nations, tribes and languages. That is what we have here. None of us should seek to impose our views or values on the other.»
He says this way of relating to life in London, as set down by the Prophet, is not simply a choice: «It is an obligation. We are part of this society and I tell my congregations that this is why I want them to know what the Prophet himself did.
«Anyone targeting this society is my enemy. They are targeting me and my family as much as anyone else, no matter who they are.»
He added: «Like many Muslims I am angered by what the Americans are doing in Iraq or the Israelis do in Palestine. But injustices must be dealt with by scholars and politicians, not by hotheads.
«These recruiters and terrorists, they are simply trying to use the anger of the young for their own agenda. Of course there is anger, but these criminals are trying to pervert it. I am not a hypocrite or an agent either of the United States or Bin Laden. This is my religion, what I believe in.»