Det er nødvendig å henge bjella på katten og si at terrortrusselen i stor grad skyldes islam, skriver Observers Jason Burke fra Pakistan.
The two young men, both clean-cut in neat trousers and well-ironed shirts, both studying computer science at a university in Pakistan, their homeland, have, perhaps unsurprisingly, the same views about their religion and its relation to the events of 7 July. ‘Islam is a religion of peace and no one who does this is a true Muslim,’ they say.
Then they start talking about civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq: ‘Every action has a reaction. An action against Muslims causes a reaction by Muslims such as this. This is not unjustified.’ There is a pause as we all consider the patent contradiction in their responses. ‘Anyway,’ they say almost together, ‘it was probably the Americans or the Israelis.’
Such ludicrous conspiracy theories surfaced after 11 September and, on the evidence of the letters pages of many newspapers in the Middle East and south-west Asia, have once again. Quite apart from the xenophobia and racism, such ideas are rooted in a simple evasion. The unpleasant truth is that there are considerable elements within Islam that are very useful to violent militants. As a result, Islam is an integral part of the threat we now face. This is difficult for a non-Muslim to state, and leaves me open to accusations of Islamophobia, but is true. And it needs to be admitted and discussed, not swept under a carpet by a politically correct broom.
The violence that lies in every ideology Like most beliefs, Islam is a religion of peace that has to accept that it can also breed terror