Det skjer noe blant britiske muslimer for tiden. Det er en ny bølge av radikalisering, skriver Ed Husain. Ingen reagerer; hverken muslimske ledere eller myndighetene. Regjeringen arbeider med en ny melding om hvordan bekjempe radikale. Men det er et stort spørsmål om regjeringen våger å legge seg ut med kreftene som står bak dagens kurs, og den leder mot krise, skriver Husain.
Han sier man kan ikke bekjempe ekstremisme ved å omfavne ekstremister. Det skjer i dag.
Man kan heller ikke ofre flertallets sikkerhet på alteret til en minoritet, da inviterer man til en backlash.
Ekstremistene som demonstrerte i Luton sist uke, er på offensiven, og hvis ikke myndighetene viser større fasthet kommer det til å skje langt verre ting enn demonstrasjoner, skriver han.
There is something happening inside Britain’s Muslim communities. The disgraceful, treacherous protest in Luton last week at the homecoming of the brave Royal Anglian regiment is an indication of resurgent extremism. Does our Government have the political stamina to fight it?
It’s comfortable for us to think that these are the actions of a small minority – but are they? The vile mob that hurled abuse against returning troops does not operate in a vacuum, somehow removed from other Muslims. Only two weeks ago, the same group of extremists openly marched in Tower Hamlets, Britain’s most densely populated «Muslim area». Where was the local outrage against these bigots? The nearby east London Mosque – Europe’s largest Muslim institution – sends groups of young vigilantes to hound local prostitutes and drug dealers, but it turns a blind eye to extremism.
This nationwide network of fanatics, who give themselves various names at different times to deceive the authorities – from al-Muhajiroun to the Saved Sect – is an offshoot of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a group that shares al-Qaeda’s aim of a global caliphate, but uses different methods.
At Quilliam, a counter-extremism think tank, a research team monitors these groups. In recent months, we have seen an increase in their activities and detected a more confrontational mood. It came as no surprise when the CIA warned President Obama last month that the greatest immediate threat to US homeland security was from militant Islamists in Britain with ties to Pakistan. British troops in Afghanistan have reported Britain-based technical support for Taliban operations.
For me, these are symptoms of failed Muslim leadership, a timid civil society and a British Government that, three years after the July 7 bombings, is still unsure how best to proceed.
Last week, across key departments in Whitehall, there was much fervour surrounding a forthcoming White Paper which will outline a new anti-extremism strategy, known as Contest 2.
The existing strategy, «Preventing Violent Extremism», has made it easy for non-violent extremists. It has meant that supporting Islamism, condemning parliamentary democracy, advocating the destruction of Israel and calling for jihad against British troops in Afghanistan or elsewhere has been tolerated because it is not directly violent. Contest 2 must explicitly break with this approach.
Will it deliver? Tony Blair understood the Islamist ideology behind terrorism. Gordon Brown has not given any indication that he does. My interaction with Whitehall mandarins leaves me even more worried.
The good news is that the reframing of the nation’s security strategy is being co-ordinated by Charles Farr, widely tipped to be the next head of MI6, along with the best brains at the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT), which is part of the Home Office. The bad news is that the OSCT, in drawing up the White Paper, has to contend with the involvement of other departments – especially the Department of Communities and Local Government, which has a paternalistic, old-school, multiculturalist outlook and which will have the crucial job of selling the new strategy to local authorities and Muslim communities.
Hazel Blears, the gutsy Communities Secretary, supports a tough approach. But she is being undermined repeatedly by the Muslim advisers who surround her and who have a major stake in ensuring the new strategy goes in a different direction. Let us be clear: Contest 2 is about ensuring Britain’s security, uprooting terrorism and creating a proud, pluralist nation at home with liberal, secular democracy. It is about shifting the current lethargic thinking that surrounds Islamist extremism. It is not about appeasing activist Muslim men who lobby for Hamas. The Contest 2 White Paper must be more courageous than what we have seen from this Government to date. It should disregard the findings of focus groups, the self-serving advice of «community experts», and name the monster that we face: Islamist extremism.
With a general election pending soon, does Labour have the stomach for yet another ideological fight? Many Muslim leaders are in denial about extremism, and some sections of Government fear upsetting them. But we cannot sacrifice the security of the majority at the altar of minority rights. If the Muslim Council of Britain condemns Contest 2, then I will regard it as a success. Sadly, given the battles in Whitehall, and the attitude of many of the Government’s Muslim advisers, I doubt this will be the case.
The campaign for hearts and minds needs serious energy, vigour, and vision. We cannot defeat terrorism by hugging extremists. As Charles Colson, chief counsel to President Nixon, once said, «if you grab them by the balls, the hearts and minds will follow». Unless the Government sends a strong message through a strategic shift in its thinking, we will be discussing Luton-style protesters and much worse in years to come.
Ed Husain is co-director of Quilliam, and author of ‘The Islamist’
We must stop appeasing Islamist extremism
We can expect Luton-style protests and worse in the years to come unless the Government gets a grip on Islamism, says Ed Husain.