Sunday, April 13, 2008

13-Apr-08: Terrorism doesn't recognize borders

A report today says British police and security agencies are keeping tabs on 30 terror plots, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith told a Sunday newspaper.

"There are 22,000 individuals who are being monitored. There are 200 networks involved and 30 active plots," Smith said in an interview with the News of the World.

"We now face a threat level that is severe. It's actually growing," said the interior minister. "We can't wait for an attack to succeed and then rush in new powers. We have got to stay ahead.

"Because we now understand the scale of what is being plotted, the police have to step in earlier, which means they need more time to put evidence together."

In 2005, four British suicide bombers killed 52 people on underground trains and a bus in London. Other attacks have been foiled by police. Eight men are currently on trial in London accused of trying to blow up transatlantic jets using liquid explosives in 2006.

"Since the beginning of 2007, there have been 57 people have been convicted on terrorist plots," said Smith. "Nearly half of those pleaded guilty so this is not some figment of the imagination. It is a real risk and a real issue we need to respond to."

The minister also confirmed she would announce a scheme next week to bring over moderate Islamic clerics from Pakistan to assist British imams in combating extremism in their communities.

"The vast majority of British Muslims have a Pakistani heritage. If we work with the government there we can win the arguments," said Smith, who visited Pakistan this month.

1 comment:

Rob F said...

But how do you define a 'moderate' Imam?

Let me be clear here - I know that there are peace-loving muslims out there who aren't a threat to my way of life (as a UK citizen). I meet them in everyday life, I even read some of their blogs and I know that they're as sickened by the Islamists as I am.

How they reconcile their peaceful beliefs with the teachings of Mohammed I still haven't managed to work out, but I at least know that they're out there.

I'm less than confident though, at this attempt to recruit 'moderate' Imams from Pakistan. So what puts them in the 'moderate' camp, exactly? A belief that Jews maybe shouldn't be slaughtered in the name of Allah, but that the existence of a Jewish state still cannot be tolerated in the middle east?

That female genital mutilation is a barbaric anachronism and shouldn't be placed alongside genuine Islamic teachings, such as requiring women to keep themselves covered? Although those passages about a woman's testimony only being worth half that of a man's might be harder to refute...

I don't hate muslims. I recognise that there are a lot of people who are fine human beings and who just happened to be born into Islamic societies. There are also people who inherit Islam as part of their culture and come to their own conclusions about right and wrong, as the British Muslim soldier who recently fought and died in Afghanistan must have done.

I also know that Islam, particularly as taught in the middle east, is so bound up with ideas of Jew hatred, victimisation, and Arab supremacy, that there's going to have to be a seriously good vetting process to separate the genuine moderates from the more softly-spoken Islamofascists.