Saturday, August 26, 2006

Al Qaida is winning the war on terrorism.

Grim news indeed if true. I think it is because what they are trying to do is to separate Muslims from the rest of us. To create a climate of fear and a clash of civilisations. I have discussed this in two previous articles on the "war on terror" here and here.

However what concerns me is this article in Fridays Telegraph here, reporting a YouGov survey which according to the report puts 53% of British people thinking Muslims are some sort of threat. That's half of Al Qaida's job done, now all they need to work on is making Muslims think the "war on terror" is in fact a "war against Islam", some thing made much easier by stupid people using silly language like "islamo fascist".

That said David Cameron is using far more sensible language. Obviously he thinks it is more important to deal with terrorism than play to the popularist gallery just to get votes.

The week before a plane load of passengers refused to fly with two people who looked suspicious. That really does not help either.

Our government and indeed the US government seem not to understand the battle we are fighting. It is very much a battle for hearts and minds. We can win as many battles as we like, but it is the war over all that counts.

Mind you, it is not all bad, it looks like the counter terrorist operation has caught some people intent on terrorism, having made "martyrdom videos". Obviously we will have to see what happens in court. It would have been a disaster if there was no credible evidence.


DC said...

Benedict. Much of the Islamic World believes the war on terror is a war on Islam. I would expect that view to be lower among British Muslims but still significantly high.

I doubt little can be done to change that perception. Some people are just so blinkered in their outlook. When many in the middle east believe that 9/11 was done by Israel/CIA there really is not much hope.

What about our hearts and minds? We are expected to show understanding but not the other way round.

The War On Terror must be won but I agree we need to have moderate Muslim opinion on our side. I don't believe Al Qaida is winning but sadly I cannot see us not living without this threat for very many years,

Benedict White said...

On how the Islamic world views the war on terror, you may be right, but that is in part the way ot is being conducted by us, or rather primarily the US. Things like Guantanamo bay and Abu Grhaib being disasters of the highest order.

It also shows our lack of immagination in selling our war FOR Islam. As an example we stopped Shia being persecuted in Afghanistan, and Sunnis for the most part too. We stopped ethnic cleaning in Kosovo of Muslims (though not Serbs alas) and so on.

As for our heats and minds, I am not looking for people to "show understanding" I am looking for our politicians do use sensible language, prosecute people who are inciting violence etc. whilst adopting a fairer attitude to foreign policy. Loom at Iraq. It need not have been the disaster zone that it is had we resourced it correctly. The Israelis doubled their number of settlers on the West Bank after the Oslo agreements. What are we doing?

Mind you we have also chanelled our national concil of Britain without checking if it does represent British Muslims.

Ellee Seymour said...

These difficulties/misunderstandings may be caused because lots of communities don't have Muslims, hence the suspicion borne through lack of integration/knowledge/insight. It's pretty much like that around my neck of the woods.
Just adding you to my blogroll, btw.

DC said...

Elle. I think you may find even where there are muslim communities that there is not much understanding.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if the so called moderates could condemn terrorism from muslims without justifying it in the same breath, people would not consider the whole of Islam to be a threat. Is there that much difference between a group that wants to see you dead, and a sub set of that group that will kill you?
Consider that being a good muslim involves waging jihad in its basic sense of converting, subjugating or killing non muslims.
As for Abu Graib and Guantanamo, frankly, I'd still rather do a year there than be held prisoner at HM Prisons. At least the chances of being sexually assaulted are less.

When someone is choosing to determine how I should live or kill me, my first instinct is not to try and win their heart and minds.

Ellee, you seem to think that if we integrated more with them, the problem would be solved when it it should be their goal to integrate with the rest of society instead of creating small pockets of their own countries of origin within the UK. I should also point out the cases where white people have 'strayed' into muslim areas and been beated and even killed for their trouble.
When this happened to asians wandering into white areas years ago, it was decried as vile racism and should be stopped. Now it seems it should be classed as a misunderstanding between cultures.

Benedict White said...

Ellee, Many thanks I have added you to my blog roll.

I think part of the issue is what is reported and who you meet. Bad news sells better. Likewise if you meet a Muslim who is a pratt you are more likely to remember that than if you happen to deal with some one who is nice. You may not even notice is he is a Muslim.

Benedict White said...

Anonymous, I hear what you are saying, and more real moderates are getting air time which is good.

We do need to integrate, I just think you misunderstand what I mean. We need to get them to integrate with us, not the other way around.

We also need to understand that racists are not only white.

That said jihad means different things to differing strains of Islam. It literally means struggle.

Andrea said...

OT. Benedict, here's the strenght on parties at local level:

you requested it at and I can't post it there