'Britain is once again searching for new answers to terrorism and radicalisation. We may not have had a major terrorist attack since the London bombings of July 2005 but the ideological battle against al-Qaeda is being lost at home.'
I read this piece, and was shocked by its confusion, acceptance of the bizarre as normal, and its internal contradictions. I'm not sure why, because it was written by a Panorama journalist, and those guys aren't exactly renowned intellectuals. I am tempted to fisk this thing completely, but its probably not worthy. Lets see how far we get before we run out of interest...
If you are going to make a statement like the one I quoted above, a scholar would want to know the answer to the question 'How can you quantify, demonstrate, substantiate that the ideological battle against al-Qaeda is being lost 'at home'?' Providing as evidence two people, one a mentally defective young lad, is hardly persuasive. It may well be that the Northern Towns with massive pakistani populations are now brimming with al-Qaeda wannabees, but we are not given evidence of that. So the interest of this piece immediately diminishes.
Ayesha the medical school graduate, is immediately recognisable as a type for anybody who reads British newspapers. She is a highly self-conscious (almost to the point of narcissism) revert, discarding the flippancy's and unseriousness of her parents, immersed in the fantasy of her pure, strict islamic faith. I say fantasy, because most muslims in the world are vastly less serious about their islam than she is. Thats the 'reality' of islam, really. The white convert, desperate to show he is one of the boys, and the female second-generationer also desperate to demonstrate her fanatical loyalty to the old dogmas of the islamic identity, are now stock characters in the situation we find ourselves in in 2009. Nothing new is being shown us, nothing that would validate the claim that we have moved from winning the war on islamism to losing it.
How many twelve year old pakistani, somali and bangladeshi boys in shitty suburbs of British formerly-industrial towns want to join al-Qaeda when they grow up? If you knew the answer to that question, you would actually be able to go some way towards a genuine answer for the main question. But Richard Watson doesn't know the answer. There is probably nobody in Britain who does.
There are some things we can say with certainty though. The laughable 'stratagems' thought up by our lords and masters to 'combat' 'extremism' amongst moslems in Britain have been shambolic disasters. They all derive from overtly stupid, misguided premises. First premise- lack of knowledge drives 'extremism'. Second premise- imams who speak urdu as a first language are the problem. Third premise- if we are nice enough for long enough, hardened islamists will take us off their hit list. Fourth premise- dialog between people who think along different lines eventually leads to hand-holding, guitar-strumming lurve.
All of the British government initiatives stem from one or other of these moronic ideas. So there was a huge, expensive program to 'educate' muslims about what proper islam was, called the road show. Properly trained imams were sent around to spread the good word. But once infected by puritanical, murderously well-defined wahhabism, young people are impervious to the mainstream nerdlings of some government imams. Then there was the program to teach imams English. If you are a wahhabist imam, being able to speak English just gives you more tools. You become a more effective wahhabist! Great stuff. Being nice to the muslims has a very long history. The British did it in India to try to keep them on board. Result? The wahhabists were very actively involved in the mutiny of 1857. After the mutiny, when being nice was replaced with extremely successful demolition of the wahhabist community, guess what? Yup, muslims in general became far more tractable and dependable citizens. But probably the most idiotic of our efforts to combat islamism has been the police and home office dialog with islamists.
Where is there evidence, in the whole of human history, of dialog turning a committed ideologue away from their ideology? Especially if the dialog is with a branch of the nation state, the one tasked with catching criminals? Is there anybody in Britain who actually thought that was going to work?
There are a few high profile ex-islamists touted by the government who go around telling everybody who will listen just how misguided they used to be. Who are they kidding? I'm not sure what was used to transform these wannabee jihadis into Oxford-button-down wearing pillars of the establishment but I'm pretty sure it wasn't dialogue. I'm thinking large stacks of coin of the realm.
As far as I can tell, and this is totally non-scientific and simply a broad reading of the press, the British government has had no effect on the islamists in Britain apart from a few symbolic victories. They are still there, a tiny number have been deported, a tiny number have been arrested, and all the others carry on their 'community organising' as before. Wahhabism is growing into the dominant form of islam in Britain, with all the implications that has.
I'll finish with some light comedy:
'The argument comes down to the use of public money. It certainly makes sense to sit down and talk with radicals, so long as they do not promote violence and are willing to act within the law.
For pragmatic reasons the police and counter-terrorism officers need lines of communication into radical communities.
Britain also has a long tradition of tolerating political dissent. But moderate Muslims argue using taxpayers' funds to support or endorse isolationist views makes little sense and the government is right to move against this now.'
Squeezed into three tiny paragraphs, so many ludicrous ideas. Really, we shouldn't spend taxpayers money supporting extremists? You think?
Britain has a long tradition of tolerating political dissent? Tell Geert Wilders.