The London Blasts: Media
FOUR: 11 July 2005 Part Two
to Part 1
The Link With Iraq - Right
The link between the bombings
and the invasion of Iraq is made by right-wingers as well
as by people who regard themselves as liberals or leftists.
Former Conservative MP
Parris, now a columnist for The
Times, points out that in his social circles, 'Alongside
rampantly right-wing views on race, culture and immigration,
you encounter - and among deeply conservative folk - a
knee-jerk sympathy for the views of George Galloway.
You will be very far from being thrown out of a Derbyshire
pub for suggesting that "Tony Blair asked for this."
That is is not left-wing
anti-imperialism, Parris tells us:'That
is right-wing isolationism [which] takes the view that the
world is full of murderous fanatics with darker skins that
ours, and we should leave them where they are.'
Racist though this is,
it is an interesting indication of the hidden potential
that the anti-war movement can reach out to, even in unexpected
quarters. Parris ends his article thus: 'One
elderly man, in other ways about as ideologically distant
from Mr Galloway as it is possible to get, put it like this:
“We should never have got mixed up in this business.
That George Galloway was right. Who is he, anyway? Do you
know anything about him?” '
The Link With Iraq - Police
And Security Service Analysis
Burns reports in the Financial
Times that 'The European
police and security officials who met in London believe
that a new generation of terrorists is being generated among
young Muslims angered
by the war in Iraq, dozens
of whom may be embarking on operations against targets in
Europe for the first time' (page 3).
Islam - Stevens Angers
Police and Muslims
Former Chief of the Metropolitan
Police Sir John Stevens has, not for the first time, caused
controversy with his column in the News of the World. He
has no hesitation in using the highly-damaging term 'Islamic
'The terrorists at the
centre of the London bombing this week will almost certainly
be British born and bred, brought up here and totally aware
of British life and values. I'm afraid there's a sufficient
number of people in this country willing to be Islamic
terrorists that they don't have to be drafted in
'I warned in these pages some months
ago that there were up to 200 home-grown terrorists willing
and able to slaughter innocents for their perverted view
of Islam...and I got some stick for being so outspoken.
But today, after 7/7, I've absolutely no reason to change
'I said in public what had previously
only been discussed behind closed doors in Whitehall because
I believe the public are entitled to the truth, that knowing
it will help energise communities to fight back against
'In my view, the London bombers will
not fit the caricature al-Qaeda fanatic from some backward
village in Algeria or Afghanistan. They will be apparently-ordinary
British citizens, young
men conservatively and cleanly dressed and probably with
some higher education. Highly computer
literate, they will have used the internet to research
explosives, chemicals and electronics.'
'They are also willing to kill without
mercy—and to take a long time in their planning. They
are painstaking, cautious, clever and very sophisticated.'
Before this article, the general public
had already been conditioned by the tabloid press to fear
and hate traditionally-dressed, bearded Muslim men (exemplified
Hamza). Now clean shaven Asian and Arab men in Western
dress are also under deadly suspicion as merciless and sophisticated
Young professionals of African descent
are often regarded with suspicion by white people as likely
to be wealthy drug dealers. Now young professionals of Asian
or Arab descent will be under a far graver suspicion.
How can this help 'energise communities
to fight back against this horror', as the former Commissioner
suggests? By vigilante action.
reports, 'Some government officials
expressed concern about the possible impact on community
relations' of the article, and adds that the Stevens
article 'is condemned by other
police officers as politically dangerous when uttered publicly
and in these terms.'
Times notes that the article 'angered
race relations groups. Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the
Islamic Human Rights Commission in London, said the claims
were unfounded and threw suspicion on all Muslims in Britain.
He said: “He
has, without doubt stirred up racial tensions at a time
when we need unity.” '
two days after running a scurrilous anti-Muslim opinion
piece by former editor Charles
Moore, congratulates itself for the tolerance of the
British towards Muslims: 'Part
of this restraint can be seen in the refusal of Londoners
to connect the bombers with their own Muslim neighbours.
In the immediate aftermath of the murders, foreign Muslims,
in particular, voiced fears of a bloody reaction. How little
they understand the British...'
that their Muslim countrymen are as much targets of the
fanatics as anyone else. Backlashes happen in panicky and
volatile nations. We are not such a nation.'
In contrast, Matthew
Parris reports from deepest Derbyshire a sentiment 'you
often hear expressed in the countryside. It was Asians who
did this. Not everyone I speak to bothers to mark the distinction
between a handful of crazed fanatics and a huge, peace-loving,
British Muslim population. Many country dwellers do not
care for the burgeoning non-white urban communities not
far away — Derby, Barnsley, Bradford — and feel
vaguely threatened by the growth of an alien culture just
over the other side of Sheffield Moor.'
'On a cloudy night we can see the reflected
glow of the street lights there, and people have the sense
that “our” grip on the governance of such places
has been lost, and “our” writ no longer runs
there. Paradoxically, that it is fairly unusual to see Asian
faces among the hordes of day and weekend trippers who visit
the Peak District does not seem to lessen rural fears.'
'If any of the culprits in Thursday’s
atrocities turn out to have been British Muslims, or to
have been sheltered by British Muslims, one
should not underestimate the likely reverberations among
the rural English. “They’d
better not turn out to be local,” one friend
said to me.'
One hopes that the Telegraph is justified
in its complacency. But the results of its own poll give
great cause for concern. That poll
of 1,800 British people the day after the London bombings
found that nearly half the population of Britain believes
that Islam itself -
not al Qaeda, not the fundamentalist extremists, but Islam
itself - poses a threat to Western liberal democracy.
The proportion believing that Islam
itself poses a major threat
to British democracy doubled to 20
per cent of the British population.
In other words, one
in five people in Britain believe that Islam itself is a
major threat to British civilization.
We cannot afford either scaremongering
or self-satisfaction. There is the threat of a very serious
backlash against British Muslims, a threat that must be
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This page last updated 11 July 2005