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Britain: On the Brink of A Terrorist War - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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I believe that the recent court rulings against the British Muslims [linked to Al Qaeda] were the first strike in a tough war. Britain teems with nests of serpents and scorpions of extremism who come from around the world: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Syria, Pakistan and other countries due to its flexible systems and the adoption of a policy to receive outcasts during the aftermath of World War II and the Soviet-Western conflict during which doors were opened to persecuted refugees who sought their rights. The paradox is that it is in Britain, the object of hate for many fundamentalists, where these very people practice their full rights and enjoy what they were deprived of in their native countries.

Until four years ago, Britain’s intellects had said that they were willing to tolerate what these people had to say out of protecting individual rights and the right to free speech and political opposition. We used to say to them that we all supported that right but that these people had no relation to freedom and unfortunately never respected the rights of others. They despised the regime that protected them and privately and publicly conspired against society. Unfortunately, these intellects turned a blind eye, believing that we pursued opponents, instead of examining the extremism phenomenon in the Arab and Muslim world to identify the nature of the problem. Several reports and articles appeared in the British media glorifying and supporting these groups both in their homelands and in Britain without realizing their extremist Fascist nature that compared to and even surpassed the capability of Nazism to destroy the social fabric.

Britain is faced with a very difficult problem, confronting a foreign enemy amid social sensitivity and slow-moving legal systems that limit its activity. A key to success is to know opponents and be capable of integrating with their community, which is possible in the Arab states because extremists share a similar background and these states have large law enforcement agencies that can detain and interrogate suspects and can even expel unwanted foreigners if it is believed that they are causing trouble. However, this is not possible to apply in Britain and therefore it will not be easy for British security to combat both the dangers of secret organizations and education provided in residential communities where extremists hide.

Unfortunately, we can only expect more terrorist operations in Britain because all indicators show that extremists have spent a number of years destroying the minds of young British Muslims under various religious and social claims, and it will not be easy to stop the waves of training or, firstly, ban extremist education.

What can the British authorities do?

I think they must do what other Muslim and non-Muslim countries have done before them—accept fighting extremists by cutting off the oxygen that sustains extremist groups: their newspapers, radio stations, televisions, forums, mosques and websites. Through publicity, they can raise funds, recruit volunteers and secure popular support within foreign communities. The question is: how can the codified British system allow that? The answer lies with the hesitant legislators who are practically on the brink of a terrorist war today. After all, pursuing extremist Muslims today is better than pursuing all Muslims tomorrow.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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