Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Ministry of Interior”s Advisors and the Wrong Advice | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The British government had trusted some British Muslim figures to provide them with sound advice regarding Muslim communities. The step would have been truly successful had it not confined itself to one direction. The advisors attributed the reasons behind the London bombings to two factors: British foreign policy and unemployment.

I agree that the British Islamic community feels resentful towards Britain”s participation in the Iraqi invasion. It is also fair to say that British Muslims, despite facing the same direction five times a day to pray, do not all share the same background.

There are British Muslims who criticize the British government as it had refrained from toppling Saddam Hussein”s regime in the nineties. Yet there are British Muslims who reject completely the recent government”s contribution to the Iraqi war.

Bias in selection reminds me of the 1990”s after the Iraqi leader”s invasion of Kuwait. Arab British figures, who were then allowed to appear in British media, were only those who celebrated the invasion of Kuwait. However, the situation was much the same in that Muslims always differ in their opinions, according to their origins and ideological stances, much like the rest of the British.

The other dilemma with British Muslim advisors is that they simply repeat the justifications of Arab thinkers before them who sought to rationalize the acts of Osama Bin Laden and his supporters with reasons such as the political status quo, poverty, unemployment and the widening gap of inequality in British society.

After the hideous escalation of extremist crimes and the declaration of their ideology, most Arab thinkers had dropped their Bin-Laden defenses. The importance of improving living standards and increasing job opportunities are legitimate and valid requests that are completely independent of terrorism and such requests are not the dilemma of Arabs or Muslims alone.

We should also not forget that those responsible for the London bombings are similar to their instructors, Bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri in the sense that they are of the elite in their home countries. Bin Laden was a millionaire who had been granted some opportunities that 200 million Arabs could only have dreamt of. Al-Zawahiri came from a wealthy family and attained a quality education to the level of PhD. Therefore, the link made between terrorism and poverty and political injustice is not only wrong but also hazardous as it seeks to justify the terrorist crimes. Terrorists themselves make many demands, most of which are political and do not request employment or scholarships. Most terrorist attacks are based upon an extremist religious ideology that murders barbers and artists whose line of thinking may not correspond with that of the terrorists.

The advisors of the British ministry of Interior have granted the extremists precisely what they do not deserve, that is an ethical justification for the disgraceful crimes of terror.

What really amazed me is that these advisors had disapproved of the government”s plan to purge libraries, websites and instigators of terrorism, as they considered such an act as a limitation upon freedoms.

Why is that freedom is granted to fascists who threaten those who oppose them with death? The prosecuting of extremists serves the Muslim community and their future before anyone else. It is a much needed endeavor to correct a defected status quo.