Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Blair: Preferring Propaganda - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

I agree with much of what Britain”s Prime Minister, Tony Blair recently told Asharq Al Awsat regarding the obligation of the British citizen not to give the terrorists a chance to cause civil strife. There have not been any significant clashes between Muslims and non-Muslims since the events of the 7th July. However, I should point out that there exists a concern over the dominance of propaganda, which insinuates that this is an imported problem, which could have been prevented by a customs official.

It would be a disaster if all Blair wanted was to justify his new illiberal and un-British approach, since they clearly deviate from the historical particularity of British society; the deportation of inciters of hatred, is causing friction between the Cabinet and the Judiciary. This disaster would be greater if Blair was really convinced that preventing menaces from returning after they leave the country or deporting them to their home countries would be enough to prevent a repeat of 7/7.

In his attempt to justify illiberal measures, Blair is deceiving the public into believing that there is some sort of choice of measures, when there is clearly one option on the table. Blair is now telling the governments of the region what they have been waiting to hear from London for decades. For many years, several governments have expressed their discontent with the British government”s asylum system. London, due to a lack of faith in the legal systems of certain nations, has historically granted asylum to citizens who have been indicted in their own countries.

One can only ask this question; was Blair”s government, or the governments that preceded it, unaware of the potential threats of these individuals, or did they choose to remain silent and accept such people into Britain for a purpose? Were individuals granted asylum as a bribe; in the hope that this would prevent any attacks on British soil? If this is so, then perhaps the British parliament should investigate the damage caused to its interests with its allies.

On the other hand, has the government suddenly realized the dangers of preachers of terrorism, which in turn casts doubts on the effectiveness of state security and intelligence? Does this not this require the dismissal of the officials responsible for granting asylum to these terrorists?

In his editorial for Asharq al Awsat, Blair indicates a lack of understanding of the defect that exists within our British society.

Extremism in Britain today is not restricted to Islamists. The Animal Rights supporters and the Anti-Fox hunting movement have both resorted to extreme measures, such as grave desecration, arson, and the destruction of medical laboratories. There is nothing to indicate that the Labor government is aware of the problem or questions why does this generation resort to violence over peaceful demonstration?

The majority of the British Muslims were born to parents who emigrated from the Indian subcontinent; therefore, they have a shared history with the rest of the British population, unlike Bakri, Abu Qatada, and Abu Hamza who could not free themselves from the hatred of the Western liberal values.

Indian Muslims were citizens of the British Crown and fought in its army. In the rebellion of 1857, Sayyid Khan encouraged them to support the British administration despite the objections of the Salafis. He finally succeeded in convincing the majority to support London. The end of the 19th century saw many Indian Muslims, (many went to Pakistan in 1947 and Bangladesh after 1972), willingly embrace Western liberal Values. The biggest success of Sir Sayyid Khan, who was knighted in 1888 by Queen Victoria for his role in promoting religious understanding and social peace, was to convince Muslims that they should separate religion from politics. Today, the Chairman of the Islamic British Council Sir Iqbal Sakranie rejects the separation of the two, as evident from his latest interview with the BBC.

The Muslim youth in Britain are angry about the racial harassment that their parents endured during the 70s and 80s in working class areas. They have been oblivious to the fact that their history is an inseparable part of that of the British Empire and not of the Middle East to which the Jihadists are ideologically related. This connection politicizes Islam through financial support from Salafi organizations or through the agitating speeches of the Imams of mosques who present false propaganda concerning Iraq and Palestine. Therefore, it was logical to see British suicide bombers in Palestine and British Muslim fundamentalists tried before Egyptian courts.

In the context of political correctness, the leftist labor cabinet introduced measures to the national curriculum, which resulted in the deepening of racial differences among young people. This alienated the youth instead of teaching Muslim Britons the common history between them and the other ethnic groups. This does not undermine the importance of downsizing the power and influence of the inciting preachers over Muslim British youth. Most of those preachers with Middle Eastern backgrounds intentionally distort certain provocative issues like Palestine and Iraq and the presence of infidels on Muslim soil. Therefore, it is not understood why the British Prime Minister avoided mentioning the expulsion of extremist preachers in his Asharq Al Awsat editorial. Moreover, why did he avoid to refute the Jihadists” claims concerning Iraq and Palestine, especially since both issues make up the majority of headlines for the readers of Asharq Al Awsat.

The efforts of Blair”s government for a just settlement of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict are well documented. However, the terrorism of Jihadist Salafis started long ago, before the 1948 war in Palestine with events such as the assassination of Judge Khazendar and the placing of bombs in public places in Egypt during the 1930s and 1940s. Negligence of these facts is a free ride from Blair to the supporters of terrorism and the anti-democratic elements. This would be explained by some as belittling the mentality of Arab readers, by refraining from the discussing the point that terrorists use to damage Britain”s role as a friend of Arabs. It well may be that Blair”s advisors believe that the readers of Asharq Al Awsat are unable to understand rational logic?

If the world accepts Bin Laden”s ambiguous demands, and solves the Palestinian problem, as well withdrawing the troops from Iraq, it is highly doubtful that Bin Laden and Zawahiri would stop such acts of terrorism; as violence is the way that they have chosen to terrorize Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The readers of our newspaper are able to accept the logical debate, and if Blair had expressed that by democratizing and stabilizing Iraq, this would have had a positive effect on the democratic future of the entire region. Furthermore, that abandoning Iraq for the zealot nationalists of the former Ba”thists and Saddam loyalists, and the terrorists from the followers of Al Zarqawi, would not guarantee London”s safety. America and Britain have both tried once to abandon the Iraqi people when they overlooked Saddam”s crimes and the price proved too high. I do not think the world wants to pay this price again.

Adel Darwish

Adel Darwish

Adel Darwish s a veteran Fleet Street foreign reporter and commentator on foreign affairs.

More Posts