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calendar   Thursday - December 03, 2009

Home-grown terrorism: our values are not optional for minority groups.

I’ve had this for a number of days and finally getting it posted.  I know it’s a bit long but it really is worth your time reading it.


It would be better if we enforced Britain’s cultural values on immigrant communities, rather than allowing them to dictate government policy

By Janet Daley
Editorial
The Telegraph

How do you create a home-grown terrorist? For a while, Britain seemed to hold the copyright on the formula for this. First, you import a huge number of people from places where there are unresolved historical conflicts, with no stipulation that they learn anything about their adopted homeland (not even its language). Then you make no attempt to integrate these groups – which are large enough to constitute self-sustaining communities – into the culture and political traditions of the country that is now their home, nor do you advise the schools to inculcate any sense of pride or pleasure in the new national identity to which they are entitled. Indeed, you do precisely the opposite of this: you positively encourage not only the incomers themselves but their British-born children to maintain a separate, inward-looking ethnic community that stands apart from the mainstream life of the society and whose values may conflict with it.

So eager are you to show that you accept other cultures whose attitudes and assumptions (on, for example, the treatment of women) are opposed to the official values of your society, that you benevolently overlook what is being taught in their schools even when those schools are being supported by government funding. When your Government is caught in the act of having provided such funding, as happened last week with schools in Slough and Haringey, both of which had a history of links with the Muslim extremist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir, the ensuing row is on purely technical points: which school officials held, or were connected to people who held, actual positions in the organisation on what dates? The question of whether schools with an explicitly separatist ethos should qualify as providing acceptable basic education is not even addressed.

So there it is: an instant recipe for estrangement and alienation that can turn (or be turned), in susceptible personalities under the right circumstances, into terrorist fodder. Until recently, as I say, we led the world in this particular specialism: the United States in particular was inclined to believe that the phenomenon of the native (as opposed to foreign) terrorist was a peculiarly British problem, which is why it introduced additional security measures to apply to visa‑waiver UK passport holders.

But the US, having been confident that it was a country that knew what was required for the successful absorption of immigrant groups, has now produced a home-grown terrorist of its own, and the controversy that this event has inspired is not irrelevant to our debate (to the extent that we are permitted to have one) in Britain.

When the Muslim American Major Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire at Fort Hood, he did not just murder his military colleagues: he killed the American illusion that “it couldn’t happen here”. And he unleashed an argument not just on practical topics such as racial profiling but on the much wider question of how much America’s foreign policy decisions – how it should conduct itself in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example – should be influenced by the feelings of minority groups within the US itself.

This dispute revolves around the personality of Major Hasan: was he just an unbalanced individual for whom Islamic fundamentalism was nothing more than a delusional pretext for a psychotic break? This account has gained favour in Left‑wing American circles for fairly obvious reasons: it allows Islamic fundamentalism to become simply an unwitting accomplice to the act, rather than its actual cause, and the act itself to be seen as a random, unreasoning crime rather than a terrorist attack. No big national problem here: just a nutter whose instability should have been spotted sooner but whose religious-cum-political “motives” can be ignored.

According to commentators on the Right, such as Charles Krauthammer, this thesis is a pernicious attempt to “medicalise” Major Hasan’s crime in the interests of avoiding any implication that there was a meaningful connection between his Islamic religious beliefs and his act. By defining the act as literally meaningless (insane), defenders of the liberal orthodoxy are not taxed by the problem of how to deal with a possibly murderous minority within their own country.

The Left-liberal camp is now in the rather uncomfortable position of holding two contradictory interpretations of Major Hasan’s actions. There is the one that Mr Krauthammer describes: this incident is a one-off act of lunacy, so the fact that Hasan was a Muslim is of no importance (even if he thinks it was – after all, he is insane).

But the other argument made by the Left puts Hasan’s religion at the centre of his action: Muslims, even ones born and bred in the US, are being driven to violence by American foreign policy. It is the perceived American assault on Islamic peoples and countries that is responsible for pushing borderline personalities – who have been made susceptible by their cultural introversion – into extreme associations. So the conclusion is roughly this: the only possible way to avoid radicalising any more vulnerable, borderline psychotics who happen to be Muslims is to change our foreign policy so as not to inflame their hyperactive sensitivities.

Quite apart from the question of whether any ethnic group should be allowed to dictate government policy under the threat of violence, isn’t there a bizarre precedent here? Suppose an element within the animal rights lobby were to engage in a programme of major urban terrorism and threaten to persist until the consumption of meat was banned. Would we seriously entertain the idea that to continue to sell meat was an inexcusable provocation to a dangerous, unstable minority? And can there be any certainty about the causes of such provocation among Muslims? The grievances of Palestinians are the most frequently cited source of global Islamic anger, but most of the Pakistani recruits to Islamic fundamentalism in Britain have closer links with the Kashmiri cause than to any problems in Gaza. Add to this that a good few of those convicted of terrorist acts have been converts (such as Richard Reid, the shoe bomber) who had no inherited ties to any Muslim country.

What a miasma of moral confusion we are succumbing to – all for the sake of avoiding a question that must be asked: how does a liberal society cope with a minority in whose name acts of violence are carried out in its midst? Surely the answer must involve a much more muscular liberalism: a robust belief in the values that permit people of different beliefs to live together peaceably and an unapologetic determination to enforce those values in every quarter of the


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 12/03/2009 at 09:36 AM   
Filed Under: • Democrats-Liberals-Moonbat LeftistsEditorialsHomeland-SecurityRoPMAUKUSA •  
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