Saturday, August 13, 2005

Racism is the terrorists' greatest recruitment tool

Naomi Klein wrote in Guardian Unlimited The problem in Britain is not too much multiculturalism but too little

That is completely foolish. For one thing I doubt Britain could be more multicultureal, but it is certainly true that the Muslims did not meld in with British society, and Britain's multiculturalism prevented them from interferring in the "Muslim society" even when firebrand clerics were inciting killing of others, including British citizens.
Hussein Osman, one of the men alleged to have participated in London's failed bombings on July 21, recently told Italian investigators that they prepared for the attacks by watching "films on the war in Iraq", La Repubblica reported. "Especially those where women and children were being killed and exterminated by British and American soldiers ... of widows, mothers and daughters that cry."
I dont know how much I would trust the word of someone who participated in the attacks in London, whether the successful 7/7 attacks or the failed 7/21 attacks, but if someone was showing them films to prepare them for suicide attacks it certainly shows that Britain was foolish by allowing those firebrand clerics to brainwash British citizens to commit violence.
It has become an article of faith that Britain was vulnerable to terror because of its politically correct anti-racism. Yet the comments attributed to Osman suggest another possible motive for acts of terror against the UK: rage at perceived extreme racism. And what else can we call the belief - so prevalent that we barely notice it - that American and European lives are worth more than the lives of Arabs and Muslims, so much more that their deaths in Iraq are not even counted?
Most of the Muslim deaths in Iraq are being caused by other Muslims.
It's not the first time that this kind of raw inequality has bred extremism. Sayyid Qutb, the Egyptian writer generally viewed as the intellectual architect of radical political Islam, had his ideological epiphany while studying in the United States. The puritanical scholar was shocked by Colorado's licentious women, it's true, but more significant was Qutb's encounter with what he later described as America's "evil and fanatic racial discrimination". By coincidence, Qutb arrived in the United States in 1948, the year of the creation of the state of Israel. He witnessed an America blind to the thousands of Palestinians being made permanent refugees by the Zionist project. For Qutb, it wasn't politics, it was an assault on his core identity: clearly Americans believed that Arab lives were worth far less than those of European Jews.
Actually it was that the Jews deserved a homeland. And there was plenty of nearby Arab land that the Arabs that did not want to live in a Jewish state could move to. Many choose to remain in Israel, and become citizens of the Jewish state, where they were welcome, unlike Jews living in lands left as Arab states, which were forced to leave.
According to Yvonne Haddad, a professor of history at Georgetown University, this experience "left Qutb with a bitterness he was never able to shake". When Qutb returned to Egypt he joined the Muslim Brotherhood, leading to his next life-changing event: he was arrested, severely tortured and convicted of anti-government conspiracy in a show trial.
Such torture, if it occured, was done by fellow Muslims
Qutb's political theory was profoundly shaped by torture. Not only did he conclude that his torturers were subhuman infidels, he stretched that categorisation to include the entire state that ordered this brutality, including the Muslim civilians who passively lent their support to Nasser's regime.

David T blogged Klein's central argument is that the lesson of Sayeed Qutb's life is that it is "tolerance for barbarism [against Muslims] committed in our name" which "fuels terrorism". Well that may well be true. However, we also know that intolerance of barbaric acts perpetrated against Muslims does little to douse the fire. The British role in protecting Kosovan Muslims from massacre, or indeed the restoration of Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, the president of Sierra Leone - who happened to be a Muslim - by British backed mercenaries, do not figure large in the publications of the MAB/Muslim Brotherhood. Neither is the return of 3.5 million exiled Afghans to Afghanistan following the overthrow of the Taliban regime highlighted in the recruiting material put out by Hizb'ut Tahrir. Islamists see the world exclusively in terms of Belief versus Unbelief. When that is your central defining narrative, everything else falls into place. From the Islamist perspective the French Hijab ban, the massacre of muslims in Bosnia, the plight of the Palestinians, and the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan do not raise separate issues of principle. Rather, they are joined by a single connecting thread.

Norm Geras blogged The 'two main causes' of terrorism, according to her? Racism and torture. Our fault. How are they 'main'? Don't ask. You won't find out. Think, however, Nelson Mandela, and apartheid South Africa.

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