Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Britain under attack again – is this in response to knighthood?

Britain under attack again – is this in response to knighthood?
Dr Shabir Choudhry 2 July 2007
Britain is under attack again, and this time not from any enemy country but from those who are its own citizens, and who benefit from social, economic, political and security rights provided by the British state system.
These new terror ‘warriors’ fight in name of a religion – to protect and promote an ideology, but in actual fact they are the worst enemies of that religion and ideology. No civilised person or religion can justify actions of these fanatics. Their mission is to kill and destroy, and for this callous act they expect to get rewards in the next life.
Gordon Brown, a new British Prime Minister, did not expect this kind of start to his new political life at No 10 Downing Street. He had other priorities at his hand as he had to finalise his team, plan his strategy to govern the country with such success that the British people elect him in his own right.
This terror campaign is the first major test of his premiership, and I am convinced that he has the ability and skills to meet this and other challenges, and provide protection and security to people. Britain is still very safe place to live. Security system here is excellent, and that system is still in place and what has changed are political faces.
Who are these terrorists it is difficult to say at this stage. One can probably assume that they are misguided Muslim fanatics, and have done this to take revenge for the British involvement in the ‘war on terrorism’. And it is unfortunate to note that those arrested for alleged involvement in these terror events, are not uneducated, unemployed and disillusioned fanatics, but educated people belonging to a noble profession of medicine whose first task is to save lives.
Some analysts think that this new wave of terror is directly related to ‘crowning’ of Salman Rushdie. Majority of Muslims through out the world felt offended when the notorious writer was awarded a ‘Knighthood’. They felt that the writer has been rewarded for his anti Islam writings, and this is tantamount to rubbing salt in to their wounds.
Let us assume that these people were angry because of the British involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq and knighthood of Salman Russhdie; but does this mean that they have licence to kill innocent people who have absolutely nothing to do with these matters? If these terror actions were successful they could have resulted in death of many innocent people, and how could this have advanced cause of Islam or whatever cause they have in mind? How could this have helped people in Afghanistan or Iraq? How could help this Muslims in Britain?
A car packed with gas canisters rammed in to the main terminal would have caused many casualties if they had exploded. This terrorist act and those in London have resulted in creating more problems for ordinary people, and surely they will generate more hatred and anger against Islam and its followers.
These ruthless and totally unjustified terrorist acts will result in making life difficult for ordinary people and especially for Muslims. Fearing a backlash, Ken Livingston, Mayor of London was quick to defend Muslims by saying that: "In this city, Muslims are more likely to be law-abiding than non-Muslims and less likely to support the use of violence to achieve political ends than non-Muslims. They have played a good and active and growing role in creating a multi-cultural society,"
I appreciate this gesture of Ken Livingston, but hard reality of life is that hatred and anger against Muslims will increase culminating in to more attacks against them, even though a vast majority of them strongly oppose this kind of naked violence and terrorism.
I, like tens of thousands of other British Muslims, strongly oppose British involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, but we have chosen to oppose it through peaceful way by using our democratic rights. I feel we are not alone in this struggle to oppose this involvement, as there are millions of other people who oppose it just like we do; and if we (Muslims) resort to violence and terrorism then we will turn these people against us and justify government’s actions.
A friend of mine, while discussing about these events said, ‘these people are enemies of Islam and civilised society. They want to make life difficult for all of us who want to live normal lives’. He further said, ‘because of these people government has to spend more money on security related matters, which at times creates difficulties for ordinary people. This is my money that is being spent to beef up security, and once these terrorists are caught more money is spent to keep them in prison. These terrorists either should be hanged and where possible sent back to countries of their origin, or sent to Guantanamo Bay. Why should tax payers money be spent to feed these enemies of humanity?’
The Prime Minister Gordon Brown was speaking for millions of people when he said: "We will not yield, we will not be intimidated and we will not allow anyone to undermine our British way of life…Irrespective of Iraq, irrespective of Afghanistan, irrespective of what is happening in different parts of the world, we have an international organisation trying to inflict the maximum damage on civilian life in pursuit of a terrorist cause that is totally unacceptable to most people".
These handful of misguided terrorists need to understand that they cannot win a war or minds and hearts of people by killing innocent people. You cannot intimidate people and make them change their life - style by these inhuman acts; if anything you strengthen their resolve to defeat terrorism and those who sponsor it.
Message to terrorists and their supporters is that be rest assured, if the British did not give - in to the Nazi onslaught on mainland Britain and enormous military might they will not give - in to these childish gimmicks. However you have every chance of changing their policies, minds and hearts by persuasion and dialogue. Other nations came here to live and they became part of the British system, and by being part of the system they have ability to influence policies and protect their rights.
And by being antagonistic and outlaw one cannot win love and sympathy. Your actions together with other related matters are blocking progress of Muslims in Britain. It will become difficult for them to get jobs or promotions in certain fields. It will become difficult for Muslim students to get admissions in certain academic fields. These actions will provide fuel to Islam – phobia, and create more problems for vast majority of Muslims who are law abiding citizens, so please stop this terrorism for the sake of Islam, humanity and our well - being.
Writer is Chairman Diplomatic Committee of JKLF, Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs and author of many books on Kashmir. He could be reached at:

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