Saturday, 31 May 2008

Who is responsible for London Bombing?

Who is responsible for London Bombing?
Dr Shabir Choudhry 17 July 2005

People of London and Britain are trying to overcome the impact of tragic events of ‘London bombing’; moreover Muslim population of Britain is trying to face new pressures. Muslims and non Muslims have forwarded many theories about these bombers and motives behind this tragic incident, and no one theory could encompass the whole truth.

No one in his right mind could justify killing of these innocent people, but one has to remember that no one is born as a ‘terrorist’ or a ‘suicide bomber’. We are product of the society we live in, and different issues and factors influence our thinking and behaviour. As we live in a global village issues and events taking place elsewhere could also influence our thinking and behaviour.

The term suicide bombing has become an everyday term in our lives. As much as this act is hated we fail to see the root cause of the problem which has never been addressed by the relevant authorities. Increased security will not cease terrorism but recognition of grievances displayed by these desperate acts will play a more positive role in trying to prevent these acts. It has to be said, nothing can be done to fight those who are willing to die for their cause, whether that cause is justified or not in view of others; and there is no protection against this phenomenon.

Tony Blair was warned by many, including this writer that the war against terrorism cannot be fought by terrorism itself. In a letter to Tony Blair dated 07 April 2003, I said, ‘that by this aggression you will create chaos and instability and you will give birth to future ‘terrorists’ as people will take revenge for barbarism unleashed in name of ‘liberation’.

I further said that act of aggression which is carried out in disguise of ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ and ‘war on terrorism’ will create thousands of more terrorists, and will make the U.K vulnerable to attacks. Apart from me many other people wrote similar things, and if we, the ordinary people, could envisage this, the authorities with vast knowledge and experience could have also seen this; but strategic and economic interests were too high and these threats were ignored by the authorities.

The killing of innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan has been disguised as ‘liberation’ and war on terrorism’. The killing of innocent people anywhere else is seen as an act of barbarity, but victims and those who are neutral in this struggle (crusade) question where is the distinction between the two?

Soon after the bombings in London Muslim scholars, community leaders and imams tried to take lead in condemning these bombings; of course members of other faiths and other communities and political leaders also condemned this act. Asian media, especially Asian TV channels held special programmes to condemn this and show solidarity with the government and the families of victims.

Vast majority of Muslims strongly oppose actions like this, and even though they had no prior knowledge about this incident, they feared that they will be accused of supporting or condoning this; and they felt they had to do more in order to show that they were not on the side of these terrorists.

I am among those who have opposed violence for many years and have paid a big price for this as well. I have no problem with these people condemning terrorism, but wonder if that is enough to stop terrorism. I also wonder if these people are sincere in condemning terrorism; or they just want to condemn terrorism in London because they fear it could possibly affect them.

Some of these people from Pakistani/Kashmiri back ground who are trying to take lead in condemning terrorism in London are the ones who opposed us when we spoke against violence in Kashmir and advocated a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

It was these people who called us ‘anti Islam’, ‘anti movement’ and ‘anti Jihadi elements’. The blood of victims whether they are in Aldgate (London), Lal Chowke (Srinagar) or Faluja (Iraq) is red, and they are all human beings with brothers, sisters and parents just like all of us. We cannot say that killing of innocent person in London is wrong, because we could feel heat as a result of this killing, and call it holy jihad elsewhere which must continue.

No doubt people of Jammu and Kashmir have genuine grievances against both India and Pakistan, as their homeland is forcibly divided and occupied by these two countries. What adds salt to our wounds is the denial of our inherent right of self determination, as both countries have clear territorial aims and want to deny us to exercise this right to determine our future.

Continued denial of this right has resulted in people resorting to violence, especially on the Indian side of the divide which was of course only possible with support of Pakistani agencies. We proposed a peaceful resolution of this dispute in mid 1990s, and we were criticised by those who wanted the pot to keep on boiling; but now all those who sincerely want to resolve the Kashmir dispute accept that there is no military solution to this dispute and that violence could only add to our problems.

The point I am trying to make is that we have to be honest in our approach to violence. We have to condemn all sorts of violence no matter where it is taking place, and no matter who is behind it. We cannot pick and choose, support it where it suits us and oppose it when tide is against us. A terrorist has no more right to commit an act of violence anymore than a nation state has. A death of one innocent person is a loss of one innocent human being regardless of who committed this act and for what purpose.

Islam is the most misunderstood and misinterpreted religion of all times, and ignorance only breeds the misunderstanding to the point of hate. Islam does not state any where that killing of innocent people will guarantee you heaven in the afterlife nor does Islam state killing of innocent people is justified in any circumstances. Lack of knowledge allows the terrorists to hide under the shield of religion to justify their acts.

Teaching of Islam is very clear on killing of innocent people: if you kill one innocent person that is as if you have killed the whole humanity, and if you save one innocent person and that is as if you have saved the whole humanity. But if we use our knowledge and experience to justify one innocent killing in one area of the world, because it is convenient to us then we are leaving space for others to use their knowledge and experience to justify such actions in other parts of the world as well.

Similarly if we justify killing of innocent people in Baghdad and Faluja because it serves our national and strategic interests then we are leaving space for others to broaden the area of conflict to satisfy their interest, no matter how obnoxious and condemnable these interests are.

What surprises many is that when Faluja was on fire and forces of occupation were unleashing most advanced and deadly weapons, at that time community leaders, religious scholars, and managers of Asian TVs did not find it appropriate to have discussion on the situation in Faluja where innocent Iraqis were facing bombs from everywhere. They should have had discussions to work out strategies to prevent that, and moreover to work out plans to control minds and actions of Muslim youths in Britain and elsewhere in Europe.

Some people are surprised and shocked by these attacks. I am among those who are saddened but not surprised, because it was clear that our foreign policy has made us target of these kinds of attacks. Tony Blair and George Bush say that these people attack us because they hate democracy and Western life style. This is not true. Once again they are trying to mislead people. If these terrorists hated democracies and Western life style then why they are not attacking Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium and many other Western democracies. Answer is very simple: these countries have not committed aggression Muslim countries and have not supported aggressions and tyrants; whereas Britain and America have led this aggression and caused death of thousands of innocent Muslims.

One wonders who is responsible for this carnage. Is it our foreign policy which is perceived as anti Muslims and anti Islam by many, partly responsible for making London a target of these attacks? Or are we, the members of the Muslim Community, especially from South Asia, partly responsible for failing to teach our children that Britain is our home, and anything which hurts Britain will ultimately hurt us too. Apart from that have we failed to teach our children that as Muslims we must abide laws of the country we choose to live in, and must not work against interests of that country?

Or are those people partly responsible for this, who condone acts of terrorism in certain parts of the world because it suits them? Or these young men were mad and destructive, and were born with evil embedded within them?

I know the trend since the London bombing has been to write against these acts and not to write to open the reader’s mind to acknowledge a problem that is so deeply embedded within the structure of our government that maybe we should blame the same government promoting terrorism by its own acts. No matter what the trend is, I have always spoken out in support of what I believe is correct.

I would like to end this article by leaving these questions for my readers:

Alqaeeda members are perceived as very intelligent and well organised people, then why is it that these so called suicide bombers left their ID’s and other documents behind; and in case of America, left training manuals to fly aircrafts in Arabic in their cars?

Why would a car with explosives be left in a public place (car park in Luton), especially if the car was hired out in a name of one of the alleged terrorists?

Could they have not just boarded a train from Leeds or even steel a car to drive to Luton?

Why would so- called ‘Muslim bombers’ target pre-dominantly Muslim and ethnic minority areas to show retaliation against a Western society?

Many Muslims believe that one of the reasons why Britain joined America in this aggression was economic; and if the aim of these terrorists was to harm Britain, then wouldn’t it have been more effective to commit these acts one day earlier to sabotage Britain’s chance of holding Olympics in 2012. If this had happened on 5th or 6th July, instead of 7th July then there was no way Britain could have hosted Olympics and that would have surely hurt Britain economically.

Could it be possible that like in the case of Weapons of Mass Destruction, evidence was sought to suit policies and aims of the government; now evidence is ‘established’ or ‘planted’ to make an opening for a another war? Could all this be to create public fear and panic to condone such an action?

9/11 was used to launch a war against terrorism and that helped America and UK to fulfil their strategic and economic aims; and I hope this, 7/7, is not a prelude to another form of aggression.

Writer is a Chairman of Diplomatic Committee of JKLF and author of many books and booklets. Also he is a Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email:

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