Perils of softness

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Britain mustn’t mollycoddle radicals 

The senseless and sickening killing of a British soldier in London by two radicalised Muslim youths earlier this week is a direct consequence of the UK going soft on extremists flourishing there. One only has to look at the alarming response of Britain's political establishment and mainstream media to the recent act to understand that such is indeed the case. Instead of calling out the attack for what it is — Islamist terrorism — and condemning it in unequivocal terms, the two have tied themselves up in knots.

And so it is that Prime Minister David Cameron has not just labelled the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby as “an attack on Britain” but has also called it a “betrayal of Islam”, going so far as to explain that, “There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act”. So paranoid he is about being politically incorrect, about offending imagined religious sensitivities, that he utters not a word about the rabid radicals who continue to brainwash the youth with their depraved ideology in the name of Islam. And with that, the British Prime Minister comes frighteningly close to those same radical Islamist leaders like Anjem Choudhary. In the aftermath of the attack, a “shocked” Choudhary, who headed the banned Al Muhajiroun group, justified the attack as a response to Britain's skewed foreign policies and its “occupation of Muslim land”. Unsurprisingly, one of the two London attackers, Michael Adebolajo, had attended Choudhary's rallies and was a regular among fanatics who routinely protest alongside notorious hate mongers.

Adebolajo's actions have been praised by a Muslim cleric, Omar Bakri Mohammed, who claims to have converted the killer from Christianity to Islam a few years ago. Mohammed was given political asylum in the UK in 1986, after which he established Hizb ut-Tahrir's branch in that country and later, the Al Muhajiroun. The influence that ‘religious leaders' like Mohammed and Choudhary wield, however, continues to be discounted. Instead, the focus is limited, to the likes of Adebolajo. And so, British society is fed the narrative of the ‘lone wolf' terrorist who has no direct connection with terrorist groups but picks up the tricks of the trade online, like Adebolajo in the UK — and the Tsarnaev brothers in the US, who were responsible for the Boston bombings.

And while it is true that such individuals do work independently, it is equally true that they are part of a global belief system that aims at terrorising society. And it is only when the state takes this holistic view that it can effectively contain the menace. The fact is that not even the most efficient of security systems can monitor and prevent attacks emanating from such ‘terrorist cells' comprising one or two individuals — especially when one also factors in convicted Islamists who are released into society after serving short jail terms, as is the case in the UK. These individuals pose a continued threat even as they remain under surveillance, for which also taxpayers pay a hefty sum. But while the state can't pre-empt the movement of every ‘lone wolf', it can clamp down on hate- mongers — instead of turning a blind eye to them or quietly encouraging them so long as they do not indulge in ‘terrorist attacks’.

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