Saturday, August 12, 2006

Protect civilians wherever they are
This is the heading given to an open letter to the Prime Minister published in today's Times endorsed by leading Islamic organisations. This is clearly a sentiment that no one can challenge.

But I have some reservations as to the motives and timing behind this, the letter opens with this sentence

''As British Muslims we urge you to do more to fight against all those who target civilians with violence, whenever and wherever that happens.''

And continues :

''It is our view that current British government policy risks putting civilians at increased risk both in the UK and abroad.

To combat terror the government has focused extensively on domestic legislation. While some of this will have an impact, the government must not ignore the role of its foreign policy.

The debacle of Iraq and now the failure to do more to secure immediate end to the attacks on civilians in the Middle East not only increases the risk to ordinary people in that region, it is also ammunition to extremist who threaten us all.

Attacking civilians is never justified. This message is a global one. We urged the Prime Minister to redouble his efforts to tackle terror and extremism and change our foreign policy to show the world that we value the lives of civilians wherever they live and whatever their religion.

Such a move would make us all safer.

So let me get this right, because of a handful of criminal terrorists, we as a nation have to change our our foreign policy, according to the signatories of this letter. How changing our foreign policy at this point in time would make us safer is beyond me and most rational people, as it is generally accepted that once you give in to one terrorist group you only encourage the next.

Along with many people I concur that our involvement and that of America has been a bloody disaster in Iraq, some how George Bush has managed to clutch disaster from the jaws of victory. The reality is that our forces are embroiled, in the middle of a nasty sectarian war, and to withdraw now, would more than likely increase the slaughter, carried out not by American or British forces but the indigenous Muslim population.

This letter to the Prime Minister, if nothing else seems to be naive in the extreme, and does little or nothing to censure extremist terrorist elements of our own nation by which I mean whatever race, religion or non-religion.

Finally unpalatable and offensive as it is to the Muslim community, the media has given much voice to concerns of Muslims that only Muslims are being targeted as suspects, in this war against terror and Al-Qaeda it's unlikely that any of the suspects will be Buddhists. Obviously the signatories to this letter are honest decent citizens of this country making a contribution to what is a sensitive and difficult period in our history but I think the timing of and emphasis of this letter are wrong, coming two days after an almost unimaginable plot to murder hundreds of fellow British citizens has been foiled.

Now the facts as I believe are that two days ago we were informed by the Metropolitan police deputy commissioner, Paul Stephenson, "This was intended to be mass murder on an unimaginable scale." talking about the plot to bomb nine planes and murder without compunction hundreds of innocent civilians. With this in mind I think we should support our security services and concentrating on education all sections of society that we are one nation and incorporate many faiths and cultural backgrounds but wont tolerate terrorism fullstop or make any allowances for bullies.

* * this letter was apparently endorsed by many leading Muslim organisations including Muslim Council of Britain, Muslim Parliament, Muslim Women Society, Islamic Society of Britain etc
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1 comment:

  1. Your right Tony when are these muslim leaders going to sort out there own people before lecturing us on our way of life.