Those are the words written by Michael Portillo in his compelling and spot on piece in today’s UK Sunday Times. He outlines brilliantly why the British must not fall into the trap of appeasing Muslim extremists by pretending that the 7/7 London bombing were the result of Britain’s actions rather than Islamic extremism bent on destroying the West.
To begin, Mr. Portillo points out that Muslims aren’t victimized and oppressed by the British government but by the Muslim terrorists. When Muslim extremists take it upon themselves to kill innocent people in the name of Islamic purity, they are the ones who make victims out of other innocent Muslims, not the law enforcement officials trying to prevent future terrorist attacks:
It is there that Al-Qaeda has scored its greatest success. More significant for the long term than the bombs is the impact that terror has in dividing the groups that make up our society, and in increasing the appeal of militancy to those who can be duped into seeing themselves as repressed.
Muslim complaints about being victimised are perversely directed. Muslims are victims of the bombers, not of the state or the police. It is the terrorists who make Muslims potential objects of suspicion and fear because the bombers murder in the name of Islam. Muslims have every right to be outraged, but their fury should focus on the men of violence. The police action in Forest Gate was cack-handed and the shooting of one of the “suspects” was indefensible. But given the profile of the terrorists, Muslims are bound to be more affected. By analogy, when police are looking for a rapist they interview males without anyone believing them to be institutional men haters.
This is a point that can not be made enough, not only in Britain, but here in states, as well. Airport screeners are told to search airline passengers randomly. As a result, our screeners waste their time searching four year old children and 83 year old grandmothers instead of being purposeful and searching those who fit the terrorist profile. Yes, the terrorists my try to recruit members who are outside the profile to blow themselves up and kill innocents in the name of Islam, but the argument that these recruits could be children and grandmothers is pretty weak.
Mr. Portillo rejects the argument that to call out the terrorists because of their religion is hypocritical and inconsistent because he doesn’t call out the IRA for their Catholic connections or Christian extremists for their religious roots:
There are good reasons for that. Although the IRA is rooted in the Catholic community, its aims are political and secular. Although there certainly are Christian extremists today, just now they are not murdering people in the name of purifying the world. By contrast, across the globe human beings are being slaughtered in large numbers by Muslims quoting from the Koran and vowing death to infidels, including other Muslim sects. Their objectives are political and religious.
So to try to condemn the expression “Islamic violence” is a dangerous attempt at censorship that would hamper our understanding of the threat we face. The term is certainly offensive to Muslims, but the offence is caused by the bombers, not by those who describe the process.
Another problem in Britain’s Muslim community is that even those Imams who oppose committing violence in the name of the Koran still try to explain away the terrorists behavior as being a reaction Britain’s foreign policy rather than an effort to force Islamic laws on free societies. As Mr. Portillo points out, many Britons disapprove of Prime Minister Blair’s Iraq and Afghanistan policies, but it is only the Muslim extremists who are blowing themselves up in subways and on busses.
Michael Portillo ends his essay with a point that needs to be understood not just by Britons but by Americans, too:
I believe that we can move closer if we are more honest about what is happening. Mayhem is being unleashed globally in the name of Islam. There is no point denying it, especially since most of those butchered have been Muslim. The British state is not the problem but part of the solution. A tolerant society can survive only if it bands together to suppress intolerance because we are all victims of that intolerance.
Every Briton must join in that effort, no ifs, no buts and no excuses.
Mr. Portillo makes many more great points that I didn’t mention, which make his essay a must read.
Update: The BBC continues to appease Muslim extremism: now the word dhimmi is banned from its website. Interesting irony. By banning the word dhimmi, it embraces dhimmitude.