“Despite a hardening of the public mood against Islamism, the British establishment is still sleepwalking toward cultural surrender. The essence of the problem is that although it understands it is fighting an unprecedented terrorist threat, it still does not understand the religious ideology driving the threat. It still believes, instead, the Islamist propaganda line that the root causes of jihadi terror are poverty, discrimination, or foreign policy – in other words, that terrorism against the West is the West’s own fault.
“The good news is that the mood is beginning to change among British Muslims. Debate has been electrified by the decision of a few young Muslims to renounce Islamist radicalism. Accounts such as Ed Husain’s book The Islamist have blown apart all the usual excuses for Islamist terror. Husain said the cause was nothing other than religious fanaticism; and he called for Hizb ut-Tahrir – the jihadi organization to which he had belonged – to be banned….
“The bad news is, in brief, that the British government is choosing to look the other way. It should be making it crystal clear that there is no place for Islamist extremism in Britain. Not only is it refusing to do so, however, but its response to Islamism remains one of appeasement. Although much about the new prime minister, Gordon Brown, remains studiedly ambiguous, the dynamic of British politics – with its visceral hostility toward Israel and America, and with Muslim voters steadily increasing their political influence – means he may yet put Britain and the West at even further risk.
“Indeed, there are worrying signs that Brown will actually go further than the government has already gone in appeasing the Muslim lobby. He is refusing to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir – which is radicalizing countless young British Muslims, particularly on campus. He is refusing to ban the building of what is intended to be the largest mosque in Europe on the site of the 2012 Olympic village in east London – a mosque funded by the Tablighi Jamaat, said by the FBI and French intelligence to be the ‘antechamber to al-Qaeda’ in Europe…. Whereas the Blair government finally started to treat the (supposedly representative) Muslim Council of Britain as the Islamist extremists that they are, Brown has brought them back in from the cold.”
Melanie Phillips at National Review Online, 11 September 2007