In today’s Sun John Reid suggests that Muslims in Britain are not doing enough to combat terrorism. Following some initial conciliatory remarks, he writes that “the Muslim community must choose between accepting the propaganda of the terrorists and taking on would-be terrorists at every opportunity”.
It boils down to a lecture to parents on controlling their children, though it is clear that the families of the 7/7 bombers didn’t have the slightest idea what they were up to. However, Reid offers some handy hints on how to spot the danger signs: “look for changes in your teenage sons – odd hours, dropping out of school or college, strange new friends.” By those criteria, there must be an awful lot of terrorist suspects out there.
And I thought this bit was priceless: “Some may think it is better to accommodate extremists in the hopes of influencing them for the better, but as I know from the bitter experience of dealing with militants in the Labour Party, you cannot compromise with fanatical beliefs.”
The Militant Tendency as al-Qaida, Ted Grant as Osama bin Laden! And a lecture on the impossibility of influencing extremists to take a more moderate course sounds all the more bizarre coming from Labour right-winger who is a former member of the Communist Party.
Muslims must shop extremists
By John Reid
The Sun, 19 September 2006
EXTREMIST Muslims are calling for jihad, or holy war, after the Pope quoted an ancient text linking the Prophet Muhammad with “things evil and inhumane.”
As tensions rise, this week Home Secretary John Reid will appeal to Muslims to help root out potential terrorists from within their community. Here he writes for The Sun.
Our world has changed enormously over the last 15 years. The dangers of religious extremism and ethnic tensions have replaced the East-West rivalries of the Cold War.
The end of communism was a great victory for freedom and democracy but it created new challenges — including global terrorism.
Tomorrow, one year on, we will remember the victims of terrorism at Sharm El- Sheikh, Kusadasi and Doha.
Who can forget what happened in New York on 9/11, or London, or Bali, or Madrid? Thousands of lives lost in the name of a war supposedly fought to advance Islam.
But this is not a war with Islam, this is a battle against extremism and intolerance. And it is vital that we all work together to defeat those twin evils. That’s why there must be no sectarian divide between Muslims and non-Muslims.
After all, the minority who abuse Islam in their pursuit of violence are not only attacking western values, they are attacking the values of their co-religionists.
And mainstream Muslims and Christians share so many common values — devotion to family and society, to faith and good deeds. A belief in the right to life, equality, justice and opportunity.
The terrorists don’t share these values. They are not true Muslims. They seek to achieve their aims through violence — they may use the rhetoric of Islamic teachings, but they behave in ways that contradict the very principles of the Islamic faith.
They may claim that their war is a jihad but many of the victims of al-Qaeda have been Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Algeria and Turkey.
So this is not a battle between religions but a fundamental struggle between opposing values. That’s why the Muslim community must choose between accepting the propaganda of the terrorists and taking on would-be terrorists at every opportunity.
It is because of the level of threat they face that I will start this week to brief the Muslim community, to give them the knowledge to defeat these extremists and ask for their help.
This dovetails with the work of Ruth Kelly who, as part of her ongoing engagement with Muslim communities, will be hosting a meeting of Muslim women. Some may think it is better to accommodate extremists in the hopes of influencing them for the better, but as I know from the bitter experience of dealing with militants in the Labour Party, you cannot compromise with fanatical beliefs.
As a father of two boys, I know how hard it is to raise children and know everything they are up to. It is especially difficult to intervene as they get older.
But there are times when we must confront them to protect them from harm. So I appeal to you to look for changes in your teenage sons — odd hours, dropping out of school or college, strange new friends. And if you are worried, talk to them before their hatred grows.
I don’t want a suspicious society when we have done so well in breaking down differences. But the terrorists want to divide us. We must not let them.
The police and security services do a fantastic job protecting us from terrorism. But they cannot do so alone.
Terrorism can be defeated only when we all work together to defeat it. That’s why it is so important that Muslims join us in exiling extremism from our country — and from their communities.