Extremist bullies

“We will not be browbeaten by bullies,” Home Secretary John Reid told Labour conference, vowing to have the “courage and character to stand shoulder to shoulder” with Britain’s Muslim communities to stand up to “extremist bullies.”

Taking his cue from Tony Blair, he posed new Labour as a kindly knight in shining armour prepared to defend Muslims against the evil in their midst.

Like the Prime Minister – but unlike the security services in the US and Britain – he makes no link between the danger of domestic terrorism and the blood-soaked state terrorism launched by Washington and London against Iraq and Afghanistan.

Both Mr Blair and George W Bush claim that incidences of terrorism across the globe break out because “these people hate our way of life.”

This is childish nonsense. Even the most extreme expressions of Islamist terror justify their acts as a response to military attacks on and occupations of Muslim lands, which long predate September 11 2001.

But US Republican and new Labour neoconservatives cannot accept that global insecurity is a direct result of their own propensity for war and subjugation.

That’s why Mr Reid resorts to pompous claptrap that blames Britain’s Muslim communities for the small groups of misguided people who seek to combat state terrorism with individual terrorism.

For him and his boss, everyone who condemns imperialism’s crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine or who identifies the link between those crimes and the bombs in Britain and elsewhere is dabbling in an extremism that provides a milieu within which terrorists can thrive.

How dare they try to blame others for the mess that their policies have created?

New Labour’s belief that it has a right to define Muslims as either “moderate” or “extremist” on the basis of whether they back the government’s criminal policies is a disgrace.

It is also a confirmation that, when it comes to bullying the poor and powerless, government ministers are past masters.

Morning Star editorial, 29 September 2006