Terrorism? Blame Pakistanis, says Stephen Schwartz

Stephen Schwartz“With the foiling of the alleged conspiracy by radical Islamists to devastate transatlantic air travel – at the height of the US–UK tourist season – Britain has emerged, a little more than a year after the London Tube bombings, as the apparent main target for jihadist terror in Europe.

“This has little to do with British policies, poverty, discrimination or Islamophobia. Simply put, a million or more Sunnis of Pakistani background, who comprise the main element among British Asian Muslims, also include the largest contingent of radical Muslims in Europe. Their jihadist sympathies embody an imported ideology, organised through mosques and other religious institutions, rather than a ‘homegrown’ phenomenon, as the cliché would have it….

“Imported Muslim clerics are the basis of the threat. Islam in the UK is overwhelmingly influenced by imams and other religious officials born in Pakistan and trained in that country or in Saudi Arabia. Pakistani Sunni mosques in Britain are major centres for jihadist preaching, finance, incitement and recruitment.

“… the leaders of British Islam — exemplified by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) — have assumed a posture of truculence, obstruction and indignation when any suggestion is made that jihadist sympathies infect their ranks…. It may be impossible for General Musharraf to rid his country of jihadist violence. But Britain need not and must not permit Pakistani religious gangsters to continue their control of British Islam.”

Spectator, 16 August 2006

Update:  For Yusuf Smith’s comments, see Indigo Jo Blogs, 20 August 2006