September 11th 2001 has frequently been described as a wake-up call. It certainly jolted world-wide attention, and has led to a series of grievous consequences. But how many people have really woken up, and what do they think they have woken up to?
One popular theme is President Bush’s misnamed ‘War on Terror’. The underlying assumption is that we [the West] are threatened by a relatively small number of highly dangerous Islamic fanatics who have no purchase on the hearts and minds of the great majority of peace-loving ‘moderate’ Muslims in our midst. This is a comforting thesis, but one not borne out by the deafening silence of almost all European Muslims, who have conspicuously failed to disassociate themselves from the jihadists, and whose spokesmen, even when they do grudgingly deplore terror, invariably link it to American and British policy in the Middle East – especially the invasion of Iraq – the implication being that, if such policies were changed, terrorism would cease.
This, however, is poppycock. As Dr Rachel Ehrenfeld makes chillingly clear in her book Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed – and How to Stop It, Islamic terrorism against the West has been steadily growing since the 1980s, and is funded by a complex and worldwide operation largely masterminded from
One of the abiding puzzles since 9/11 is why Bush’s bragging pledge to run the culprits down, dead or alive, and to cut off their sources of funding, has not been realised? If the thesis that these are just a handful of isolated crazy mavericks were true, that would surely have been a relatively simple matter. But, as Dr Ehrenfeld expounds in detail, acts of terrorism are merely the visible tip of a massive ongoing wave of Muslim – especially Arab – hostility not just to the
However, as Dr Ehrenfeld pointed out in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, “terrorism does not happen in a political vacuum. The policies pursued by Western nations impact directly on both the means available to terrorists and the motivations driving their evil agendas. It is imperative that we assess what has gone wrong and begin to set those policies right.” But since then, thanks to the folly of the purblind neoCon ideologues currently running
Dr Ehrenfeld observes that "comfortable and tolerant societies find it difficult to accept that they are vulnerable to other societies that might wish to do them harm." I do not regard myself as the enemy of all Arabs, other Middle Eastern people, and Muslims – indeed, I had a Lebanese grandfather – but I cannot reconcile the doctrines of Islam, so far as I understand them, with the open, pluralistic, tolerant, secular society in which I have lived so far and wish to continue inhabiting. So if Islamists, or any Muslims, not only regard my society as inferior to theirs, but also aspire to transform it more to their liking or even to conquer and dominate it, I am forced to ask myself what needs to be done to stop them? And is what is currently being done adequate and well focussed?
While the former is too large a question to address here, I am in no doubt that the answer to the second question is a resounding ‘No.’
I would also like the answer to another question: why do the Bush and Brown governments persist, against all the abundant evidence, in regarding