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I have recently spent time talking with senior Pentagon officials and others involved in counter-terrorism. Their intellectual seriousness, and the global scope of their concerns, are strikingly different from those of their British counterparts, who are obsessed with “community cohesion” and the “radicalisation” of young Muslims. On these issues, the views of the non-Muslim majority population are largely ignored — except as potential “Islamophobes” with little or no say in the matter.

In the United States, by contrast, the Senate committee on homeland security heard evidence in April about the likely effects of a terrorist nuclear attack on Washington DC. The chairman, Senator Joe Lieberman, said, “The scenarios we discuss today are very hard for us to contemplate, and so emotionally traumatic and unsettling that it is tempting to push them aside.”

What was Lieberman talking about? A 10-kiloton bomb left in a truck by the White House would kill about 100,000 people and erase a two-mile radius of mainly federal buildings downtown. Most casualties would be burn victims, the majority of them African-Americans who work for the federal government. About 95 per cent of them would die an agonising death, because current capacity to treat such cases is limited to about 1,500. Since the winds blow west to east, the ensuing radioactive plume would drift towards the poor black neighbourhoods of the capital’s South East where there is only one hospital. Lieberman concluded, “Now is the time to have this difficult convers­ation, to ask the tough questions, and then to get answers as best we can.” One wonders what preparations for such a nightmare scenario are being made here in Britain. Are our parliamentarians asking these questions and enabling us to have this conversation?

As the main target of jihadist violence, the US has a sober estim­ation of the threat we face, and a polyvalent strategy for dealing with it. David Kilcullen, a leading Australian strategist attached to the US State Department, has dubbed the threat “the global jihadist insurgency”. This seems as good a term as any of the alternatives to the “war on terror”, use of which has been officially proscribed by the Brown government, even as local representatives of this insurgency process through British courts in startling numbers. The list is long: the mastermind Dhiren Barot; the men convicted in the wake of “Operation Crevice”; Younis Tsouli, the cyber-jihadist; Parviz Khan, who sought to film the decapitation of a Muslim soldier in a Birmingham garage; trials related to both the 7/7 and 21/7 bomb attacks in London; the eight alleged Heathrow planes plotters; and such fund-raisers and rabble-rousers as Abu Hamza and Trevor Brooks, alias Abu Izzadeen. A recent Europol report pointed out that in 2007 the British arrested 203 terrorist suspects; the figure for the rest of Europe is 201.

By contrast the US is fighting a global war against an al-Qa’eda-inspired nebula of extremists, with both arms and ideas. A vast array of analytic intelligence, is devoted to the threat. Leading figures regard this war as akin to competition between brands. They want al-Qa’eda to go the way of Ford’s Edsel, a notorious failure in the automobile market, rather than to strengthen like Audi, Coca-Cola or Nike. Part of this drive is to depict al-Qa’eda and its affiliates as “architects of chaos”, a term coined by the British general Graeme Lamb. Assistant defense secretary Michael Doran, head of counter-terrorism in the Pentagon, says, “al-Qa’eda builds nothing; it only destroys.” Doran’s object is to sow doubt in the minds of Muslims regarding the grimly narcissistic vision of universal Islamic victimhood propagated by the jihadists. Doran claims that we are “at the end of the beginning”, although any signs of al-Qa’eda’s decline in one region­— say South East Asia— have to be balanced against its resilience elsewhere.

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July 5th, 2008
6:07 PM
What exactly are the cultural implications of sharia-compliant finance? Is it any different from other 'ethical' investment portfolios?! I agree with a large amount of what you say but this seems to be clutching at straws as sharia finance is about consicience (i.e. being a good muslim and not investing monies in the arms trade ect) and I do not believe it is comparable to sharia law being used alongside or instead of english law. In my opinion it is as harmless as halal meat!

June 14th, 2008
5:06 AM
"The Turkish ministry of religious affairs has boldly sought to conform the Hadith — the sayings attributed to the Prophet Mohammed on which so much of Islam depends — to life in the 21st century." Sorry but this is just not true. Never has an event been as misreported as this one. Michael Burleigh would have done better to remember Turkey's secular middle class--millions of Muslims who want to live in the modern world in a modern way. Pity their experiences of the West have been so bad over the last two hundred years as to make them deeply distrustful of it. But given Whitehall's tenderness for Muslim hardliners, who can blame them?

John Kidd
June 9th, 2008
6:06 AM
Congratulations on the new magazine and its high standard of article as exemplified by this one on the extremist-moslem terrorism threat though I must say that I now fear nightmares after reading the lengthy commentary of Robert Callow above.

Robert Callow
June 7th, 2008
8:06 AM
Let no one underestimate how Islam controls those who take the word and the way of this religion seriously: Besides the Koran giving a written guarantee of paradise for the faithful Muslims "who are slain in the cause of Allah" (see chapter 47), this book also warns that if any able Muslim male will not be prepared to kill and die for the sake of Islam then he will be condemned to abide forever in the fire of hell: "Those that stayed at home were glad that they were left behind by Allah's apostle, for they had no wish to fight for the cause of Allah with their wealth and their persons. They said to each other: 'Do not go to war, the heat is fierce.' Say to them: 'More fierce is the heat of Hell-fire!' Would that they understood!" (chapter 9, verse 81). There are other verses in the Koran that clearly spell out this warning. The radical Muslim therefore, when he sees the need to fight for Islam's sake, will naturally go the way the father of Islam and the battle sites of 7th-century Arabia direct him. The Koranic warning of endless extreme torment in the fire of hell for those who ignore the call to arms, together with the promise of paradise to all Islamic martyrs, and the historic bloody battles fought in 7th-century Arabia that gave Muslims the victory in those days, will all be equally heeded by the devout and faithful Muslim of today. After Mohammed's death his devout followers, in their 'holy war' for an Islamic world, went on to conquer large parts of Asia, Africa and Europe (Under the clear direction of Mohammed, executions and slavery were also included in the Islamic way of conquest). Any continued violent opposition to Islamic rule would have been met with a violent response as soon as such action was considered worthwhile, and 9/11 was a clear warning of things to come. In 2005 Alastair Lawson for the BBC reported, "It is estimated that there are now around 20,000 madrassas in Pakistan, compared to around 137 at the time of partition. According to the Pakistani newspaper, The News, there are today around 1.7m students who attend such institutions, mainly from poor rural families." The primary aim of these institutions is to teach in great depth, the Koran and the way of Mohammed. How far then has radical Islam reached into Pakistan, a now largely moderate Muslim country already armed with nuclear weapons? If the disruptive and the destructive power of radical Islam continues to grow in that country which is already rife with corruption, so also will Pakistan's newly elected coalition government of liberal and pro-western 'Muslims' who are already clearly and deeply divided in their loyalties, continue to look more vulnerable to the rule of a more united radical Islam: History shows that through the corruption, division and weakness of others did a united militant Islam spread most swiftly. We must therefore ask again in this time of global Islamic revival, how many believers in the Koran, who faithfully follow the way of their 'prophet' (or potential radical believers in Islam) work or are preparing to work in nuclear technology? How many work in security? How many serve in the armed forces? It would be naive in the extreme to assume that the present leader(s) of the same uncompromising Islam that first spread across Arabia, (when the inhabitants of the land that Mohammed surveyed were eventually given the choice of living in submission to Islamic rule or facing death) are not already planning and working to acquire weapons of mass destruction for Islam's defence and expansion. It would be equally naive to think that faithful and devout followers of Mohammed are not already planning how to smuggle those weapons into the cities of their enemies who seek to put an end to the ordered and chosen way of the radical Muslim. The radical Shiite clerics of Iran look as though they may also very soon have control over nuclear weapons, and with the power to destroy cities comes the power to bring to ruin a degenerate and hated West that grows more corrupt by the day and now fights an open bloody war to put an end to Islam as it was in the days of Mohammed. The more violence used against radical Muslims, which often causes suffering and great offence to many moderate or restrained Muslims, by contemptible governments and corrupt societies, so the more hateful and vengeful do many Muslims become. But it is equally true: If unknown networks of Islamic terrorists or any other such hateful and deluded enemies of the West start causing mass destruction and high radioactive fallout over our capital cities and major financial centers, then millions of key workers in the global economy will abandon their threatened cities and surrounding areas in panic, leaving them also dead to wealth production. Many will then fear that a new and most terrifying offensive has been launched by unknown terrorists who see the violent overthrow of corrupt western governments as a God ordered duty they must not ignore. The great wealth producing cities upon which the world banking system is dependent will then suddenly become staggering liabilities, and with no means to honour the vast debts owed to banks, the great banks of the global economy will be rendered bankrupt. The world banking system of greed and growing debt, the lifeblood of modern western power, will then suddenly cease to function. Once this system stops working, our so called free and democratic society which needs this system in order to exist will begin to spiral into anarchy. All world philosophies and doctrines will then become proven failures when hundreds of millions of paranoid souls suddenly find only worthless bank accounts and useless money to live on. Driven by a growing starvation, terror, anger and hatred, they shall begin to seek food and survival by the only way they see, with every weapon available. Add to this our inability to halt our worsening rape of our natural environment and it looks increasingly like we are entering the prophesied hell on earth and Judgement Day. When will the blind see then, now or in hell?

Bruce Mauleverer
June 5th, 2008
5:06 PM
There should be no place for appeasement of terrorists in the UK. Michael Burleigh's article is punchy, highly relevant and correct in its argument.

David B. Fisher
June 2nd, 2008
6:06 PM
You give the terrorists far too much credit by calling them 'jihadists.' There is a positive connotation in the term which these characters do not deserve. Instead of being PC, brand them what they are, terrorists, whose activities reflect positively on nothing whatsoever.

June 2nd, 2008
5:06 PM
The author forgot one aspect: psychological operations. The best way to avert the Muslims from joining the jihadists is to humiliate the jihadists. Put the dead jihadists into the pig's dung or skins and let the video clips do the rest.

Brian H
June 1st, 2008
8:06 AM
What a novel point of view! Britain not inexorably fated to become an Islamist slum? Well, seeing will be believing.

Peter Hutchkopf
May 31st, 2008
6:05 PM
Great article, great magazine. Long needed.

Manolo Gee
May 31st, 2008
2:05 PM
Spot on! We have a government of 'head in the sand' idiots who are more intent on allowing preachers of hate, rogue mosques, fifth column 2nd or 3rd generation 'immigrants' to spew out their hate, death threats and murders as 7/7, via demos, placards & in the vrious muslim blogs, than demanding this community accepts British law and behave accordingly or simply go to a country they will feel more comfortable in. The government allows proven preachers of racist-hate to come in to encourage violence amongst the muslim community, like al-Quaradawi; it has allowed the hate-infested MCB (hatred of British culture, purvayors of anti-Semitic propoganda) to persue its destabalising strategy unhinded; it does not seem capable of knowing who the baddies from the goodies, appointing MCB affiliates as government advisers. John Howard, the previous Australian PM, got it spot on when he told the Aussie muslims that if they didn't like what was on offer they were free to leave(he put it more 'Strine than that). When will Brown's excuse of a government open it's eyes, hear what the people are saying, feel the pain....and act accordingly?

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