Charles Moore says:
What is the biggest division within the Western world since September 11, 2001? Why are we split over Iraq, Afghanistan, policing, human rights, immigration, community cohesion and a dozen other subjects?
It is, at root, a disagreement about threat. This is what Tony Blair explained so lucidly to the Chilcot Inquiry on Friday. On the one hand are those who think that the attack on the Twin Towers proved that there is a global threat to our way of life. On the other hand is a coalition of people who argue that this threat is absurdly exaggerated, or that it is caused by the West’s own aggression.
The disagreement plays out everywhere.
Read the whole article – but here’s the conclusion:
What happens at the airport check-in is only the last line of defence. It needs to connect with earlier lines. And this is where the anti-threat people really get in the way.
Look again at the case of the Detroit bomber. He picked up some of his terrible ideas from the Islamic Society of University College London, of which he was president. But the university bigwigs aerate with indignation at the idea that they should try to police such a society.
Look at Major Nidal Hasan, the US Army psychiatrist who shot 13 people dead at Fort Hood, Texas, last November. Colleagues had been worried earlier by his public defence of suicide bombers, but had not dared to complain in case they were accused of Islamophobia. In both cases, the terrorists were admirers of the
al-Qaeda imam Anwar al Awlaki, now on the run. Major Hasan had a lengthy email correspondence with him.
Now switch to Britain. One leading Muslim networker here is a man called Azad Ali. He was until this month the president of the Civil Service Islamic Society (he works at the Treasury). He is chairman of the Muslim Council of Britain’s membership committee, and on the council of the civil liberties organisation, Liberty. He sits on a Whitehall body advising the Director of Public Prosecutions about counter-terrorism and is treasurer of the Muslim Safety Forum, which has an official role in trying to oversee police dealings with Muslims.
In his blog – written, by coincidence, exactly a year before the Fort Hood massacre – Azad Ali described Imam al Awlaki as “one of my favourite speakers… I really do love him for the sake of Allah”. On another occasion, he blogged in favour of a man who argued that it was a duty under jihad to kill British and American troops in Iraq. This week, Azad Ali lost a libel action against a newspaper which had highlighted his words. His case had an “absence of reality”, said the judge. But still Azad Ali is in the Treasury, in the MCB, on the council of Liberty and giving his views about police behaviour in the Muslim Safety Forum.
True, he has dissociated himself from al Awlaki since the Fort Hood massacre; but the story illustrates how difficult it is for our authorities. At every turn, there are bodies like the MSF, stuffed with people like Azad Ali, telling them that they are wrong, insensitive, over-reacting, and racist. And often excusing people like Azad Ali are civil libertarians, such as Liberty, in a weird alliance with some of the least libertarian people imaginable. An “absence of reality” indeed.
There is a threat. Long before it translates into a deadly act, it begins as a deadly thought. To counter it, we must profile it.
The Mail also has the story of Ministers at the so-called Progressive London event, featuring the self-admitted traitor, Azad Ali.