Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Portrait of a terrorist

Listen to the BBC Radio 4 programme Jihad UK, broadcast last Monday in the wake of the convictions of three British Muslim men for terror offences, here. Unfortunately Melancholicus is unable to embed the BBC media player in this post, so readers will have to activate the thing themselves after clicking the link.

The objective quality of the coverage is really quite good, in spite of the BBC’s institutionalised reverence for all things Mahometan. Nevertheless, the BBC still cannot bring itself to name religious ideology as the inspiration behind jihadi violence lest the reputation of Islam itself be besmirched.

Instead, the blame is laid on a variety of external factors; the seductive lure of foreign jihadi groups, the youth and impressionability of young British Muslims and—that perennial scapegoat for Mahometan aggression—western foreign policy.

It was interesting—and certainly refreshing—to hear comments such as “platitudes such as Islam meaning ‘peace’ won’t cut it here”—but the reporter failed to go the full distance and inform his audience that Islam does not mean peace at all; it means submission.

Particularly interesting, even revealing, is this comment by Hanif Qadir of the Active Change Foundation in describing the motivation of young Britons who give themselves up to the jihadi cause:

“These people who carry out terrorist activities, they’re not evil individuals. It’s because they’re most human, unselfish and often self-sacrificing kind of individuals, that will jump in when they see unfairness, and when they see injustice being done to a person, or to a race or to a community. It’s often these type of people that want to get involved.”

For all it seems to exculpate those who participate in terrorist attacks, this remark nevertheless rings true to a large extent. Ah, the idealism of thoughtless youth! The misplaced zeal that leads young persons to become socialists and that which leads them to become jihadis is ultimately the same. Young persons are often gifted with a self-sacrificing desire to make a change and be of service to something important—or at least something that they consider to be important. What that something is, however, makes all the difference. The foolish, idealistic young that are seduced by an evil, twisted ideology such as socialism—or Islam—will end by becoming evil and twisted themselves. That is simply the way of things. One’s character cannot remain untainted by one’s acts.

At the end of it all, it is disquieting to know that even though Britain may not have the largest Muslim population in Europe, it certainly has the most radical. Britain has been a breeding ground for jihadis for years. In this respect, Melanie Phillips’ Londonistan is required reading. Melancholicus does not quite agree with her stance vis-a-vis the invasion of Iraq, but her social commentary and her diagnosis of the malaise currently afflicting British legal and political life is right on the money.

But that such a programme can be aired on the BBC at all is progress in itself; it must surely indicate that Britain is beginning to wake up to the fact that a significant proportion of her Muslim minority, including those born and raised on British soil, does not identify with her culture and institutions, and is intent on turning her into an Islamic state.

And why? What is the cause of their alienation?

Is it really because of poverty and hopelessness, as is so often claimed?

If so, why are university campuses such fertile recruiting grounds for the jihadis?

Is not the problem rooted in something much simpler than the interplay of complex socio-economic factors?

Could it be a matter of theology, perhaps?

Is it not the Islamic religion that ultimately drives the jihadis?

This programme is perhaps the closest the BBC has ever come to making the link between Muslim violence and the Islamic religion.

Will they ever get there? Melancholicus somehow doubts it. Political correctness is so deeply engrained in the minds of the British intelligentsia that he cannot see it being dislodged any time soon.

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