Europe’s Endangered Muslims

Last Thursday the Islamic Relief charity shop in Glasgow was badly damaged in an arson attack. Over in Germany, 32-year-old Egyptian mother Marwa Sherbini was stabbed to death by her assailant — in a courtroom! — for wearing the hijab. And now this: “Bomb seizures spark far-right terror plot fear“, reports David Leppard of Times.

Islamic Relief charity shop badly damaged in arson attack
Islamic Relief charity shop badly damaged in arson attack (H Yusuf)

A network of suspected far-right extremists with access to 300 weapons and 80 bombs has been uncovered by counter-terrorism detectives.Thirty-two people have been questioned in a police operation that raises the prospect of a right-wing bombing campaign against mosques. Police are said to have recovered a British National party membership card and other right-wing literature during a raid on the home of one suspect charged under the Terrorism Act.

In England’s largest seizure of a suspected terrorist arsenal since the IRA mainland bombings of the early 1990s, rocket launchers, grenades, pipe bombs and dozens of firearms have been recovered in the past six weeks during raids on more than 20 properties. Several people have been charged and more arrests are imminent. Current police activity is linked to arrests in Europe, New Zealand and Australia.

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Terrorism Reexamined

(New Press, 2008)

C. S. Soong is one of the best radio interviewers, erudite and articulate, and on his show Against the Grain you will always find some of the most stimulating discussions on politics, philosophy, literature and activism.

Terrorists, we are told, threaten our freedom and democracy. What does this kind of rhetoric ignore, and what kind of governmental violence does it justify? Matthew Carr calls attention to a tradition, beginning in the 19th century, of using violence against symbolic targets to achieve a political victory. He also discusses the Mau Mau in Kenya and the counterterrorism initiatives of the Reagan era.

Matthew Carr, The Infernal Machine: A History of Terrorism The New Press, 2008

Suicide Bombers and their Families

681686_02Amira Hass speaking at the University of California, Berkeley, in October 2003, on suicide bombers and their families.

Hass has gained a deep understanding of the phenomenon of suicide bombing and explains her intriguing findings; such as that often families of would-be bombers alert the police themselves, jail being preferable to the death of a loved one.

Suicide Bombers and their Families (58:04): MP3


This counter-terror plan is in ruins. Try one that works

Seumas Milne writes that “ministers want Muslims to accept shared values. Luckily they already do, including opposition to wars of aggression.”

The British government’s brand new counter-terrorism strategy is already in disarray – and ministers have only themselves to blame. The souped-up plan to fight al-Qaida, confound dirty bombers, halt suicide attacks and confront “extremism” in the country’s Muslim community was unveiled by the prime minister with much fanfare on Tuesday. But even before the 175-page “Contest 2” document had been launched, the credibility of its promise to engage with the Muslim mainstream had been thrown into question by the decision of Hazel Blears, the communities secretary, to cut all links with the Muslim Council of Britain.

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Pakistan’s drift into the hands of extremists

‘The intention of the attack on Sri Lanka’s cricket team was to send a clear message to Washington: Pakistan is ungovernable,’ writes Tariq Ali.

The appalling terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers in Pakistan had one aim: to demonstrate to Washington that the country is ungovernable. This is the first time that cricketers have been targeted in a land where the sport is akin to religion. It marks the death of international cricket in Pakistan for the indefinite future, but not just that, which is bad enough. The country’s future is looking more and more precarious. We do not know which particular group carried out this attack, but its identity is hardly relevant. The fact is that it took place at a time when three interrelated events had angered a large bulk of the country and provided succour to extremist groups and their patrons.

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