Two Million Extremists

February 18, 2009

The Guardian has details of the code from a new anti terror strategy being proposed in Government referred to as Contest 2. According to the draft anyone holding the following views would be regarded as an extremist:

• They advocate a caliphate, a pan-Islamic state encompassing many countries.

• They promote Sharia law.

• They believe in jihad, or armed resistance, anywhere in the world. This would include armed resistance by Palestinians against the Israeli military.

• They argue that Islam bans homosexuality and that it is a sin against Allah.

• They fail to condemn the killing of British soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan.

If this is adopted and becomes policy, the Government will have 2 million Muslim extremists on its hands in this country and perhaps many non Muslims as well.

Most of the above are thought crimes and some are directly contrary to the fundamental beliefs of Islam that Muslims hold. For example, Islam says that homosexuality is a sin – and every Muslim is aware of this. But the vast majority of Muslims living in this country do not discriminate against homosexuals or treat them any differently to anyone else. If they do then legislation is in place to prosecute them.

Most Muslims happily accept that they are living in a liberal democracy and a secular society where there is no state religion which everyone has to adhere to. Most simply do not care what a person does behind closed doors in the privacy of his home and how he chooses to live his life. Muslims view homosexuality being a sin in the the same way they view other sins such as people living together as an unmarried couple or having a child out of wedlock or drinking alcohol or eating pork. Why not add these to the list of extremists beliefs as well?

If promoting Sharia is an act of an extremist then the Government should go in the dock first. It has facilitated the introduction of Sharia based financial products now readily available from mainstream banks, permitted halal meat in schools, hospitals and elsewhere, given permission for Mosques and madressas to be built, funded Muslim only organisations, allowed and funded Muslim schools etc etc etc. All Muslims are promoting Sharia Law when they worship, follow moral guidance, marry in accordance with Islamic rules, fast in Ramadan, give charity and go on pilgrimage. This list is endless and shows how little thought has been given to the definition of Sharia Law.

The failure to condemn the killing of British soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan would also lead to extremism. A million people marched against the war in Iraq and there were many who saw that as a war of aggression and occupation where people had a right to self defence and refused to condemn people who they thought were fighting in self defence who subsequently killed coalition soldiers. I suspect many non Muslims would get in trouble under this category too but is non condemnation sufficient justification to make someone an extremist? And how do you police this – would there be a register which people signed to condemn the killings of our soldiers and if you didn’t you’d be an extremist? What should be an offence is any celebration of the killing of any British soldier killed anywhere in combat regardless of whether a person agrees with the political decision to go to war or engage in combat.

The craziest one of all is this definition: ‘They believe in jihad, or armed resistance, anywhere in the world. This would include armed resistance by Palestinians against the Israeli military.’

Jihad is a fundamental belief in Islam. A Muslim state is given permission by Islam to defend itself against an aggressor or be aggressive where it fears an imminent attack. This is similar to the Just War Theory developed in Christianity. To say that anyone who believes this is an extremist is to hold an extremist view! It would be better to say that anyone who plans and engages in violent acts of terror and kills innocent people is an extremist regardless of whether he believes that he is engaged in Jihad.

Advocating a caliphate, a pan-Islamic state encompassing many countries is not a crime. Actively pursuing it and engaging in acts of terror to achieve this would be. Advocating a Caliphate state in the UK is an oxymoron.  When the population of Muslims in a country is 7% advocating a Caliphate is a call that isn’t even worth responding to, let alone giving it such significance that it makes someone an extremist.

As mentioned here and here, the Government seems to have no idea what it is doing in its strategy in dealing with radicalisation and extremism in this country. The Contest 2 seems consistent with its previous actions.

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Mumbai Attacks and the Islamist Ideology

November 29, 2008

Interesting to note that the Mumbai terrorists did not make any formal demands or request any ransom despite holding foreign hostages and having the world’s attention focused on their actions. With the exception of one offer to release hostages in return for the release of ‘mujahideen’ held in India’s jails made to an Indian TV station, no specific demand or coordinated request appears to have been made. Here was an opportunity for the terrorists to list their grievances possibly live on air to an international TV Channel and highlight their concerns which was not taken up. There was no mention of Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan or the suffering of Muslims in India. Instead they held some hostages preferring UK, US and Israeli nationals and continued battling against the Indian Forces.

Do the terrorists have any demands or is what they desire non-negotiable and only satisfied once their power hungry and murderous ideology is in power?  The goal of the Mumbai terrorists was to simply kill as many people as possible, fight until their ‘martyrdom’ and gain as much publicity and political capital among other Islamists around the world as possible. They had no wish to negotiate, or desire to live. Their aim was to send a message of fear, whether that was economic, social or religious to India and the rest of the world – do as the Islamists demand or else. And it matters not whether you are a Muslim and hold similar religious beliefs, they will kill indiscriminately to get their political message across.

The Islamist ideology’s oxygen is its terror and hatred. It seeks to attract sufficient Muslims to its cause to enable it to strike anywhere in the world.  It seeks for its young and often vulnerable recruits newer and more rewarding and satisfying methods of battle. Trivial demands and ransoms are irrelevant when compared to martyrdom and the desire of Islamist global domination. The Islamists seek a total surrender to their political beliefs and nothing else will suffice and that is why anyone who thinks that negotiations with these people will lead to peace is deluded.

The warped notion of the terrorists that they are soldiers of a religious army battling against soldiers of a non-Islamic force and engaged in Jihad is satisfied by engaging in the Mumbai type of attack especially when compared to suicide missions. This is more honourable and overcomes the prohibition against committing suicide in Islam and undoubtedly gives the Islamists a larger base of potential recruits – what more could Islamists use as recruitment propaganda than death at the hands of a ‘Kuffar’ soldier?

The Mumbai attack could easily be replicated elsewhere by terrorists living locally who would know their area well. All Intelligence Agencies need to improve their intelligence gathering and learn how to prevent such an attack; and all Governments need to combat the global Islamist ideology whose goal is to kill as many people as possible in the hope that democratically elected Governments lose the will to fight and hand over failed states such as Afghanistan and Somalia to Islamists who rule according to their own rules and who export terror and hatred to all corners of the world.  The stakes have most definitely been raised.


Mumbai Attack Updates

November 27, 2008

The siege ended on Saturday 29/11/2008 after the remaining terrorists were killed. The death toll stands at 195.

Update at 19.45pm 28/11/2008: The Taj Palace Hotel still remains unsecured with a few terrorists continuing to battle against Indian Forces. It appears that the terrorists are very well trained and equally well armed and able to take the siege into a third night.

Update at 15.10pm 28/11/2008: 155 people now being reported as killed with 327 wounded. The seige at the Jewish Centre has ended with 5 hostages and 2 terrorists reported as killed. Fighting is still ongoing at the Taj Palace Hotel. 

Update at 12.50pm 28/11/2008: UK Home Secretary Jacqui Smith says the government has no information regarding reports that some of the gunmen may have been British citizens. ‘It’s important that we make judgements on this on the basis of the fullest possible knowledge and intelligence – and that’s obviously what we are working on at the moment.’

Rumours persist of someone from the UK being involved. I suspect there is more to this story than what the official Government line is.  

Update at 10.00 am 28/11/2008: All hostages have been released at the Oberoi Hotel according to CNN. Commandos have abseiled onto the roof of the Mumbai Jewish Centre and the operation is ongoing. Another huge explosion heard at the Taj Palace Hotel.

There are rumours that one of the gunmen may have been British and a lot of finger pointing is going on at Pakistan with the Indian foreign minister saying that ‘elements with links to Pakistan’ were involved. 

Update at 16.15pm: 24 hours after the siege started and gunfire is still being heard from the three sites in Mumbai where the hostages are holed up. Not very clear what is happening due to conflicting reports and differing versions of events.

Update at 15.00pm: CNN is reporting that the death toll from the Mumbai attacks stands at 125 with 327 injured.

Update at 14.00pm: One British national among the dead in Mumbai attack according to Foreign Office. A fire has broken out at the Oberoi Hotel and there are conflicting reports on the hostage situation and whether any have been released.

It remains unclear who the Deccan Mujahideen are and whether this name is being used by an existing terror group seeking to hide its identity.

Update at 12.20pm: India’s PM Manmohan Singh has said that he will take whatever measures are necessary to track down those responsible for the Mumbai attacks. He added that the perpetrators were based outside the country and that India would not tolerate neighbours who provide a haven to militants targeting it. A bit reckless and premature to be pointing the finger at Pakistan when the siege hasn’t even ended?

Update @ 10.40am 27/11/2008 : The hostage situation is still ongoing with explosions heard at the Oberoi Hotel. The Times is reporting that the terrorists are demanding that all ‘mujahideen’ held in Indian jails are freed before they release the hostages.

All financial markets in India have been closed as well as all public places in Mumbai. My relatives have managed to get to Mumbai Central Railway station and are on their way home after a delay of 90 minutes.

Update @ 22.30pm 26/11/2008: It is being reported that there are three separate hostage situations the authorities are dealing with.

Update @ 22.50pm 26/11/2008: Up to 50 people have been rescued from the fire at the Taj Palace Hotel. Gunfire continuing to be heard at the Oberoi Hotel.

Update @ 22.25pm 26/11/2008: The Taj Palace Hotel is on fire and a group calling itself the ‘Deccan Mujahideen’ has claimed responsibility for the attacks. (A group calling itself ‘Indian Mujahideen’ claimed responsibility for the attacks in Ahmedabad in July 2008)

My relatives in Mumbai have twice had the vehicle they were travelling in stopped and searched by Police before being allowed to move on.


Mumbai Attack

November 26, 2008

At least 78 101 people have been killed and 250 have been injured in multiple shootings across Mumbai by terrorists. CNN is reporting that hostages including western tourists have been taken at the Taj Palace Hotel and the Oberoi Hotel. The army has been called in to deal with the terrorists holed up in several locations.  Three very senior police officers including the head of Mumbai’s anti-terrorism unit have been killed.

I have had contact with relatives who are currently in Mumbai who inform me that the situation is very tense.

The attack appears extremely well coordinated with eight ten sites frequented by western tourists being targeted by the terrorists. More later