The think-thank Demos has published a report today titled: Bringing it Home: Community based approaches to counter-terrorism. More on it later.
Demos will claim Government actions are breeding resentment and alienation among Britainâ€™s Muslims, allowing violent extremists to gain sympathy from some quarters of the Muslim communities. Based on over twelve months of embedded research, [the report] argues that, despite some commendable attempts at engagement, the Governmentâ€™s actions continue to drive a wedge between the majority of British Muslims and the rest of society, rather than isolating the violent few.
The authors argue that without a strategic blueprint for putting community relations at the heart of security, the Government is denied a valuable resource in tackling the threat of home grown al Qaida inspired terrorism. The approach to Muslim communities called for by the report would offer a source of intelligence; support in diverting potential extremists away from violence; community level allies in seeking social justice; and an acceptance of necessary measures taken by police and other security services.
“By viewing Muslims as a single interest group the government has failed to draw a clear enough distinction between angry Muslim opinion and those that would seek to inflict violence and terror,” they say.
All of which I agree with. As I have said before, John Reid’s chest-beating and Tony Blair’s head-in-sand approach to terrorism has not made anything better. Perusing through the report, this paragraph also struck me:
First, the magnitude of September 11 and the audacity of Osama bin Laden made us lose sight of the fact that terrorism is a social and political phenomenon that needs local roots to take hold. The international network and the concept of the â€˜ummaâ€™ â€“ the global community of which every Muslim is a part â€“ are important features of al Qaida, but distant and global concerns can gain currency only when they are able to feed off local, everyday, personal grievances, such as those experienced by Muslims in the UK.
Second, the almost exclusive focus on the group â€“ its membership, infrastructure and modus operandi â€“ distracted politicians and security forces from the fact that terrorists prefer to get other people to do their work for them… In other words, when a terrorist kills, the goal is not murder itself but something else, such as a police crackdown, that will create a rift between government and society that the terrorist can then exploit for revolutionary purpose.
One of the co-authors of the report, Dr Catherine Fieschi, is also a signatory to the NGN manifesto. I hadn’t read the report before it was published, but the summary points are very similar to what I have also been saying on PP.
In an earlier article titled the Tipping Point theory applied to terrorism, I made the same point – that we cannot ignore social factors in favour of foreign policy or religion entirely.
I hope the report makes the govt re-think its rather idiotic approach so far.
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