- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 27, 2005

More than a month has passed, but Londoners won’t forget. “You’ll never forget 9/11, we’ll never forget this” said a British doctor to an American journalist after the July 7 London terror attacks, which claimed 52 lives and injured 700. Indeed, if such future atrocities are to be prevented, people in the West must learn some tough lessons.

After September 11, 2001, Americans came to believe that terrorism was practiced by extremists from “over there” (Middle East) against innocents “over here.” London, July 7, shattered this assumption. First, since the attacks were carried out by British suicide bombers against other British citizens, July 7 conflated the “here” and the “there.”

Suddenly, a part of the September 11 Commission Report rang truer than ever: “September 11 has taught us that terrorism against American interests ‘over there’ should be regarded just as we regard terrorism against America ‘over here.’ In this same sense, the American homeland is the planet.”

Second, the attacks underscored the chilling fact there were those living among us “here,” in the West, who considered indiscriminate murder of civilians an acceptable tactic.

These Islamist jihadis must be stopped by any means before they harm innocent people. This involves pre-emptively killing terrorists, infiltrating terrorist cells, scrutinizing Islamic charities to identify those who aid terror groups and shutting down mosques used to incite jihad.

Understandable human-rights concerns over Britain’s new tough deportation policy aimed at Islamist “radical fringe” must yield to the realization Britain now is in a post-July 7 world. As Prime Minister Tony Blair said, “The circumstances of our national security have self-evidently changed.”

To effectively reduce the terrorist threat, this approach must be complemented by a political strategy aimed at moderate Muslims who reject terrorist violence. It falls onto their shoulders to identify those who sympathize with the jihadis and to stop them supporting terrorism and to cooperate with authorities in stopping the terrorists who live alongside them.

For moderate Muslims to say “not in our name” (as many have done since July 7) is crucial. Muslim political, community and religious leaders around the world must communicate this message.

The good news is an international consensus is finally emerging on the unacceptability of terrorist violence. The High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, tasked by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan with United Nations reform proposals, said in its December report, “Terrorism is never an acceptable tactic, even for the most defensible causes.”

The report specifically rejected the frequent justification as a struggle against occupiers (e.g., Palestinian “resistance” of Israeli occupation): “There is nothing in the fact of occupation that justifies the … killing of civilians.”

Islamist terrorism is a problem for Muslims to solve. Leaders of Western countries must urge moderate Islamic leaders, politicians and ordinary Muslim citizens to use this new international anti-terrorist stance as a starting point for a campaign to strip terrorism of the legitimacy it continues enjoying in parts of their communities and to stop those who support or take part in terrorist violence.

Specifically, we must make clear to moderate Muslims they have the biggest stake in the war on terror:

• First, they must prevent the use of Islam for terrorism by such as Osama bin Laden.

• Second, they must heed the lessons of today’s Iraq where foreign terrorists, led by Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, daily kill Muslim and Western civilians alike.

Moderate Muslims of the world are well-advised to remember Pastor Martin Niemoeller, who wrote of Nazi Germany in the late 1930s: “First they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

The war on terrorism will pro-gress when moderate Muslims understand their stake in this campaign’s success. The West must help them to understand that stake.


Senior political analyst

Americans for Informed


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