Tag Archive for 'terrorism'

Forced marriages cause terrorism?

I’ve not heard yet heard a convincing explanation as to what causes young Muslim men, apparently integrated into British society, to become terrorist nut jobs. But no suggestion I’ve seen has been as bizarre as this one from Hassan Butt.

“A lot of the guys I know actually have become radicalized or initially took the first steps … as a result of them being … forced to marry someone they don’t want to marry,” Butt told CBS.
Their refusal to submit to their parents’ traditions, he noted, drove them toward radical preachers.
He said that the mastermind of London bombings was himself a victim of a forced marriage.

Source: British Muslim Renounces Violence [IslamOnline.net]

Is he serious? As a self-confessed reformed terrorist sympathiser I suppose he has some credibility in coming up with a hypothesis but it does seem rather surreal to me.

On the other hand, I can see the logic in his argument: many immigrant Muslim parents attempt to impose traditions on their children that are at best, cultural and at worst, anti-Islamic, in the name of Islam. When those children rebel, it’s inevitable that they would, at least temporarily, reach for the other extreme. I would have expected that extreme to be Hizb-ut-Tahrir, rather than Al Qaeda, but I guess in some cases they might actually get pushed that far.

The overall picture is almost certainly more complicated than the simple line of argument Butt is quoted as presenting. Nevertheless it may be a line of investigation worthy of scholarship.

The positive aspect of this story, however, is that Butt does appear to have grown up and renounced violence. In doing so he demonstrates that at least some of those nutters are actually capable of finding some sense. I suppose that gives us a small glimmer of hope.

Foreign Policy, Muslim leaders and that letter

A few weeks ago there was a bit of a brouhaha over prominent Muslim politicians’ letter to the Prime Minister (rightly) bemoaning British foreign policy and clumsily linking it to the threat of terrorism against the UK today. The political and media response was entirely predictable, and correct in the central point (i.e. that foreign policy should not be surrendered to terrorists). At the time I did feel a desire to write an article giving them a wrap on the knuckles for being so politically naïve, though managed to restrain myself. Nevertheless, I did say to myself that I would write an analytical piece about it, in the fullness of time [sic].

under|progress has, however, beaten me to it, with a very well argued essay, Policy, profiling, poverty. A very well recommended read for everyone. Here’s a snippet:

For too many people the explanation of terrorism in Britain stops at this point about foreign policy. That is, the foreign policy is a shambles and therefore we can expect some kind of response from would-be defenders of the people who suffer from Blair’s delusions of grandeur. But the argument fails, or is higly limited, on several points. It does not offer a ‘root cause’ explanation. As far as I am aware, no Iraqi or Afghan has decided to attack Britain for its role in the two invasions and subsequent occupations (instead some living Britain have made there way to Iraq to fight). Only, by and large, British-born, English-speaking Muslims. The simplest refutation of the foreign policy argument is that, despite anger Blair’s foreign objectives, there are Muslims who do not engage in such acts of violence. Is their anger or concern any less than those who take to bombing tubes and buses? Further, such an explanation is actually an insult to Muslims who don’t feel the need to engage in such acts or find such actions against their religio-moral principles. This explanation says Muslims are unable to rationally deal with the situation and that their only response is bound to be a violent one. This is, plainly speaking, rubbish.

Quite right! (Even if he failed to spell check it before hitting publish! :-) )

Whoever he is, he’s going on the blogroll.

Lebanon – Emergency Demo today

Most of you who know me will know that demonstrations are not really my cup of tea. I don’t generally find them a productive use of time. On top of that they normally attract the sort of ‘hard’ socialists with whom I can often find very little in common.

Nevertheless I have been appalled not only by the scale of Israeli state terrorism perpetrated against the people of Lebanon but much more so by our government’s complicity in these war crimes. Specifically, diplomatic support, supply of arms, and passage provided to US air transport of munitions. I am not prepared for these to go on in my name and it is very difficult to see what writing to MP is going to do.

So, God-willing, I shall be taking part in today’s emergency Stop the War demonstration. (Meeting at 12 noon, Hyde Park Speakers Corner, to march to Parliament Square.) If, like me, you feel that you cannot allow our government to continue acting, as it has, in our names, then I urge you to come too. If you can’t make it then at least sign the letter to Tony Blair or do something else constructive to show your opposition.Incidentally I am curious that permission has been granted for a demonstration in Parliament Square, given the problems protestors have faced recently with the Serious, Organised Crime & Police Act (SOCPA), most notably Brian Haw. Events could be “interesting” and so I’m tempted to dust off the covers to my hitherto-underutilised camcorder. Perhaps the day may also my first ever YouTube contribution!

Of course Parliament Square has, in recent years, become more difficult to protest in even before SOCPA. I remember when I was President of Imperial College Union, we received legal counsel advising against holding a demonstration in Parliament Square. Since the establishment of the Greater London Authority, the Square has been the responsibility of the Mayor, whose policy has been to promote Trafalgar Square for all public events. I guess the move to Parliment Square may reflect the success of the Mayor’s strategy in that there is so much cultural activity now going on in Trafalgar Square that there is now no space for political protests there. In any case I am glad we are going to Parliament Square. Trafalgar Square is nice (especially now that the Northern part has been pedestrianised) but it is a cultural centre, not a political one. Political protest in London rightly belongs in the vicinity of Parliament.