Islam,  Society,  Terrorism

Yet more London

I came across an interesting column in the Times of London, specifically The act of small-time losers by Anatole Kaletsky. Similar in some ways to my earlier thoughts on the matter, different in others. Specifically

In this sense, the most useful analogue for last week’s outrage in London may not be September 11 or even the bombing of Madrid last year, but the worst act of terrorism in postwar Western history before September 11: the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people in 1995. Timothy McVeigh, the perpetrator, was, like the London bombers, a small-time loser who felt he was acting out of intense ideological and religious motives. He was a fervent white supremacist and belonged to an extensive network of neo-Nazi fanatics who are generally believed to number many thousands across the US. His commitment to an essentially religious doctrine — that a global Jewish conspiracy, using African-Americans as their subhuman foot-soldiers, was taking over the world and preparing to exterminate or enslave all white Christians — was every bit as sincere as the faith and “piety” of many jihadist terrorists.

It certainly did not occur to anyone after the Oklahoma bombing to apologise for the racial desegregation which had provoked the American neo-Nazis and their ideological antecedents, the Ku Klux Klan. Nobody suggested abolishing affirmative action or banning Jews from public office on the grounds that racial mixing and the prominence of Jews was angering white supremacists and acting as “a recruiting sergeant” for more neo-Nazi terrorists who might copy McVeigh.

Should the political sensitivities and religious aspirations of jihadist killers be treated with any greater respect? The answer is clearly, no.


Just as conservative America totally isolated the white supremacists and neo-Nazis after the bombings in Oklahoma, the rational Muslim community in Britain must be forced to reject completely the small minority of Wahhabi fanatics who boast that they “love death”. Only then can there be any hope of restoring respect for human life in the Islamic community and reducing the concept of martyrdom to what it really amounts to: a sad, lonely and utterly futile suicide.

While the entire column is well worth reading I do object to a few points. The final paragraph can easily be taken to mean that white supemacists and neo-Nazis were an integral part of conservatism in America, which hasn’t been true in my lifetime (outside of Mississippi I suppose). The second point is that it ignores the proportions and locations.

The Wahhabi fanatics are part of the Muslim community in Britain, probably a very small percentage. For a round number, call it one percent. Compare that to the percentage of neo-nazis in the white community, where I would imagine it is less than one percent of one percent. Also, from what I’ve read British Muslims are concentrated in cities where the intimidation power of a commited minority is likely to be greater. The likely “conservative white” (to follow Kaletsky’s logic) supporters were more suburban and rural where I would imagine the power of a commited minority is lessened by distance.

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