Text size

On the day it was Britain's turn to fall victim to Al-Qaida, and fears rose regarding incitement and retribution against its Muslim citizens, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that the vast majority of Muslims were decent citizens who were appalled by terror just like other citizens. This is certainly true; nevertheless, it is difficult to ignore the fact that Britain, with close to 2 million Muslim residents (around 800,000 in London itself), is a breeding ground for Al-Qaida terror, perhaps more so than any other European country.

The next day, The New York Times carried an article by Peter Bergen of the New America Foundation in which he outlined Britain's "contribution" to the Al-Qaida terror squads. Some are well-known to Israelis, primarily the two men who carried out the murderous attack at Mike's Place in Tel Aviv, the terrorist who attempted to blow up an airplane using explosive concealed in the soles of his shoes, and the one who planned the murder of Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl. The writer quotes an official report that says some 10,000-15,000 British Muslims support Al-Qaida. Around 10,000 participated in 2003 in a conference staged by Hizb A-Tahrir, considered a radical organization.

This is all happening in one of the most liberal countries when it comes to the treatment of minorities. The economic and social standing of many of Britain's Muslims is indeed inferior to that of the veteran population, but the economic-social issue is not the main factor behind the Islamic terror mind-set. Lest we forget what really lies behind it, we should review the new study by Yoram Schweitzer and Sari Goldstein Ferber, "Al-Qaida and the Globalization of Suicide Terrorism," (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies).

"From its outset, Al-Qaida's principal objective was and still is to establish throughout the world regimes that will function in keeping with Islamic religious law, first in the Arab states and the leading Islamic countries - for example, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia and others. In addition, it sought to establish independent Islamic autonomies in countries that have large Islamic minorities - for example, in Southeast Asia, in the Philippines and Thailand ...

"Putting this plan into practice was designed to lead in the end to the establishment of a central Islamic force, in the form of powerful Islamic caliphates, which would return Islam to its superior status of the past," the study's authors wrote.

And how would this objective be achieved? "Al-Qaida has made self-sacrifice the jewel in the crown of the global jihad, the leading organizational value, and its trademark."

On the backdrop of the ideology and reality of Islamic terror, the solutions sometimes recommended by the bleeding hearts do not appear to strike the mark - not the war on poverty (the really poor countries - in sub-Saharan Africa, for example - are not "suppliers" of global terror, which is definitely an Islamic monopoly); not democratization (to the contrary, the permissiveness that accompanies democratization and liberalization will intensify the fundamentalism); and not an end to the conflicts in the Middle East (rather, the establishment of Islamic regimes in the spirit of Al-Qaida around the world and Hamas in Palestine).

What is truly needed to weaken Islamic terror, alongside an uncompromising war against it, is a decision by the sane majority among Muslims everywhere to denounce and rid themselves of the terrorists. But beyond the condemnations of the terror, the Islamic establishment there, as in Israel, wasn't very moved by the attacks. For example, not a single Muslim religious leader has yet to issue a fatwa against Osama bin-Laden and the leaders of his gangs.

On the other hand, in response to the events in London, Hizb a-Tahrir promised that members of the organization would continue to further its objectives, and rumors around the mosques accused the British intelligence services of being responsible for the attacks.

Over and above his praise for the British Muslims' reservations regarding terror, Blair must openly demand that their communal leaders stand at the forefront of the struggle against the Al-Qaida criminal organization. And as someone who is now assuming the status of an international leader with designs on making peace in the Middle East, he must not forget Islamic Jihad and Hamas, whose modus operandi was demonstrated last week to Britons on Bus No. 30 and the underground trains.