The double-decker buses of London and the subways of Paris, as well as the covered markets of Riyadh, Bali and Cairo, will never be secure as long as the Muslim village and elders do not take on, delegitimize, condemn and isolate the extremists in their midst.
Since I’m not a Hobbesian, I’m attracted to his "cultural" solution (which of course must be coupled with the most effective security measures possible, and continued vigorous prosecution of the GWOT). The question he doesn’t answer is how we "persuade" the Muslim leadership to condemn the jihadists.
Here is an account of the response offered by leaders of the British Muslim community, which is described in
Update: I was reminded of this smart piece, written last year.
Update #2: Powerline (naturally) has lots more, including this article about Islamist networks in the U.K., this one on radical Islamic preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri, who formerly led the Finsbury Park mosque that is widely regarded as the center of Islamicist radicalism in Great Britain, and these two columns by Christopher Hitchens, both of which are so full of choice nuggets that I dare not provide excerpts. But this quote from another article is worth highlighting:
We assume that Tony Blair has been with us on Iraq, and Britain has a robust counterterrorism strategy. But the British have a notoriously liberal perspective in interpreting laws on monitoring their radical Islamist elements," a terrorism expert, Ilan Berman of the American Foreign Policy Council, said yesterday.
Tom Cerber reminds me that the analyses published today have been around for awhile. Osama bin Laden is the Colonel Sanders of Islamic terrorism: even if he were killed or captured, his franchisees would continue doing their bloody business. Cerber notes the risk in a strategy aimed at eliminating the franchisees:
The danger to this newer strategy is that it would likely entail widening the net of operations, jeopardizing the other dimension of the fight against al-Qaeda: the propaganda war that it’s a war against extremism, not against Islam. Going after mid-level operatives is still a matter of going after extremists. However, by going after a larger group - and one further embedded in Muslim societies - one necessarily makes it more difficult to signal to the Islamic world that one is simply going after extremists.
Permit me this analogy: attacking bin Laden is like hunting sharks with harpoon guns. Hunting mid-level operatives is more like hunting smaller fish with nets. The danger with nets is that you also catch “innocent” fish like dolphin.
It is only when you start thinking about what we are not getting from leaders of British Muslims, and indeed Muslim religious leadership throughout the world, that you start to see how much needs doing. The moderates are not pressed hard for anything more than a general condemnation of the extremists.
When did you last hear criticisms of named extremist groups and organisations by Muslim leaders, or support for their expulsion, imprisonment or extradition? How often do you see fatwas issued against suicide bombers and other terrorists, or statements by learned men declaring that people who commit such deeds will go to hell?
When do Muslim leaders and congregations insist that a particular imam leave his mosque because of the poison that he disseminates every Friday? When did a British Muslim last go after a Muslim who advocates or practises violence with anything like the zeal with which so many went after Salman Rushdie?
Why is not more stigma attached to the Muslims who are murdering other Muslims every day in Iraq and the Middle East?
What communal protection is offered to those Muslims who really are brave and confront Islamist violence, or the poor treatment of women, or call for democracy in the Middle East? How much do mainstream political parties with Muslim councillors and candidates really insist on their religious moderation and co-opt them to extrude the bad people lurking within their communities?
I understand and accept that there are many moderates among British Muslims, but I want to know why Britain gets so pitifully little to show for their moderation.