Britain must fight fire with fire
When news of last month’s terrorist attack in Manchester first broke, I experienced feelings of sorrow. England, where I have a country home, has always held a special place in my heart. But since soulless fiends murdered innocent people out enjoying a lovely summer’s evening in London, my sorrow has turned to rage.
Eyewitnesses say the killers shouted “this is for Allah” during their indiscriminate stabbing rampage. One woman was stabbed up to 14 times. I do not know which god they worship or religion they follow. I do know it is not mine. They are cultish blasphemers hiding under Islam when their deity is death.
The Holy Qur’an forbids the killing of women and children even during war and states that the killing of one innocent person is like killing all of humanity. These sick individuals are not only robbing human life all over the world, they are waging war against everything my tolerant, peaceful faith, the religion of Islam, stands for.
Prime Minister Theresa May said “enough is enough.” She has finally admitted that the UK has been too tolerant of extremism. What took her so long to reach that conclusion? It is one that I came to many years ago when Daesh was touting for followers in the center of London under the eyes of the police and its flags were seen fluttering over one of the capital’s suburbs.
In December 2014, I wrote in an article headed “The UK, an extremist’s utopia” that evidence is pointing to Britain becoming a safe haven for terrorist organizations. I went on to cite the “Trojan Horse” scandal, where state-run schools in Bradford were found pursuing an extremist agenda, and the freedom given to Al-Muhajiroun, whose radical leader Anjem Choudary was recruiting for Daesh.
It amazes me that one of the London attackers, Khuram Butt, was a Choudary sympathizer who had been on the radar of MI5, the security service, since 2015. Another had been flagged by Italy. The killer who murdered four people last March in Westminster had also been investigated by MI5 only to be written off as harmless.
There seems to be a pattern here. What is the point of tracking suspects when they are free to embark on bloody rampages at will? It is a similar story in France and Belgium.
Britain has even put out a welcome mat for the Muslim Brotherhood. When I read a message on the website of the Home Office, or Ministry of Interior, actually inviting “high profile or politically active” Brotherhood members to apply for asylum in the UK, I was incredulous. The father of the terrorists’ ideology was one of the Brotherhood’s own leading lights, Sayyid Qutb.
The UK’s politically correct culture has gone to ridiculous extremes. The police hesitated to arrest Pakistani gangs that were sexually abusing 1,400 children in the town of Rotherham because “of not wanting to rock the multicultural community boat,” as one member of Parliament quoted by Forbes magazine explained. This is utter madness. It is nothing short of appeasement. It is beyond my comprehension why it took three attacks in less than three months for Britain’s government to open its eyes.
British passport holders currently being monitored for radical extremism should be locked up in detention camps, preferably sited on an uninhabited island.
Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor
Stripped down to its bare bones, the situation now is this: Britain has to deal with a ruthless enemy within. According to a recent report in the Daily Mail, “MI5 struggles to deal with 500 live terrorism probes at any time and has foiled five plots in the past two months.” Britain’s newspapers have been warning of a wave of jihadist returnees from Syria and Iraq where Daesh’s enclaves are being pummeled.
The security services are currently monitoring 23,000 terrorist suspects, including hundreds who returned home from Syria.
There are only around 124,000 full-time police officers in the entire country. They are not all on duty at the same time. How can they be expected to secure every single soft target from an assault? Most are unarmed. The contingent of specially trained counterterrorism police is relatively small.
Prime Minster May seems to think regulating the Internet — by coopting social media providers to assist governments in decrypting suspect messages, and taking down sites where extremists disseminate their ideology and plot terrorist acts — is the answer. That is an important step, but it is long-term and dedicated mass murderers will always find alternative methods of communication.
I strongly believe that No. 10 Downing St. should take another more effective approach bearing in mind that the first human right is the right to life. The right to life of peaceful citizens should always come before any rights claimed by people who are on the path to hell.
Realistically, 23,000 suspected plotters and haters cannot be watched 24 hours a day and their encrypted messages cannot be deciphered. In this case, there is only one solution that would save lives.
British passport holders currently being monitored should be locked up in detention camps, preferably sited on an uninhabited island. In fact, one of Scotland Yard’s assistant commissioners has called for radical extremists to be interned. Good idea. Lock them up and throw away the key.
Others with dual nationality and non-Britons should be immediately deported without any right of appeal, their files transmitted to their home countries to enable officials to deal with them as they see fit.
The UK and other targeted European states should stop doling out passports to all and sundry. So many recipients are without any loyalty to the country. So many second- and third-generation Britons, French and Belgians have viciously turned against the land which gave their grateful parents or grandparents sanctuary from war or poverty. The practice of giving nationality to babies of foreign parents who happen to be born on UK soil should also be stopped.
Moreover, Britain, the EU and the US should resolve to get tough on states such as Iran and Qatar, known to have funded or armed terrorist or extremist organizations; their assets should be frozen. Countries that willfully turn a blind eye because they hunger for foreign investment are complicit by default and should be held to account by their people.
I was caught by surprise when the Eiffel Tower went dark following the attacks on Tehran’s Parliament and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s mausoleum. The capital “stands in solidarity” with Iran, tweeted the mayor of Paris. Of course, all our hearts go out to the victims of terrorism no matter their nationality, but is this not a stretch too far?
Is the mayor not aware that Tehran is the biggest state sponsor of terrorism and has abetted the Bashar Assad regime in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Syrians? The image of the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani basking in a royal welcome at the Elysée Palace while bearing a lucrative shopping list still rankles with me.
To be frank, I have doubts about the entire incident. Strangely Iran’s lawmakers continued their session amid the backdrop of gunfire; strange that the media was forbidden to take photographs of the presumably damaged shrine.
The attackers were allegedly Iranian. Daesh opportunistically claimed responsibility. Yet Iran was quick to blame its nemesis Saudi Arabia without any shred of proof. The timing was very convenient.
I would not be surprised if this was a false-flag operation organized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to fool the international community into believing Iran is a target rather than a state which funds, arms or cooperates with a host of terror organizations, including Daesh and Al-Qaeda.
Analysts are always opining on where all their hatred comes from. At this point, that is nothing but a workout for the brain. When someone has cancer, their doctors do not spend months or years debating what caused the disease; they work to cure it.
Britain’s leadership should shrug off the old ways of thinking. The UK must face up to the painful reality that the country confronts the greatest emergency since World War II. At least the Nazis were separated by the Channel, not hiding in every town and city biding their time.
I salute the people of Manchester and London for their spirit of defiance and unity. I salute London’s police force for its rapid response to the unfolding tragedy, the first responders who risked their own lives to help the injured, and I admire the heroic deeds of so many ordinary people who surely wanted to run from danger, but instead stopped to give comfort to the dying. These are the heroes and they deserve a decisive response from their government so that they and their compatriots never have to suffer such trauma again.
Attitudes need to be changed, the politically correct culture railroaded, and human rights laws revised. Until the cure is as radical as the disease, there will be many more messages of condolence, many more minutes of silence and many more flower-laden graves.
• Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor is a prominent UAE businessman and public figure. He is renowned for his views on international political affairs, his philanthropic activity and his efforts to promote peace. He has long acted as an unofficial ambassador for his country abroad.