Thursday, August 10, 2006

Second guessing terrorists

Today's events have invited debate once more on the motives of the people who seek to perpetrate acts of extreme violence on Britain and America. Some right-wing blogs are quick to laud George W Bush's comments that these people are Islamic Fascists. And while it's difficult to disagree, it would be naive not to recognise that it is not religion alone which motivates terrorists groups.

It is often difficult to accept the comments of politicians who apparently seek to excuse Muslim extremists. Often MPs appear on television and attempt to appease fraught situations with words like, "these are not real Muslims" or "they do not act in the name of Islam". But why must we assume they are not? If a video suicide note is left by a bomber proclaiming he has acted in the name of Allah, then why should we seek to dress it up as something else?

Similarly, if the video diary left behind states, as Mohammed Sidique Khan's did, that his act was a response to British and American foreign policy, why would we assume that it is anything else which drives them? Professor Robert Pape, of the University of Chicago, speaking on Channel Four News this evening explained that many of the suicide bombings of the last 25 years cannot be easily explained away by reference to religious fervour.

We must be willing to see the whole picture. It is a mistake to assume that every terrorist is a wild-eyed primitive bereft of reason and without political convictions. Religious influence and privilege should beaten down wherever it lurks, but we cannot simply explain away attacks on Britain as a clash of civilisations by those who 'hate' freedom.

Off to get an update from Newsnight.


At 8:35 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's been almost a week now..... are you well??

At 8:41 pm , Blogger Finnieston Crane said...

Fear not, faithful viewer! I was out of away at the weekend and will be away this Friday to Monday.

I'll try and get back posting next week.


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