Sunday, July 24, 2005

Terrorists and their Grievances: The Case of British Muslims: Part Three

The "grievances" that motivate much of the anger of British Muslims center on aspects of British foreign policy. In Kashmir, Palestine, Afghanistan, and now Iraq, the British government condones, so this argument goes, the killing of Muslims. The recent London terrorist bombings can thus be seen as acts of revenge. Britain, if it wants to avoid further attacks, needs to apologize and change its foreign policy.

This whole line of argument has no merit whatsoever. Britain has almost no responsibility at all for what goes on in Kashmir and Palestine. These places are controlled by, respectively, the Indian and Israeli governments. Even if Britain wanted to intervene in these regions on the side of Muslims it couldn't. Furthermore, the two regions where Britain has intervened (Afghanistan and Iraq), the interventions were designed to serve the interests of Muslims. There's nothing pro-Muslim in leaving the poor bastards to be ruled by the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. And whatever misgivings one might have about the prudence of intervention in Iraq--and I think it was recklessly imprudent--no war launched against a tyrant can be described as unjust.

British Muslims may think they have legitimate grievances about British foreign policy. But they don't. True, the Umma is not faring well. But this is largely to do with pathologies in Arab and Muslim culture, it has next to nothing to do with Britain or its foreign policy.

There's another reason why the British government must reject appeals to apologize for or modify its foreign policy: it wouldn't do anything to deter the hardline extremists who object to Britain on the grounds of its infidel status. It's that hardline group that I wish to discuss in the next post (Part Four).

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