julho 28, 2007
julho 26, 2007
Colères et mises en cause. Le mémorandum sur le nucléaire signé pa Nicolas Sarkozy pendant sa visite à Tripoli a suscité jeudi des protestation d’associations et de partis de gauche en France, qui ont critiqué un décision «irresponsable» ouvrant la voie au nucléaire militaire. «Cet accord pose un énorme problème de prolifération nucléaire et se situe dans la droite ligne de la politique française d’exportation irresponsable de sa technologie nucléaire», a estimé Greenpeace France dans un communiqué. Officiellement, la fourniture éventuelle d’un réacteur nucléaire à la Libye n’a qu’un objet strictement civil, le dessalement de l’eau de mer. Sarkozy a affirmé qu’il n’y avait «aucun lien» entre cet accord et la libération des infirmières bulgares, après laquelle il a accepté de se rendre en Libye. «De qui se moque-t-on? La motivation profonde des Etats à accéder au nucléaire a toujours été un enjeu de pouvoir», écrit Greenpeace, citant l’Inde et le Pakistan, la Corée du Nord et l’Iran ainsi que le Brésil. Le réseau d’associations Sortir du nucléaire a dénoncé un «subterfuge»: «Sous prétexte d’aider la Libye à réintégrer le concert des nations, le président français vient de signer un accord pour livrer un réacteur nucléaire au dictateur libyen Kadhafi». Selon le réseau écologiste, «nucléaire civil et militaire sont indissociables», et «livrer du nucléaire civil à la Libye reviendrait à aider ce pays à accéder tôt ou tard à l’arme atomique».
«Cynisme sans limite» de Sarkozy
Du côté de l’opposition, le Parti socialiste a demandé que «toute la lumière soit faite» sur les accords passés avec Mouammar Kadhafi. «Pourquoi autant de précipitation pour signer un protocole d’accord sur le nucléaire civil, sachant que la Libye possède d’immenses gisements de pétrole et de gaz, et que la Libye peut exploiter l’énergie solaire à grande échelle?, a déclaré un dirigeant du PS, Faouzi Lamdaoui. Le nucléaire civil peut être exploité à plus ou moins long terme pour développer des applications militaires.» Il a aussi souhaité que le chef de la diplomatie française Bernard Kouchner vienne s’exprimer devant l’Assemblée nationale sur les conditions de la libération des soignants bulgares, en notant que le ministre paraissait «singulièrement absent dans cette négociation». Mardi, le ministre des Affaires étrangères sera entendu par les députés. Un porte-parole du Quay d’Orsay a assuré pour sa part que le mémorandum signé avec la Libye n’était pas un «accord de circonstance» et respectait l’objectif de non-prolifération nucléaire. Les Verts s’en est pris au «cynisme sans limite» de Nicolas Sarkozy, l’accusant de «jouer avec le feu» en signant un accord avec un «régime non-démocratique». Pour le député vert Noël Mamère, Sarkozy «fait prendre des risques à la planète» en fournissant un réacteur nucléaire au colonel Kadhafi, «patron d’un régime terroriste». «C’est un troc tout simplement, c’est un accord passé sur le dos de la libération de ces infirmières bulgares», conclu «avec un dictateur qui avait faussement accusé ces femmes d’avoir inoculé le sida à des familles libyennes.»
julho 24, 2007
Vladimir Putin today accused Britain of insulting the Russian people with "colonial thinking" by demanding the extradition of the main suspect in the killing of the former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko. In an escalation of the war of words with Britain, the Russian president angrily dismissed attempts to force Moscow to hand over Andrei Lugovoi so he can stand trial in the UK. In televised remarks during a meeting of pro-Kremlin youth organisations, Mr Putin said: "They are making proposals to change our constitution which are insulting for our nation and our people. "It's their brains, not our constitution, which need to be changed. What they are offering to us is a clear remnant of colonial thinking." Mr Putin's belligerent comments to a domestic audience are in contrast to his statement to an international press conference last week when he played down the dispute between the two countries, describing it as a "mini-crisis". Yesterday Gordon Brown renewed his demand for Russia to extradite Mr Lugovoi, describing the situation as "intolerable". The Prime Minister insisted Russia had a "responsibility" to hand the suspect over. Mr Litvinenko, who on his deathbed accused Mr Putin of ordering his assassination, died in agony 23 days after he was poisoned by a dose of polonium-210 that was 200 times the lethal level. The murder in London last November has sparked the most severe diplomatic row between the two powers in decades. Last week the British Government expelled four Russian diplomats, prompting Mr Putin to retaliate by ejecting the same number from the UK embassy in Moscow. Speaking during his first monthly press conference as Prime Minister yesterday, Mr Brown said it was "very important" that the world understood the seriousness of the situation. He said: "You cannot have people assassinated on British soil, and then discover that we wish to arrest someone who is in another country, and not be in a position to do that. "We cannot tolerate a situation where all the evidence is that not only was one person assassinated, but many other were put at risk. "We want the Russian authorities to recognise, even at this stage, that it is their responsibility to extradite for trial the Russian citizen who has been identified by our prosecuting authorities." Russia last week also imposed a visa ban on British officials and said that it would cease to co-operate with London in the war on terrorism. But although Moscow’s response was robust, it came at the lower end of the spectrum of possible retaliation. There had been fears the Kremlin would eject a greater number of British diplomats - a move that could have forced Britain into taking additional steps. Mr Lugovoi denies any involvement in the murder, claiming that he has been set up by British secret services.
julho 23, 2007
julho 22, 2007
"Turquia: Durão Barroso adverte que Turquia não está pronta para aderir à UE tão cedo" in Jornal de Notícias, 22 de Julho de 2007
O presidente da Comissão Europeia, Durão Barroso, advertiu, em entrevista hoje publicada num jornal grego, que a Turquia não está pronta para a aderir à União Europeia, "nem amanhã, nem depois de amanhã". "Sejamos honestos. A Turquia não está pronta para ser membro da UE, nem a União está pronta para aceitar a Turquia como membro. Nem amanhã, nem depois de amanhã", afirmou Durão Barroso, em entrevista ao jornal grego Kathimerini, citada pela agência Reuters. Contudo, apesar de considerar que a Turquia não está preparada para entrar na União Europeia, o ex-primeiro-ministro português pediu aos 27 que continuem as negociações. "Gostaria de pedir que a França e todos os Estados-membros não mudem a decisão que tomámos e continuem as negociações", afirmou Durão Barroso, referindo-se ao facto de o presidente francês, Nicolas Sarkozy, se opor à entrada da Turquia na União. As declarações do ex-primeiro ministro português surgem no dia em que mais de 42 milhões de turcos foram chamados às urnas para eleições legislativas antecipadas. As projecções sobre os resultados das eleições legislativas na Turquia apontam para uma vitória do AKP, no poder, com cerca de 50 por cento dos votos, segundo a CNN turca. Quando estão contados mais 25 por cento dos boletins, as sondagens dão como vencedor o partido do primeiro-ministro Recep Tayyip Erdogan, com uma percentagem que vai dos 46.88 aos 51.3 por cento, o que lhe garante a continuidade no poder, com maioria absoluta no parlamento. As eleições legislativas, a que concorrem 14 partidos políticos e 699 candidatos independentes aos 550 lugares no Parlamento, foram antecipadas pelo primeiro-ministro Recep Tayyip Erdogan, que é também o líder do AKP, um partido de direita, liberal na economia e pró-islamista.
julho 20, 2007
julho 15, 2007
Livro: "O Islamista. Porque aderi ao Islão radical na Grã-Bretanha, o que eu vi dentro e porque o abandonei", Ed Husain, Londres, Penguin Books, 2007
Ed Husain's story of how a young London Muslim was turned into a potential jihadist, The Islamist, is a wake-up call for Britain, says Anushka Asthana
Launched in the week of the verdicts in Britain's longest terror trial, The Islamist could not be more timely. Operation Crevice revealed an underworld of young Muslim men ready to kill. Ed Husain's memoir exposes some of the mind games that led them there.
His journey from theatre-loving schoolboy to Islamic fundamentalist begins in primary school in the 1980s, where he plays with 'Jane, Lisa, Andrew, Mark, Alia, Zak' and learns about Islam from his family and a spiritual guide he called 'Grandpa'. His father, a devout Muslim opposed to Islamist views, ignores the advice of Husain's teachers not to send his son to Stepney Green, an all-boy, all-Muslim secondary school, a decision he will later regret.
Soon, Husain identifies himself not as British or Asian, only Muslim. He describes his journey towards fanaticism as gradual, first coming across Islamism in the school textbook Islam: Beliefs and Teachings by Ghulam Sarwar, which says: 'Religion and politics are one and the same in Islam.' Enticed by its teachings and encouraged by a close friend, Brother Falik, Husain becomes drawn towards Islamism and the formation of the caliphate, a transnational Islamic state with a central foreign policy of jihad.
Husain names people he says share these ideas, including members of the Muslim Council of Britain and leaders of the East London Mosque, where, for the first time, he feels he belongs. Here, he begins to believe in a divided world in which the only side that matters is the Muslims. Husain's is a disturbing picture. Attempts by his distraught parents to change his mind are a 'test from God'. When his father makes him choose between Islam and the family, Husain runs away.
By the time he attends Tower Hamlets College, he has become leader of the influential Islamic society, bringing hardline homophobic and anti-semitic speakers in to lead debates such as 'Hijab: put up or shut up'. Husain turns to the more militant Hizb ut-Tahrir: successful, articulate professionals reinforce his nascent views. He spends two years involved with a Hizb cell. Friends who disappear to training camps later become key figures in al-Qaeda.
In the end, it is Islamism's disregard for Islam itself that moves him to reject fundamentalism. 'True faith had not touched my heart in a decade,' he says.
Husain is appalled at the way unelected and unaccountable Islamist groups are portrayed by the media as representative. This captivating, and terrifyingly honest, book is his attempt to make amends for some of the wrongs he committed. In a wake-up call to monocultural Britain, it takes you into the mind of young fundamentalists, exposing places in which the old notion of being British is defunct.
julho 14, 2007
Livro: "Os Últimos Dias da Europa. Epitáfio para um Velho Continente" de Walter Laqueur, Nova Iorque, St. Martin´s Press, 2007
Recensão por Gerard Baker no Wall Street Journal
If you've heard the celebratory noises coming out of European capitals of late, you could be forgiven for thinking that, as with Mark Twain's prematurely recorded demise, reports of Europe's death may have been greatly exaggerated. For a continent in the supposed grip of demographic implosion, economic stagnation, political paralysis and existential anomie, the news has been oddly cheerful recently.
In the past year, the rate of economic growth in the eurozone has actually overtaken that of the U.S. The market capitalization of companies quoted on European stock exchanges has surpassed American corporate worth for the first time ever. London has edged ahead of New York in most categories as global financial capital. The euro, closely watched in Europe as a barometer of continental self-respect, is close to its highest level ever against the dollar.
Even Europe's infamous political stasis may be giving way to a hint of dynamism. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government has defied the odds and pulled off small but important economic reforms. In Nicolas Sarkozy, the French have elected a man so committed to recasting the country's economy that he is widely viewed among the liberal elites as a dangerous radical.
All this could not have come at a more opportune moment. The European Union's leaders are in the midst of lengthy celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the European Communities. At the same time, the gloom that enveloped the EU after the French and Dutch rejected its beloved constitutional treaty two years ago has been replaced by a restrained optimism that the show might just be put back on the road this summer.
Is it possible, then, that the writers who have spent the past few years predicting Europe's collapse could be wrong? The short answer is: no. Even a corpse has been known to twitch once or twice before the rigor mortis sets in. The longer answer is provided by Walter Laqueur in "The Last Days of Europe," one of the more persuasive in a long line of volumes by authors on both sides of the Atlantic chronicling Europe's decline and foretelling its collapse.
Unlike the Euro-bashing polemics of a few of those authors, Mr. Laqueur's short book is measured, even sympathetic. It is mercifully free of references to cheese-eating surrender monkeys and misplaced historical analogies to appeasement. The tone is one of resigned dismay rather than grave-stomping glee. This temperate quality makes the book's theme--that Europe now faces potentially mortal challenges--all the more compelling. The demographic problem is by now so familiar that it hardly bears restating. Mr. Laqueur notes that the average European family had five children in the 19th century; today it has fewer than two, a trend that will shrink the continent's population in the next century on a scale unprecedented in modern history.
The failure of Europeans to reproduce makes it vulnerable to internal schism. Too often Europe has reacted to the growing threat posed by extremists among its minorities with a tolerance and self-criticism that has bordered on capitulation. Meanwhile, social tensions increase, not least because of high emigration to Europe from Muslim countries and high birth rates among Muslim populations. No one has yet found a good way of integrating those populations into mainstream European society.
Even as the challenge from fanatical Islam has intensified, at home and abroad, Europeans have found new ways to abase themselves before it. Two years ago it was the Danish cartoons affair, in which too few politicians and opinion leaders defended the rights of the Danish newspaper that published them; last year it was the collective European cringe in the wake of the pope's mildly assertive remarks about the disconnect between Islam and reason; this year it has been the embarrassing spectacle of humiliated British servicemen fawning in front of their Iranian captors.
In the economic field, Europe is celebrating a growth rate of 2.5% annually; in the U.S. a similar pace is regarded as a crisis. Meanwhile unemployment remains brutally high and productivity stagnant. Mr. Laqueur notes that Europeans sometimes embrace their economic sluggishness as part of their "soft power" appeal: all those 35-hour weeks, long vacations and generous social benefits. But the long-term cost of their welfare states--and their confiscatory tax rates--may eventually make such luxuries unaffordable.
Mr. Laqueur ponders whether Europe will really surrender to these adverse trends or finally resist. He is not optimistic. Perhaps Europeans will find ways to bolster their birth rates. Perhaps they will stiffen in the face of an escalating terrorist threat. Perhaps Muslims will assimilate better into Europe's democratic and tolerant societies. Perhaps the pro-American sensibilities and the pro-growth nimbleness of Eastern European countries will drive the rest of the Continent out of the ditch of stagnation and pacifism. Perhaps. But then again, as Mr. Laqueur observes, museums are filled with the remnants of vanished civilizations. Abroad, the U.S. has long surpassed Europe in power, influence and economic dynamism; Asia may do so before long. At home, a profound demoralization has set in, induced in part by the continent's ruinous past century.
It was a century in which unimaginable violence sapped the regenerative energies of a wearied people; in which the seductive falsehoods of twin totalitarian ideologies undermined moral self-confidence; in which a flaccid relativism replaced the firm ethical boundaries of religious belief. It was also a century, we now see, in which the luxuries of rapid economic growth produced a false sense of security that cannot be sustained in a global age. Not dead yet, maybe. But even Mark Twain succumbed eventually to the obituary writers.
Livro: "O Crepúsculo do Ocidente. Demografia e Política" de Jean-Claude Chesnais, Paris, Robert Laffont, 1995
La grande fracture du monde n'est ni politique ni économique, elle est démographique. L'humanité, dit Jean-Claude Chesnais, est divisée en deux parties. La première regroupe les nations dont la fécondité n'atteint pas le niveau de remplacement des générations: l'ensemble de l'Europe (500 millions d'habitants), l'ex-URSS (290 millions), les pays anglo-saxons d'outre-mer (Etats-Unis, Canada, Australie, Nouvelle-Zélande, 300 millions), le Japon et quelques nations en voie d'industrialisation rapide (290 millions). Soit un peu moins de 1,4 milliard d'individus. L'autre partie, qui compte 4,3 milliards d'âmes, regroupe les pays à fécondité forte.
Tout l'ouvrage est bâti sur cette opposition, ses causes historiques, ses multiples conséquences et les moyens d'y faire face. On découvre, au fil des pages, pourquoi la baisse la plus brutale de la fécondité s'est produite dans les sociétés machistes avancées de l'Europe du Sud, où les femmes, en progression scolaire et sociale rapide, n'ont trouvé aucun cadre institutionnel (allocations familiales, crèches, etc.) qui leur permette de concilier activité professionnelle et maternité.
On constate, à travers notamment le cas de la Suède, que les politiques familiales sont parfaitement efficaces quand elles sont bien conçues. On mesure la menace de déséquilibre qui guette l'Allemagne, où la réunification n'a apporté qu'un répit temporaire: de plus en plus dépendants de l'immigration, nos voisins devront progressivement remplacer le droit du sang par le droit du sol, sous la pression de communautés allogènes avides de reconnaissance civique.
Quant à la France, elle doit dans ce domaine, dit l'auteur, renoncer aux mythes entretenus par la démagogie: non, l' immigration-zéro n'est ni possible ni souhaitable; non, l'immigration ne creuse pas les déficits publics, elle n'aggrave pas le chômage. Le vrai problème qu'elle pose est culturel: l'islam est la deuxième religion en France - comme en Italie, en Espagne, au Royaume-Uni, en Belgique. Il est temps que les pays européens apprennent à établir avec lui des relations cohérentes et constructives. Essai à thèse, fortement argumenté, en faveur d'une politique à la fois ouverte et nataliste, ce livre peut aussi figurer au rayon des ouvrages de référence comme un excellent précis de démographie mondiale. Gérard Moatti
Dans cet ouvrage, Jean-Claude Chesnais invite le lecteur à une réflexion de type spenglérien sur le déclin de l'Occident, un déclin où la démographie atone d'une "Europe stérile mais opulente et à forte protection sociale" joue la partition du premier violon. Tout au long des 10 chapitres de l'ouvrage, l'auteur effectue un vaste tour d'horizon de la récession démographique des principaux pays européens ou de peuplement européen : la France, l'Angleterre et l'Allemagne, l'Europe de l'Est et l'ex-URSS, les États-Unis, le Canada et l'Australie. Le paradoxe qui ressort de cette lecture est que ce sont aujourd'hui les vieux bastions chrétiens d'Europe du Sud, catholiques : Italie, Espagne, Portugal..., ou orthodoxes : Grèce, Serbie, Bulgarie..., où l'essoufflement démographique est le plus dramatique.
Ce sont pourtant ces pays-mêmes qui seraient dans la ligne de mire, ayant à faire face à l'islam et à son exubérance démographique laquelle, du détroit de Gibraltar à celui du Bosphore, sur l'autre rive méditerranéenne, cherche un exutoire pour ses populations en surnombre. Le chapitre 11 de l'ouvrage : "La fracture méditerranéenne et les grandes migrations de demain" est d'ailleurs consacré à ce déséquilibre qui s'impose comme l'un des principaux enjeux du troisième millénaire. D'essence démographique, ce fossé qui se creuse entre une rive et l'autre de la Méditerranée ne pourra que générer une lame de fond qui risque de faire vaciller les fragiles édifices économiques, politiques et civilisationnels de l'Occident.
julho 12, 2007
Panorama visits Blackburn in Lancashire to investigate how increased separation and segregation between Muslim Asians and whites is dividing communities. Blackburn presents a stark example of a difficult, national problem. For all the hopeful talk about "integration", "multiculturalism" and now "cohesion", the reality on the ground appears to be that Britain's Muslim Asian community and its white community have few points of contact, and that the white majority often feel they share little in common with the growing Muslim Asian minority. Of course there are hopeful exceptions, but Blackburn - where Muslim Asians on the last census made up 24% of the population and whose local council takes the issue very seriously - demonstrates clearly what the problem is. Anyone who goes to Blackburn's town centre, and takes a look around, will see that whites and Muslim Asians are sharing the shopping centre and that everyone is behaving perfectly courteously to each other. So what's the problem? Well, look a bit more carefully, and you'll see that they are both here doing their shopping - but they're not shopping together. They're nearly always shopping separately. And that's the typical pattern here.
There's very little casual, social association between whites and Muslim Asians. There's an obvious geographical separation. The risk is of separate communities, and of people breathing the same air but walking past each other. The areas originally settled in the 60s by immigrants from Pakistan and India are clearly defined. And in the other parts of town where the communities appear to be "mixed", there's little actual mixing. Ted Cantle reported to the Home Office on "parallel lives" after the riots in Burnley, Oldham, and Bradford in 2001 (there were none in Blackburn). He says of the town: "There is not just simply residential segregation, but there is separation in education, in social, cultural, faith, in virtually every aspect of their daily lives, employment too."
Blackburn's MP Jack Straw, a senior member of the government, puts it like this: "The risk is of separate communities, and of people breathing the same air but walking past each other." The problem that Panorama observes cannot be simply dismissed as "racism", although there will be racists, inevitably, on both sides. What differentiates the communities is not just skin colour but a more complex combination of race, religion, and language and culture, and these factors added together are a recipe for social separation. And the phenomenon of so-called "white flight" is one result.
Blackburn's original Pakistani and Indian immigrants came to the town seeking work in the 60s in what was then the booming cotton industry. Many of them spoke little English and they settled together in the town, buying the cheap terraced housing they could afford. So this then became an "Asian" area. And as their numbers have expanded they've become more prosperous and moved to other areas. But many whites have moved out in response. This is "white flight". As some Asians see the process, when they seek to integrate and live with whites the whites avoid them. Then, to add insult to injury, they complain that Asians don't integrate. An Asian talks about taking chocolates round to his white neighbours, who then avoid making eye contact with him. "I don't know," he says, "I find that a little odd." And Jack Straw says: "It's been striking in the last 10 months or so the number of Asian people who... have expressed resentment to me about how they feel they've been treated when they've moved into white schools, or moved into white areas."
But as some whites see it, these new Asian neighbours bring too much change to the areas they move into. I fear that my children will end up living like apartheid in South Africa. Asian Blackburn resident. Local pubs close, different food is sold in the shops, and at school many of the pupils now come from homes where the language spoken may not be English. Meanwhile more and more young Muslim women, not just in Blackburn, are wearing the veil - an issue already controversial and made even more so when Mr Straw described it last year as "visible statement of separation and of difference". A white man, living in the same area, sums up the concerns many whites feel: "We're slowly getting swallowed up, and we're losing our identity. "We should work more together," he says, "and keep the place as it is - English."
And, as Ted Cantle makes clear, separation and segregation is not just a problem for places like Blackburn."It exists as a problem, to some degree or other, throughout the country, and it may be in small pockets and neighbourhoods within larger cities like London and Birmingham and therefore not quite so evident. "It might be whole boroughs or whole cities, but to some degree or another it exists. There is some degree of separation or segregation in most towns and cities." Panorama deals openly in this programme with a topic many in both communities have been too nervous to discuss, although it's a discussion which the local council in Blackburn has itself promoted with its "100 Voices" dialogues. The prospect, otherwise, is of even greater separation. A white Blackburnian says, regretfully: "You'll end up with Muslim Asian towns, you'll end up with white British towns." An Asian Blackburnian agrees: "I fear that my children will end up living like apartheid in South Africa."
por Niall Ferguson
In the 52nd chapter of his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon posed one of the great counterfactual questions of history: If the French had failed to defeat an invading Muslim army at the Battle of Poitiers in AD 732, would all of Western Europe have succumbed to Islam?
“Perhaps,” speculated Gibbon with his inimitable irony, “the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet.”
When those words were published in 1788, the idea of a Muslim Oxford could scarcely have seemed more fanciful. The last Muslim forces had been driven from Spain in 1492; the Ottoman advance through Eastern Europe had been decisively halted at the gates of Vienna in 1683.
Today, however, the idea seems somewhat less risible. The French historian Alain Besancon is one of a number of European intellectuals who detect a significant threat to the continent’s traditional Christian culture. The Egyptian-born writer Bat Yeor has for some years referred to the rise of a new “Eurabia” that is hostile in equal measure to the United States and Israel. Two years ago, Pat Buchanan published an apocalyptic book, titled The Death of the West, prophesying that declining European fertility and immigration from Muslim countries could turn “the cradle of Western civilization” into “its grave.”
Such Spenglerian talk has gained credibility since 9/11. The 3/11 bombings in Madrid confirm that terrorists sympathetic to Osama bin Laden continue to operate with comparative freedom in European cities. Some American commentators suspect Europeans of wanting to appease radical Islam. Others detect in sporadic manifestations of anti-Semitism a sinister conjunction of old fascism and new fundamentalism.
Most European Muslims are, of course, law-abiding citizens with little sympathy for terrorist attacks on European cities. Moreover, they are drawn from a wide range of countries and Islamic traditions, few of them close to Arabian Wahhabism. Nevertheless, there is no question that the continent is experiencing fundamental demographic and cultural changes whose long-term consequences no one can foresee.
To begin with, consider the extraordinary prospect of European demographic decline. A hundred years ago—when Europe’s surplus population was still crossing the oceans to populate America and Australasia—the countries that make up today’s European Union accounted for around 14 percent of the world’s population. Today that figure is down to around 6 percent, and by 2050, according to a United Nations forecast, it will be just over 4 percent. The decline is absolute as well as relative. Even allowing for immigration, the United Nations projects that the population of the current European Union members will fall by around 7.5 million over the next 45 years. There has not been such a sustained reduction in the European population since the Black Death of the fourteenth century. (By contrast, the United States population is projected to grow by 44 percent between 2000 and 2050.)
With the median age of Greeks, Italians, and Spaniards projected to exceed 50 by 2050—roughly one in three people will be 65 or over—the welfare states created in the wake of World War II plainly require drastic reform. Either today’s newborn Europeans will spend their working lives paying 75 percent tax rates or retirement and “free” health care will simply have to be abolished. Alternatively (or additionally), Europeans will have to tolerate more legal immigration.
But where will the new immigrants come from? It seems very likely that a high proportion will come from neighboring countries, and Europe’s fastest-growing neighbors today are predominantly if not wholly Muslim. A youthful Muslim society to the south and east of the Mediterranean is poised to colonize—the term is not too strong—a senescent Europe.
This prospect is all the more significant when considered alongside the decline of European Christianity. In the Netherlands, Britain, Germany, Sweden, and Denmark today, fewer than 1 in 10 people now attend church once a month or more. Some 52 percent of Norwegians and 55 percent of Swedes say that God does not matter to them at all. Although the social and sexual freedoms that matter to such societies are antithetical to Muslim fundamentalism, their religious tolerance leaves these societies weak in the face of fanaticism.
What the consequences of these changes will be is very difficult to say. A creeping Islamicization of a decadent Christendom is one conceivable result: While the old Europeans get even older and their religious faith weaker, the Muslim colonies within their cities get larger and more overt in their religious observance. A backlash against immigration by the economically Neanderthal Right is another: Aging electorates turn to demagogues who offer sealed borders without explaining who exactly is going to pay for the pensions and health care. Nor can we rule out the possibility of a happy fusion between rapidly secularized second-generation Muslims and their post-Christian neighbors. Indeed, we may conceivably end up with all three: situation 1 in France, situation 2 in Austria, and situation 3 in Britain.
Still, it is hard not to be reminded of Gibbon—especially now that his old university’s Center for Islamic Studies has almost completed work on its new premises. In addition to the traditional Oxford quadrangle, the building is expected to feature “a prayer hall with traditional dome and minaret tower.”
When I first glimpsed a model of that minaret, I confess, the phrase that sprang to mind was indeed “decline and fall.”
julho 10, 2007
"Al-Qaeda ameaça retaliar o Reino Unido devido à condecoração de Salman Rushdie" in BBC News, 10 de Julho de 2007
Osama Bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has threatened to retaliate against Britain for giving a knighthood to novelist Salman Rushdie. The 20-minute audiotape was posted on a website used by Islamic militants. A Downing Street spokesman said: "We will not allow terrorists to undermine the British way of life." Sir Salman's book The Satanic Verses sparked protests by Muslims around the world and led to Iran issuing a fatwa in 1989, ordering his execution. In a 20-minute recording, the al-Qaeda second-in-command said the group was preparing a "very precise response" to the British knighthood. Addressing Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Zawahiri said: "I say to Blair's successor that the policy of your predecessor drew catastrophes in Afghanistan and Iraq and even in the centre of London." In the speech, entitled Malicious Britain and its Indian Slaves, Zawahiri was quoted as warning Mr Brown: "If you did not learn the lesson then we are ready to repeat it, God willing, until we are sure you have fully understood." The former Egyptian surgeon, who is believed to be the architect of the al-Qaeda ideology, said Britain's award for Indian-born Sir Salman was an insult to Islam. The UK Foreign Office said in response to the tape that the author's knighthood was a reflection of his contribution to literature. "The government has already made clear that Rushdie's honour was not intended as an insult to Islam or the Prophet Muhammad," said a spokesman. The Foreign Office said it would maintain efforts to thwart terrorists. "We will continue to tackle the threat from international terrorism as a priority in order to prevent the risk of attacks on British interests at home and overseas, including from al-Qaeda," a spokesman said.
julho 09, 2007
"O Reino Unido não faz controlo dos emigrantes, na base de terrorismo da Interpol" in Guardian, 8 de Julho de 2007
Ronald Noble, secretary general of the international police cooperation agency, said Britain needed to "catch up" and enact tougher checks. The comments came as the UK security minister warned of a battle of up to 15 years against al-Qaida-inspired terrorism, and as the investigation into attempted car bombings in London and Glasgow continued across three continents. Mr Noble, who was a leading law enforcement official in the US treasury department under Bill Clinton, told the Sunday Telegraph of his concerns. "We have the passport numbers, fingerprints and photos of more than 11,000 suspected terrorists on our database. But the UK does not check it against immigrants coming into the country or foreign nationals it has arrested," he said. "The guys detained last week could be wanted, arrested or convicted anywhere in the world and the UK would not know." Six out of the seven suspects held in Britain over the recent attempted car bombings and the attack on Glasgow airport are not British. It is not known whether they are on Interpol's database. Interpol said last night that the UK makes just 50 checks a month of the database; France by comparison makes 700,000 checks and Switzerland makes 300,000. Mr Noble said that Gordon Brown's promise last week to share a list of potential terrorists with other countries had yet to materialize. "British citizens might be surprised to find that this watch list announced by your prime minister last week has not been sent to Interpol," he said. "Why is it that some countries make sure passengers do not carry a bottle of spring water on to a plane, yet aren't careful to ensure convicted felons aren't entering their borders with stolen passports?"
A Home Office spokesman said last night that the Serious Organised Crime Agency did consult Interpol databases and added that the government was "committed" to better sharing of data with European countries. But the Interpol criticism was seized upon by the Conservatives, who said the government's intentions were being undermined by incompetence. "Yet again it is not the government's policy that is the problem - it is their lack of competence in delivering on that policy which is threatening our security," said shadow home secretary David Davis. Mr Brown used an interview yesterday to call for an international register of terrorists. "We do now need more information flowing internationally about who are potential terrorists and who are potential suspects," he told Sky News. "I want the system that we are trying to expand between Europe, a system whereby we know who are potential terrorist suspects, we expand that to other countries in the world and then we may have a better idea of people coming in to different countries - whether as professional recruits or in other ways - about what the dangers and the risks we face are." The security minister, Admiral Sir Alan West, said Britain's anti-terrorism message was failing to get across and the public might have to be "un-British" and inform on people they suspect. Admiral West told the Sunday Telegraph that Britain faced a long fight against terrorism: "I believe it will take 10 to 15 years." He said the UK was "not getting our message across properly", and added that he did not like the concentration on the "Muslim community". "I have a lot of Muslim friends and they see themselves as British. We've got to be very careful. The threat is to our British way of life and all of our British people," he said.
At the weekend, Bilal Abdullah, a 27-year-old doctor, appeared at City of Westminster magistrates' court charged with conspiring to cause explosions and was remanded in custody. A total of seven people remain in custody, one of whom is being held in Australia, and another suspect is seriously ill in hospital. The investigation into the London and Glasgow plots has seen the security and intelligence agencies stepping up their search for the international links of those responsible. As the Guardian reported last week, they believe that some of those behind the conspiracy had links with al-Qaida in Iraq. One of those arrested in connection with the plot is understood to have recently contacted members of the al-Qaida group in Iraq. A report by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, Jtac, warned in April that an al-Qaida commander in Iraq had talked about a big attack on Britain "ideally" before Tony Blair left office. Officials are also investigating possible links between Kafeel Ahmed, who remains critically ill after the failed attack on Glasgow airport, and Abbas Boutrab from Algeria, convicted two years ago by a Diplock court in Belfast for downloading information from the internet on how to blow up airliners. Mr Ahmed was studying at Belfast's Queen's University between 2001 and 2004. Security sources confirmed yesterday that the two men were in Northern Ireland at the same time. But one source described Boutrab as "a bit of a loner". Mr Ahmed suffered 90% burns after the Jeep he is believed to have been driving slammed into Glasgow airport in what counter-terrorism officials believe was an attempted suicide car bombing. Indian police yesterday raided properties where Mr Ahmed and his doctor brother Sabeel, who is also a suspect, had stayed in Bangalore. They said they had recovered CDs about the conflicts in Chechnya and Iraq.
julho 08, 2007
Muslims were as much outraged by last weekend's failed car bomb attacks as the rest of the country. Does that mean they will now help the authorities to root out Islamist terrorists? Alasdair Palmer investigates
The statement from Muhammed Abdul Bari, the general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) was as surprising as it was unequivocal: "The police and the security services deserve the fullest support and co-operation from each and every sector of our society, including all Muslims."
It was a surprise because, in the past, the MCB has seemed to be somewhat lukewarm about encouraging British Muslims to go to the police or security services with any suspicions they might have about friends or acquaintances who they think might be involved in terrorism. It is, after all, only nine months since Mr Bari issued a scarcely veiled threat to the authorities: he said that if the Government and "some police officers and sections of the media" continued to "demonise Muslims… Britain will have to deal with two million Muslim terrorists, 700,000 of them in London".
Last week, the MCB was considerably more conciliatory. Inayat Bunglawala, Mr Bari's deputy, accepted that the MCB was taking a new stance in insisting that it was an "Islamic duty" to help the police prevent terrorism, but he said he was confident that the organisation's 400 affiliates would back it. "The overwhelming majority of Muslims," he said, "will understand the predicament our nation is in."
Will they? The Government and most of Britain hope that the failed attempts to blow up a nightclub in central London and the passenger terminal at Glasgow airport may mark the beginning of a sea-change in attitudes to terrorism within Britain's Islamic communities. Yesterday's march in Glasgow was an attempt to demonstrate solidarity between Muslims and other religions in their opposition to violence. A group named "Islam is Peace" placed full-page advertisements in several national newspapers emphasising that "Muslim communities across Britain are united in condemning the attempted bombings".
The police say that a change of attitude is badly needed. Peter Clarke, Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist chief, has publicly lamented the reluctance of too many Muslims to come forward with information about possible terrorism that they have, and that could help the police to prevent bombings. MI5 officers have a similar complaint. One, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Sunday Telegraph: "Perhaps our biggest problem is that when we start trying to get sources, very quickly we hit a wall… people who live with actual or potential terrorists, who know what they are doing, who know who is vulnerable to extremist propaganda, who know who is being dragged in or acting suspiciously; the people who have this information just won't share it. It makes the job of finding out what is going on, and stopping it, much harder."
Muslim police officers are in very short supply. There are about a million Muslims in London, but only 268 of them have joined the Metropolitan Police. They represent less than 1 per cent of the total force. It is the same story across the country. Attempts to encourage more Muslims to sign up can backfire: there are allegations, for instance, that several al-Qaeda sympathisers have entered the organisation with the intention of undermining it.
Still, a number of leading British Muslims have already stated that the change of tone that has marked Gordon Brown's premiership is "helpful" in gaining the support of Muslim communities in Britain. Ahmed Versi, the editor of Muslim News, for instance, remarked last week that "Tony Blair used to use the phrase 'Islamic terrorism' …it made the whole [Islamic] community feel they were being targeted."
Mr Versi is pleased that Gordon Brown seems to have decided to drop "Islamic terrorism", the "war on terror" and the other belligerent phrases that came to characterise Tony Blair's time in office. Jacqui Smith, the new Home Secretary, insisted last week that it was "unacceptable to hold any one community responsible" for the attempted outrages, something Mr Versi very much agrees with, because, in his view, what motivates the terrorists is not Islam: it is British foreign policy.
Not everyone, however, believes either that attitudes in Britain's Islamic communities are changing, or that Gordon Brown's change of the language he uses to describe bomb attacks will make much difference. Ed Husain was drawn to what he calls "Islamism": the anti-secular, anti-liberal position that asserts that Western democracies such as Britain are irredeemably corrupt and must be replaced by a theocracy based on Islamic law. He spent several years working for Hizb ut-Tahrir, an extremist organisation dedicated to that goal, before eventually turning away from it and discovering what he now thinks of as orthodox, traditional Islam.
"The MCB's insistence that there is a duty to help the police is very welcome," he says. "The trouble is, they are still wedded to a version of Islam that is, at the very least, hospitable to the extremists. None of the leading members of the MCB have condemned the hard-line anti-Western ideology of figures such as Syed Qutb, the Egyptian radical fundamentalist who developed, in the early Sixties, the theological justification for violence in the name of establishing an Islamic state (Qutb was executed by the Egyptian government in 1965). It would be a very powerful signal if the MCB said that Qutb's hatred of the West and of democracy, and his endorsement of violence as the means to replace secular government with theocracy, had no Koranic justification. But no one from the MCB seems willing to make that move."
The MCB has also failed to condemn suicide bombing by Hamas against Israel. "It is a very short step from accepting that there is a theological justification for 'martyrdom' operations in Israel," states Mr Husain, "to accepting that there is a justification for perpetrating the murder of civilians here. I know. I have been down that road."
Hassan Butt is another who spent several years as an extreme Islamist before coming to understand that the people with whom he was working were "evil". Mr Butt used to act as a fund raiser - he says he raised more than £150,000 - for fundamentalist terrorist groups. He doesn't see any change in attitude among their members. His family have rejected him for what they see as his "treachery". His friends have all deserted him. Some of his former colleagues have openly told him that they want him dead. Earlier this year he was stabbed in the street for his "betrayal". Last week, the windows of his house were broken, and his front door smashed, as a further attempt to intimidate him.
He believes that the moderate Muslim community is "in denial" about the extremists in its midst. According to Mr Butt, many imams who preach at mosques in Britain "refuse to broach the difficult and often complex truth that Islam can be interpreted as condoning violence against the unbeliever, and instead repeat the mantra that 'Islam is peace', and hope that all of this debate will go away. This has left the territory open for radicals… I know, because [when] I was a recruiter, I repeatedly came across those who had tried to raise these issues with mosque authorities, only to be banned from their grounds. Every time this happened… it served as a recruiting sergeant for extremism."
It is certainly true that many imams in Britain are very conservative. Almost all are Sunni Muslims, rather than the Shia variety, and have little or no appeal to the younger generation of Muslims - the generation from whom the terrorists are recruited. A study by Prof Ron Geaves of the University of Chester, published last week, found that the majority of imams preaching here were born and trained outside Britain, and many don't even speak English. Their sermons are frequently in Urdu, which most British Muslims born here do not fully understand. It means that debates fundamental to demonstrating the message that "Islam is peace" and does not condone violence cannot be had inside mosques.
"And that is a huge problem," says Ed Husain. "One of the main reasons I was recruited to Islamism was because I was ignorant. Like most Muslims born in Britain, I knew nothing of Islamic traditions and I couldn't read Arabic. The extremists had the field to themselves. There was nothing to counteract their very narrow, perverted interpretation of Islam.
"I believe that one of the most important things that could be done to diminish the attraction of Islamism would be to expose young Muslims to the full variety of Islamic scholarship and debate. At the moment, a lot of them are turned off by the local mosque: they think it's boring. The extremists are 'cool'. But that's because no one actually confronts them properly. I had to go to the Middle East to get a proper Islamic education. It's not available in most of Britain's mosques - and that leads to extremist voices being very tempting to young Muslims who are looking for a form of Islam that they think is authentic."
It is not only in mosques that misguided policies allow radical Islamists to flourish. Some British universities have also failed to combat their presence and influence effectively. Two of the July 7 suicide bombers studied at Leeds Metropolitan University, for example. Waheed Zaman, awaiting trial on charges arising from last year's alleged plot to blow up passenger jets over the Atlantic, was a bio-medical student and president of the Islamic Society at London Metropolitan University.
Dhiren Barot, jailed last year for 40 years for plotting terrorist attacks, studied at Brunel University in London, as did Jawad Akbar, who was sentenced to life for trying to blow up the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent and the Ministry of Sound nightclub in London.
And yet, when the Government issued guidelines for tackling campus extremism, which included ways of identifying and tackling extremist behaviour, those guidelines were unanimously rejected by Universities UK, and the Universities and College Union, the umbrella organisations for Britain's universities. Teaching and administrative staff insisted they would not apply them.
"A monumental act of irresponsibility," is how Prof Anthony Glees, the director of Brunel University's Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, describes it. "The problem [of extremism on British campuses] is widespread and underestimated," Prof Glees says. He believes that universities will "come to regret" their "mindless rejection" of the Government's guidelines. "It sends out a signal to people who want to do us harm that universities will continue to be a safe bet from which to recruit: that they are safe areas for extremists to ply their trade. Academics are in a state of complete denial and confusion over what they should be doing; this a huge hindrance to tackling the problem."
While the problem of extremism in universities badly needs to be confronted, many believe that the seeds of fundamentalist terrorism lie at much earlier points in a Muslim boy or girl's education. "The result of 25 years of multiculturalism has not been multicultural communities. It has been mono-cultural communities," says Ed Husain. "Islamic communities are segregated. Many Muslims want to live apart from mainstream British society; official government policy has helped them do so. I grew up without any white friends. My school was almost entirely Muslim. I had almost no direct experience of 'British life' or 'British institutions'. So it was easy for the extremists to say to me: 'You see? You're not part of British society. You never will be. You can only be part of an Islamic society.' The first part of what they said was true. I wasn't part of British society: nothing in my life overlapped with it."
Patrick Sookdeo, the director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, converted to Christianity from Islam. He is convinced that Islamic "separatism" is at the heart of the problem. "The Islamic community," he says, "is evolving as a separate entity within the UK. We are facing a form of apartheid."
It is certainly true that there are plenty of Muslims who say they would like to be able to live under a separate legal system, obeying sharia law rather than the secular laws passed by Parliament. Ibrahim Mogra, the chairman of the MCB's inter-faith relations committee, says: "I am in the business of helping everyone live according to sharia… Most Muslims try to live according to sharia. The Government should consider whether it is necessary to make changes to the law to recognise sharia".
The fanatics, of course, go one further step: they say they are entitled, indeed required by divine law, to use violence to ensure that Britain becomes an Islamic republic under sharia law. The problem is preventing seepage from the moderate Islamic position, where sharia is only an aspiration, not a requirement. "But that can require Muslims to recognise that religion has to be separated from politics," says Shiv Malik, who investigated the life of Mohammad Siddique Khan, the July 7 bomber, and his background in Leeds for nearly a year. "It requires recognising that we live in a secular state, where religion is not what decides fundamental questions of law. But if you see the Koran as the word of God, as most Muslims do, that can be very difficult, because the Koran specifies all kinds of laws for family, social and political life. One example is the Koranic punishment for theft: cutting off the hand of the thief. No modern state would think that anything other than barbaric and inhumane. But theologically, Muslim fundamentalists are committed to trying to achieve a state that implements it."
Still, Hassan Butt sees grounds for optimism, as does Ed Husain. They both believe that the fanatics can be defeated. "But for that to happen, Muslims in Britain have to wake up to the fact that they have a problem with extremism," says Ed Husain. "Too many Muslims leaders look for explanations outside their own communities. They blame British foreign policy, or social deprivation, or unemployment, or poverty. They don't blame the perverted versions of Islam that their inactivity has allowed to flourish."
Mohammed Naseem, chairman of the Birmingham Central Mosque (it is affiliated to the MCB), exemplifies Mr Husain's point. He insists that there is "no proof" that Islamic extremists were behind any of the terrorist attacks. "The official explanation of 7/7 does not make sense," Mr Naseem says. "The majority of Muslims don't accept the version that we've been presented with [by the Government]. Videos can be made and the pictures of people on train platforms don't prove anything. Why should we condemn Muslim extremists when we don't know who did it?"
Polls reveal that 6 per cent of Muslims believe that on balance, the attacks of July 7, 2005 were justified, and 5 per cent think there is a Koranic justification for them. As Ed Husain and Hassan Butt note: solidarity marches and press advertisements assuring us that "Islam is Peace" will make no difference at all to the threat we face until those numbers reduce significantly.
julho 07, 2007
"Oito fanáticos da Al-Qaeda trabalham para a polícia (mas esta não ousa despedi-los) in Daily Mail, 7 de Julho de 2007
Up to eight police officers and civilian staff are suspected of links to extremist groups including Al Qaeda. Some are even believed to have attended terror training camps in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Their names feature on a secret list of alleged radicals said to be working in the Metropolitan and other forces.The dossier was drawn up with the help of MI5 amid fears that individuals linked to Islamic extremism are taking advantage of police attempts to increase the proportion of ethnic staff. Astonishingly, many of the alleged jihadists have not been sacked because - it is claimed - police do not have the "legal power" to dismiss them. We can also reveal that one suspected jihadist officer working in the South East has been allowed to keep his job despite being caught circulating Internet images of beheadings and roadside bombings in Iraq. He is said to have argued that he was trying to "enhance" debate about the war. Classified intelligence reports raising concerns about police staff's background cannot be used to justify their dismissal, sources said.
Instead, the staff who are under suspicion are unofficially barred from working in sensitive posts and are closely monitored. Political correctness is blamed for the decision not to sack them. It is widely feared that "long-term" Al Qaeda sleepers are trying to infiltrate other public sector organisations in the UK. In November last year, it was revealed that a leading member of an extremist Islamic group was working as a senior official at the Home Office. MI5 has warned in the past that suspects with "strong links" to Osama Bin Laden's killers have tried to join the British security services and, in January, exiled radical Omar Bakri claimed that Islamic extremists were infiltrating the police and other public sector organisations. Suspicions are growing that the gang behind the failed London bomb attacks could have received inside information about rescue procedures in the aftermath of an atrocity in the capital. The Daily Mail can reveal that the second device parked near Haymarket was left at a designated "evacuation assembly point" where civilians and the emergency services would have gathered had the first bomb gone off. Investigators are trying to establish whether the bombers knew the significance of the location. Sources said it is unlikely that the Met is the only force which may have been infiltrated by Al Qaeda sympathisers. Omar Altimimi, a failed asylum seeker jailed for nine years yesterday for hoarding manuals on how to carry out car bombings, had applied to work as a cleaner for the Greater Manchester force. In a separate development, it is understood that a policeman was removed from his post after concerns about his conduct in the aftermath of a major anti-terrorist operation in the past two years. For legal reasons, the Mail cannot reveal any more about the case.
The MI5 list of suspected Islamists working in the police is said to have been drawn up in the aftermath of the 7/7 terror attacks in London. MI5 checked staff details at the Met and other forces with intelligence databases on individuals said to have attended radical Islamic schools - or Madrassas - and terror training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is thought that intelligence files on those who frequently visit pro-Jihad websites and who have associated with so-called preachers of hate were also compared to details of officers and civilian staff in the Met. As a result of the review, eight officers and civilian staff were identified as Al Qaeda sympathisers or people of concern because of their links to Islamic extremists. The disclosure will raise concerns about the system for vetting new recruits, each of whom is the subject of counter-terrorism checks to ensure they are suitable to join the police. Scotland Yard's vetting unit is regarded as one of the best in the country. But sources said it is often impossible to carry out satisfactory checks on recruits who were raised overseas or who have spent considerable periods out of Britain before applying to join the Met. In such cases, the Met has to rely on overseas agencies to carry out intelligence checks on their behalf. Privately, officials doubt whether certain countries in Africa, Middle East or the Indian sub-continent are able to carry out meaningful vetting. As a result of the Stephen Lawrence public inquiry report, which accused the Met of being "institutionally racist", Scotland Yard has in recent years employed thousands of officers and civilian staff from the ethnic minorities in an attempt to reach recruitment targets. A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "All employees upon joining the Met and during their careers undergo a range of security checks. These are robust and vary according to the type and sensitivity of individual postings. "We take matters of security very seriously and if an issue arises, people may be subjected to further assessment. "This may lead to restrictions in relation to where an individual works in the organisation or whether they are suitable to remain in the service."
julho 06, 2007
"Quarenta e cinco médicos muçulmanos planeavam ataques terroristas nos Estados Unidos" in Telegraph, 6 de Julho de 2007
A group of 45 Muslim doctors threatened to use car bombs and rocket grenades in terrorist attacks in the United States during discussions on an extremist internet chat site. Police found details of the discussions on a site run by one of a three-strong "cyber-terrorist" gang. They were discovered at the home of Younis Tsouli, 23, Woolwich Crown Court in south-east London heard. One message read: "We are 45 doctors and we are determined to undertake jihad and take the battle inside America. "The first target which will be penetrated by nine brothers is the naval base which gives shelter to the ship Kennedy." This is thought to have been a reference to the USS John F Kennedy, which is often at Mayport Naval Base in Jacksonville, Florida. The message discussed targets at the base, adding: "These are clubs for naked women which are opposite the First and Third units." It also referred to using six Chevrolet GT vehicles and three fishing boats and blowing up petrol tanks with rocket propelled grenades. Investigators have found no link between the Tsouli chat room and the group of doctors and medics currently in custody over attempted car bomb attacks in London and Glasgow. However, sources said it was "definitely spooky" that the use of doctors for terrorist purposes was being discussed in jihadi terrorist circles up to three years ago. Part of the inquiry into the London and Glasgow incidents will focus on whether al-Qa'eda has recruited doctors or other medical professionals because they are less likely to attract suspicion and can move easily around the western world.
The three "cyber terrorists" - a British national and two who had been given the right to live in Britain - are facing lengthy jail sentences after admitting using the internet to spread al-Qa'eda propaganda inciting Muslims to a violent holy war and to murder non-believers. They had close links with al-Qa'eda in Iraq and believed they had to fight jihad against a global conspiracy by kuffars, or non-believers, to wipe out Islam. The three are the first defendants in Britain to be convicted of inciting terrorist murder on the internet. They waged cyber-jihad on websites run from their bedrooms. Tsouli promoted the ideology of Osama bin Laden via email and radical websites. He said in one message he was "very happy" about the July 7 bombings in London in 2005. Tsouli, along with Tariq Daour, a biochemistry student, and Waseem Mughal, a law student, were intelligent, computer-literate men who promoted violent propaganda. They created chat forums to direct willing fighters to Iraq and discuss murderous bomb attacks around the world. Films of hostages and beheadings were found by police. Daour, 21, of Bayswater, west London, who was born in the United Arab Emirates, yesterday admitted inciting another person to commit an act of terrorism wholly or partly outside Britain. Moroccan-born Tsouli, 23, of Shepherd's Bush, west London, and British-born Mughal, 24, of Chatham, Kent, admitted the same charge on Monday. They are due to be sentenced today. They also admitted conspiring together and with others to defraud banks, credit card companies and charge card companies. Daour had instructions for making explosives and poisons, the court was told. Police found instructions on causing an explosion with "rocket propellant'' and constructing a car bomb. In one on-line conversation, Daour, asked what he would do with £1 million, replied: "Sponsor terrorist attacks, become the new Osama." The three men outwardly appeared to be leading normal lives, studying and living with their parents. Tsouli had come to the UK with his family from Morocco in 2001. Mughal had a degree in biochemistry from Leicester University and was studying for his masters. Daour, who was granted British citizenship in May 2005, had applied to start a law degree.
The deputy leader of radical Islamic students besieged at the Red Mosque in Pakistan's capital Islamabad has said he would rather die than surrender. Abdul Rashid Ghazi's defiant statement came as the stand-off, which has seen 19 people killed, entered a fourth day. President Pervez Musharraf has ordered his security forces to hold back from a full assault. Gen Musharraf is said to be anxious to avoid casualties among women and girls still inside the complex. Mr Ghazi had earlier said he would leave the mosque on certain conditions, including being allowed to look after his ailing mother. The offer to end the confrontation came after Mr Ghazi's brother Maulana Abdul Aziz - leader of the mosque - was captured while trying to escape wearing a woman's burqa. Pakistani government ministers dismissed the deal. Shortly afterwards, Mr Ghazi said he would not surrender unconditionally. "We have decided that we can be martyred but we will not surrender. We are ready for our heads to be cut off but we will not bow to them," he said.
Separately, Pakistan's media reported that Gen Musharraf's plane came under fire as it took off from a military base close to the capital. Officials denied the reports, but police said they had found two anti-aircraft guns on a rooftop near the air base, in Rawalpindi. It was not clear if the guns had been fired. Gen Musharraf, who has survived previous assassination attempts, was said to be unharmed. Meanwhile sporadic explosions and gunfire continued into Friday morning as the army, backed by tanks and helicopter gunships, blasted holes in walls surrounding the Red Mosque (Lal Masjid). Officials said guns had been fired and grenades launched from those inside. Overnight, much of the city was plunged into darkness, after storms caused failures in the power supply. It is believed several hundred religious students are still inside the complex, after more than 1,000 left under mounting pressure from security forces. Officials said about 60 of those remaining are hard-liners, who have been at the vanguard of campaigning for the imposition of strict Islamic law (Sharia) in Islamabad. The BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad says the government is piling psychological pressure on those still inside with a mass demonstration of force demanding unconditional surrender. The view here is that the clerics want an honourable exit, but the president is determined to inflict absolute defeat on the Red Mosque, our correspondent says.
Speaking in a telephone interview broadcast on Pakistani television, Mr Ghazi said he had told government mediator Chaudry Shujaat Hussain that his followers were ready to surrender. But Mr Ghazi said he had insisted the authorities promise not to detain anyone who they could not prove belonged to any banned militant groups, or were not wanted for any crime. The cleric also demanded a guarantee of safety for himself and his family, saying he wanted to remain on the premises with his sick mother until they were able to move elsewhere. Deputy Information Minister Tariq Azim Khan said Mr Ghazi and the remaining students would have to lay down their arms unconditionally like all those who left the mosque since the violence began on Tuesday. Earlier, Mr Khan accused the Red Mosque Islamists of using women and children as human shields, saying a number of them were being held hostage in the building's basement.
"Clárigos desesperados escondem-se por detrás de crianças em Islamabade" in Der Spiegel online, 5 de Julho de 2007
Increasingly desperate clerics at Islamabad's hard-line Lal Masijd, or Red Mosque, used women and children as human shields against the approaching Pakistani military, as the third day of the siege saw repeated fire fights and ground-shaking explosions. The blasts, which started before dawn, were thought to be military artillery or explosives used to break down the high walls of the fortified compound as Pakistani forces continue trying to force out hundreds of radical students holed up inside. Militants in the mosque exchanged rifle and automatic gunfire throughout the day with the army and paramilitaries who had penned them in and cut off all supplies. Military Cobra helicopters hovered overhead, drawing occasional fire from the besieged compound. Government officials and aid workers, who entered the mosque to bring out the dead, said the remaining students, were being held hostage by increasingly desperate clerics. "Some of the students are wounded and still the clerics are not allowing them out to get medical care," said Nisar Hasnain, a relief worker with the Khubaib Foundation, who went into the mosque compound to attend to the wounded and bring out the dead.
Hostile to Aid Efforts
He said the religious leaders were hostile to their aid efforts, but eventually allowed his team to remove the bodies of 10 men. "The doctor said one of the dead bodies was more than 12 hours old," Hasnain said, shocked that the clerics had broken a fundamental Islamic law stating the dead should be buried as quickly as possible. The violence in the Pakistani capital is only the most recent chapter in a months-long conflict simmering between the Red Mosque and the government of President Pervez Musharraf. Mosque leaders would like to see the establishment of an Islamic theocracy similar to that created by the ousted Taliban regime in neighboring Afghanistan. Musharraf, a close ally of the United States in the war on terror, is currently facing both a growing militancy movement in Pakistan as well as rising pressure from pro-democracy activists enraged at his attempt to fire the country's chief justice in March. Liberal politicians have pressed the president to crack down on the two cleric brothers in charge of the mosque. Meanwhile, there are concerns abroad about a growing Taliban-like movement. On Thursday, though, immediate concern was for the children trapped inside the mosque. Parents, who had sent their children to the seminary for a well-reputed education, begged and argued with soldiers to be let through to the mosque despite outbreaks of gunfire and tear gas in the air."My girl is only 18 and she is scared", said one mother, wiping tears from her face with the corner of her brightly colored headscarf. "I managed to speak to her on the telephone and she begged me to come and get her out," she said, preferring not to give her name. "But that was at 10 this morning and I haven't heard anything since. I need to get in there to get my daughter out."
Unable to Bring their Children Out
Other parents argued with police, pushing to get past the barbed wire and being restrained by the heavily armed men. "Inside the conditions are very poor, the students are really hungry and they have nothing to drink," Hasnain sympathized. But Colonel Ali, head of the paramilitary Rangers, said he had allowed some parents in, but they had been unable to bring their children out. "When the parents come back out, they tell us that the boys and the girls are not being allowed to come out by the people in the mosque," he said. "It is terrible and pathetic." The number of people left in the mosque was difficult to ascertain, but Col. Ali estimated it to be 400, half of them women. He said interrogation of around a thousand people who left voluntarily revealed that a hundred armed men remained inside. On Thursday, Pakistani Interior Minister Afftab Sherpao estimated that there were around 60 radical Islamists inside armed with Kalashnikovs, hand grenades and Molotov cocktails. As night fell on the capital, a plume of smoke from another massive explosion rose on the horizon obscuring the Red Mosque's minaret.
With the next dawn would come Friday, the Muslim holy day, and expectations of increased tension with sensitive afternoon prayers. But, the decision to raid the holy building, even on the Sabbath, was not something the government would shy away from, an official told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "That is not an issue, the military will go all out," said a senior government official, requesting to remain anonymous. "The only restraining factor is the women and children," she added. "Then, there will be no inhibitions." Nonetheless, fears remained of a massive reaction to any image of armed soldiers entering the sacred ground. While public support for the Red Mosque comes from a very limited section of Pakistan's population, the violation of the holy site would doubtlessly create problems for Musharraf. Tension was further increased as the extremist religious students and their teachers threatened suicide attacks on the military if they attack the sacred site. "I don't know, there may be suicide bombers but it is not definite," Col. Ali said. "There are many hostages in there, but there is also the hardcore who is left. The government is thinking on different options, but we will not know until the time comes how it will play out."
julho 05, 2007
In a newly released videotaped message similar to a "fireside chat," al Qaeda's second-in-command issues advice and directives for the Muslim world, terrorism expert Laura Mansfield said Wednesday.
In the one-hour, 34-minute video, titled "The Advice of One Concerned," Ayman al-Zawahiri includes clips from other videos and news broadcasts, including one from al-Furqan, the video production arm of the Islamic State of Iraq, according to Mansfield, who obtained the video.
Al-Zawahiri says in the message that the defeat of the West is imminent, and that "the enemy" is trying to forestall the inevitable, Mansfield said.
"The good omens of the new dawn of victory have begun to loom on the horizon, with Allah's permission and will," he says.
"And the stage preceding victory is normally, in the history of nations, the stage in which there is most seen an increase in conspiracies, plots and inciting of discord in an attempt by the enemy, who has begun to see his defeat approach, to push back and delay the defeat as much as he can."
Al-Zawahiri does not reference the recent terrorism incidents in the United Kingdom in the video.
Mansfield said it appears to be more of a "state of the ummah [community]" style of address "intended to try and provide advice to the Muslim world in a manner similar to the 'fireside chat.' "
Al-Zawahiri advises people in Iraq and the Palestinian territory, Mansfield said, and renews his call for young men to join the jihad in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Included is a video clip of the late Sheikh Abdullah Azzam -- an extremist in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation -- reminding Muslims that jihad is their responsibility.
Al-Zawahiri also rebukes Fatah for battling Hamas in the Palestinian territory, telling party members to "return to your religion, your Islam, your honor and your Arabness."
Last month, al-Zawahiri, in an audiotaped message posted on several Islamist Web sites, voiced his support for Hamas leaders who maintain control of Gaza after a split with Fatah, a more moderate Palestinian faction.
"We say to you, now that you are in control of Gaza, you should remember two things: One is that being in power is not a goal in itself, but the goal is, rather, to implement the rule of Allah," al-Zawahiri said in that audiotape, according to a CNN translation.
"Two, this control is incomplete and unstable, for the [Israeli] plans are being made to invade Gaza. Unite with your mujahedeen brothers in Palestine and do not stir up problems with them.
"Unite your ranks with all of the mujahedeen in the world for the upcoming battle [of Gaza] that I expect the Egyptians and Saudis to participate in."
The audiotaped message was a reversal of al-Zawahiri's previous criticism of Hamas, issued after its leaders agreed to form a unity government with Fatah leaders.
Hamas fighters wrested control of Gaza from Fatah security forces two weeks ago, prompting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, based in the West Bank, to replace the Hamas leadership with an emergency government.
Since then, the United States, the European Union and Israel have agreed to release funds to the new Palestinian government. The money had been frozen after Hamas won legislative elections last year.
julho 04, 2007
The news that many of the suspects in the failed car bomb attacks in Britain are medical doctors from the Middle East has shocked many and raised questions about connections between class, education and militant Islam.
There is a popular misperception that only the destitute or ill-educated are drawn to the ranks of militant Islamic organisations. But nothing could be further from the known facts. It is true that the appeal of political Islam - from the militant to the more moderate versions - is quite strong among the poor, because it promises a just and equitable society free from corruption and oppression. But the leaders and the middle echelons of such groups are often well-educated middle class men. The 19 young men behind the 9/11 attacks on Washington and New York six years ago were middle class university graduates or students. Not to mention, of course, the leader of al-Qaeda himself, Osama Bin Laden, the son of a Saudi billionaire, and his second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian-trained doctor from a very well-known and respected middle class family in Cairo. Many of the leaders of Palestinian Islamist groups, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, are either medical doctors, engineers or university professors. And the oldest and most influential movement of political Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, whose doctrine is blamed for the mushrooming militant groups across the world, is largely an organisation of middle class professionals.
Islamist groups are not only transnational in ambition, with members who do not recognise national boundaries, but they also have a wider appeal across the class barrier. The lure of an Islamic utopia, where justice and virtue prevail according to a puritanical version of Islam, is too strong to resist for rich and poor alike. For many it is an end that justifies any means. Some believe that their 'Islamic utopia' is not only an answer to the problems of their own societies, but for the entire world
It is an idea that has an enormous appeal for the masses in Middle Eastern states lacking in freedom, social justice and the promise of a fulfilling existence. It is particularly attractive for young idealists who want to make the world a better place. While far-left groups during the 1960s and 70s (such as Bader-Meinhof in Germany and the Red Brigades in Italy) justified violence on the grounds they were battling an evil capitalist order, young Islamist militants feel justified in their jihad against what they see as an immoral and oppressive world order. The lawyers, the engineers, the doctors and the students who once led the struggle for national liberation against colonial powers are again the standard-bearers of a movement that claims to have a cure for all the ills of their societies. However, some Islamists are more ambitious and believe that their "Islamic utopia" is not only an answer to the problems of their own societies, but for the entire world, including the "decadent West". Ironically, their global ambition has become all the more visible because of the very global forces they wish to vanquish, including of course America's global "war on terror".
julho 03, 2007
Mr Brown’s spokesman
“There is clearly a need to strike a consensual tone in relation to all communities across the UK,” the spokesman said. “It is important that the country remains united.” He confirmed that the phrase “war on terror” – strongly associated with Mr Blair and US President George Bush – has been dropped. Officials insist that no direct links with Muslim extremists have been publicly confirmed by police investigating the latest attempted terror attacks. Mr Brown himself did not refer to Muslims or Islam once in a BBC TV interview on Sunday. Ms Smith also avoided any such reference in her statement to She said: “Let us be clear – terrorists are criminals, whose victims come from all walks of life, communities and religions. Terrorists attack the values shared by all law-abiding citizens. As a Government, as communities, as individuals, we need to ensure that the message of the terrorists is rejected.” Tory backbencher Philip Davies said: “I don’t know what purpose is served by this. I don’t think we need pussyfoot around when talking about terrorism.” But former Tory homeland security spokesman Patrick Mercer said: “This is quite a smart idea. We know that the vast majority of Muslims are not involved in terrorism and we have to accept there are sensitivities about these matters.”
Blaming UK foreign policy is not the answer. Where are the Muslim marches in revulsion against acts of terror in Islam's name?
The events of the last few days have been sobering for us all. The response from some UK Muslim groups (influenced by Islamist thinking) is still largely to blame foreign policy (undoubtedly an exacerbating influence but not the cause), rather than marching "not in my name" in revulsion against terrorist acts committed in Islam's name. By blaming foreign policy they try to divert pressure off themselves from the real need to tackle extremism being peddled within. Diverting attention away from the problems within Muslim communities and blaming others - especially the west - is always more popular than the difficult task of self-scrutiny. And what part of foreign policy do the Islamists want us to change to tackle terrorism? Withdrawal from Iraq?
The UK presence on the ground in Iraq is minuscule compared to the US. We currently have 5,500 troops from 40,000 at the start of the invasion. We will reduce them further to 5,000 by the end of the summer. The bulk of which will be located near Basra airport in a supporting role. Next year will likely see the numbers dwindle even further. Our troop presence is far more symbolic than military. It provides the Americans with their "coalition of the willing". The US, by contrast, is the only serious occupier in the country with over 160,000 troops. The government will not (and cannot) admit it, but we have been in withdrawal mode since the end of the war.
And once we've left Iraq, will they be satisfied? Of course not. Their list of grievances is endless: Afghanistan, Chechnya, Kashmir, Palestine, Burma ... so long as the world is presented as one where the west is forever at war with Islam and Muslims there is nothing we can do to appease the terrorists and those who share their world view. Instead it is this extremist world view that must change.
Take for example the idea that radical Islamists are concerned about Muslim life (let's ignore human life in general for a moment). Where is their outrage at the 400,000 Muslims slaughtered in Darfur? Where are the marches and calls for action against this ongoing genocide? Where is the "Muslim anger" boiling up amongst British Islamists? It is nowhere to be seen because the Darfurians have been massacred by fellow Muslims, not by the west. Hence it does not appear on the Islamist radar screen as a "grievance". Such is the moral bankruptcy of this ideology.
No, it's not foreign policy that's the main driver in combating the terrorists; it is their mindset. The radical Islamist ideology needs to be exposed to young Muslims for what it really is. A tool for the introduction of a medieval form of governance that describes itself as an "Islamic state" that is violent, retrogressive, discriminatory, a perversion of the sacred texts and a totalitarian dictatorship.
When the IRA was busy blowing up London, there would have been little point in Irish "community leaders" urging "all" citizens to cooperate with the police equally when it was obvious the problem lay specifically within Irish communities. Likewise for Muslim "community leaders" to condemn terrorism is a no-brainer. What is required is for those that claim to represent and have influence among young British Muslims to proactively counter the extremist Islamist narrative. That is the biggest challenge for British Muslim leadership over the next five to 10 years. It is because they are failing to rise to this challenge that the government feels it needs to act by further eroding our civil liberties with anti-terror legislation to get the state to do what Muslims should be doing themselves. If British Muslim groups focus on grassroots de-radicalisation then this will provide civil liberty groups the space they need to argue against any further anti-terror legislation.
Of course I would like to see changes in our foreign policy and have marched on the streets (with thousands of non-Muslims) in protest on many occasions. But blaming foreign policy in the face of suicide attacks is not only tactless but a cop-out that fails to tackle extremism, fails to promote an ethical foreign policy and fails to protect our civil liberties.