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UK in Crisis Mode Over London Slashing


With nine people arrested in the gruesome slashing murder of a British soldier last weekend, the UK political establishment is now in full panic over the possibility that radical extremism is spreading among the country’s sizable Muslim minority. As hundreds of mourners showed to support Lee Rigby’s wife and two-year old son while they grieved at the spot of his murder, Labor and Lib Dem politicians joined Tories in calls for tougher crackdowns on religious extremism and much more surveillance. Home Secretary Theresa May is leading the charge, reports the FT:

 “We need to look at whether we need banning orders for organisations that don’t meet the current criteria,” she told the BBC. “When things like this happen, we do need to look at whether things need to be learnt,” Ms May said.

Ms May also said there would be a review of “what is being beamed into people’s homes”. “There is no doubt that people are able to watch things through the internet that can lead to radicalisation.”

Beyond banning organizations and media, May wants to revive the communications data bill, which gives security services the ability to track email, phone, and internet use. A special task force comprised of ministers, intelligence specialists, police, and religious leaders will also be set up to consider bans on “extremist organizations and messages,” as the FT reports.

We’ll withhold judgment on any of these matters until events come into clearer focus. But what’s obvious now is that Britain’s political class is concerned that thousands of the nation’s 2.7 million Muslims (nearly 5 percent of the total population) are vulnerable to radicalization. Many of Britain’s Muslim communities are poor and have remained so as the country’s Muslim population rapidly increased over the past decade. Like Sweden, the UK has been exceptionally tolerant of Muslim immigrants but hasn’t quite figured out how to integrate them successfully.

Poor, young Muslim men who feel isolated from British society are London’s biggest concern right now. As Americans know well, protecting citizens’ lives while respecting their individual rights is no easy line to walk.

[Lee Rigby memorial image courtesy of Getty Images]

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  • Hex

    Here’s a suggestion with some basic sense (which of course means it won’t be done): ban all Muslim immigration, deport anyone preaching this stuff (Anjem Choudary would be an excellent start), strictly moniter all Muslim communities, and cease the insane concern that their home countries’ security services will be mean to the poor innocent little terrorists. If Jordan chooses to torture a Salafist hate preacher, too bad for him.

  • wigwag

    “Labor and Lib Dem politicians joined Tories in calls for tougher crackdowns on religious extremism and much more surveillance.” (Walter Russell Mead)

    This of course is a joke. The entire concept of what religious extremism is has been so dumbed down in the United Kingdom and Europe that it has no practical meaning.

    First, it’s not “religious extremism” that the UK needs to worry about, it’s Islamic extremism; the need to couch it within the umbrella of “religious” radicalism is evidence of the problem. A UK unprepared to define the problem as what it is, angry and violent Muslims alienated from Enlightenment values and enthrall to a conservative and repulsive form of Islamism, is a UK that will never figure out how to address this problem.

    The British don’t think Tariq Ramadan is an extrmest; they rewarded him with a coveted faculty position at Oxford. The Europeans have been hesitant to label Hezbollah as a terrorist organization despite the fact that it has been engaging in acts of terrorism all over Europe.

    The only religious extremists that the British and much of the rest of Europe are willing to criticize are Israeli settlers using hammers and drills to build new homes for their families and kindergartens for their children in the suburbs of the Israeli Capitol city of Jerusalem.

    The British and the rest of Europe have no one to blame but themselves for the fix they are in with Islamic extremists. The two things we can count on are that: (1) one way or another the British will find a way to blame the whole thing on the Israelis (the politically correct surrogate for the real object of their contempt- the Jews) and (2) at some point or another they will call on the United States military to bail them out.

    Note to Professor Mead; Prime Minister Cameron is no Clement Atlee, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher or even Tony Blair. The sitting Prime Minister couldn’t be more ill-equipped to help his nation deal with a problem that challenges the foundations of the British experiment.

    • Corlyss

      “religious extremism is, has been so dumbed down in the United Kingdom and Europe that it has practically no meaning.”
      IT’s worse than that. It appears from my readings that the secular elites firmly believe that the only religious extremism is that of Christians and Jews. Because Islam is a religion of colonized peoples, it’s impossible for Muslims to be extremists. Indeed, they need to be given preferential treatment.

  • jeburke

    I should think that we are long past the point where there is any reason to believe that poverty, unemployment or lack of educational opportunity play much of a role in radicalization of young Muslim men in the UK or the US. We have solid empirical evidence that those who turn to terror are not in a bad fix at all. Consult any list of those involved in terrorist plots in the past dozen years. Yet, even such insightful analysts as Mead persist in intonjng, “poverty.”

    • Corlyss

      Amen. Mohammed Attah is the posterboy for the utter baselessness of such claims.

  • gs

    The Swedish police cracked down on homeowners who banded together to protect their property, This gives me pause regarding what kind of “extremist organization” the UK political class wants to ban.
    I suspect that the Establishment’s Saudi paymasters take precedence over the welfare of British citizens.

  • Michael Brazier

    Actually, protecting citizens’ lives from atrocities like this one while respecting their rights is quite easy. All that’s needed is to follow the American custom of letting citizens carry small arms in public, and not to treat citizens who fire at criminals worse than the criminals.

    Expanding surveillance and censorship won’t protect British subjects from Muslim terrorists with knives who kidnap and murder soldiers on camera; it will only ensure that there are detailed records of what the terrorists choose to do. On the other hand, expanding surveillance and censorship will do a great deal to silence dissenters in Britain who are not willing to proceed to violence. That is, it silences many people who ought to be heard, and does nothing to stop the people who ought to be silenced, if anyone ought. Behold the blue social model in its senescence.

    • Corlyss

      It’s been less than 20 years since the Brits stupidly embraced unilateral disarmament . It’s been only 9 years since the abolition of the death penalty became binding on Britain. While one might think both moves are easily reversed, unfortunately, it’s the EU/UN position, one the Europeans including the Brits, think they can live with easily. One might agree with that ideal if they had unlimited resources to staff police with enough cops to have a reasonable presence in communities. But they don’t. The EU’s solution is “Call 9/11 and flee and hope you out run your attacker.” When seconds matter, the police are only minutes away.

  • Corlyss

    I especially enjoyed the confusion over whether the perp had been to Kenya. The government denied he had when the source of the report had proof positive. Makes one wonder just how good the Brits system is for identifying and tracking and interdicting troublemakers before they act.

  • SteveC

    “…the UK has been exceptionally tolerant of Muslim immigrants but hasn’t quite figured out how to integrate them successfully.”

    The elite establishment in the West supported increased immigration and multiculturalism both as a way to advertise their own liberal broadmindedness and morality but also as a way to dilute the votes and influence of those who still believe in true Western values. Perhaps they thought these immigrants would become good modern liberals over time, or maybe destroying Western values was just more important to them at the time than growing their own constituency, but regardless the problems caused by these policies are becoming too great to ignore or explain away. I would encourage Mr. Mead to call out the elite establishment for the disastrous consequences of their policies.

  • Stacy Garvey

    These men weren’t immigrants. They’re British born sons’ of immigrants. What we need to be asking is what is it about modernity in Western societies the turn these useless young men into murderous idiots? Their countries demand nothing of them, provides them with “benefits”, and tolerates them as parasites. They’re purposeless until they “find” Islam which provides them with a sick kind of meaning. They obviously have no love for their countries of birth and romanticize which ever hell-hole their parents fled.

  • lord acton

    Democracy. Multiculturalism. Open immigration. Choose 2.

  • CygnusA81

    Wow, Britain wants to be more like’s Orwell’s 1984 everyday don’t they?

    What Britain needs is not more crackdown on speech, what they need to is either integrate immigrants or end immigration all together. This murder had very little to do with speech and more to with culture and how to integrate immigrants from different countries into British society. What Britain needs to do is bring back British culture.

    The problem with multiculturalism is that in my view is inherently racist since its ‘ghettos’ off huge immigrant communities from the larger society. Instead of trying to assimilate new immigrants they let immigrants set up communities where they never need or want to become anything like the larger community around them. These communities become inward, and in the case of Britain, have become radicalized to the point where they are willing to Balkanize the nation.

    The other problem is that Britain has lost itself, and is now in a cultural dark ages because of the take over by left-wing radicals of Britain’s cultural and political establishment. Very few people know what it means to be British these days. And since being ‘Britiish’ is ‘racist’ now, why should we be surprised that Islamic Fundamentalists has gotten a foothold in the Britain? I’m not surprised one bit.

  • dogwonder

    Day by day the government in England mirror HItler’s socialist party. Instead of banning Wahhabi and Salafist Islam they go after the peaceful members of society.

  • Jack Arnold

    Please show us, Mr. Meade, the protests by ‘moderate’ Muslims that always occur after ‘radical’ Muslims commit violence. Me? The only mass protest that I am aware of occurred in the Middle East after a Muslim wedding was bombed by a different Muslim sect.

    I have never, ever been aware of a mass movement of
    ‘moderate’ Muslims condemning Jihadists and the violence they commit.

    And if you validate the reasoning used to excuse Islamic violence such as poverty, lack of jobs, disrespect, ‘Islamophobia’, the killing of a Muslim by police, etc, then eventually those reasons will be used by others to justify their violent reaction towards Muslims.

    The problem in fact, the plain truth of the matter is this: Extremist Muslims want to kill us, and moderate Muslims want extremist Muslims to kill us.

  • ArmsMerchant

    Western societies need to treat Islam like we treated Communism in the 50s. Feel free to worship in your Mosque, but if your Imam advocates violence and religious intolerance (and there is no mainstream theology of Islam that does not), their mosques should be closed. If they are foreigners they should be deported. They should not be allowed positions of responsibility in the government, and denied security clearances. Governments should refuse to allow the building of mosques by foreign governments until they guarantee religious freedom in their respective countries.
    “Internet radicalization” will not lessen until there is a theology of Islam, vigorously defended and promoted by a majority of Muslims, that uncompromisingly renounces violence, forced conversions, dhimmitude, and jizya for non-believers.

  • Federale

    Alot of talk about nothing. Right now, today, thousands of Muslim extremists could be charged under various UK statutes relating to hate crimes, hate speech and such. However, prosecution of such crimes are reserved for white, Christian, Britians.

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