Targeting Islamic Extremism
The MI6 warns Britain this week that home-grown Islamist suicide bombers will plague the country for at least a generation. How did we get to this point? Well, the security "improvements" Western governments have taken in the last decade or so following the 9/11 attacks haven't helped much.
If someone were to reverse-engineer these changes and imagine how they came about, it might go something like this:
The state's security apparatus wonks call a representative from the Confucian Historical Society into the room. "Terrorists are threatening our fundamental freedoms," the government man says. "They're targeting our airliners, subway networks... We have to do something about it. So from now on, we're going to look a lot harder at what you guys are up to. Tighter security at our airports. Background checks. Behavioral profiling to determine who the real threats are..."
"Just a second," the Confucian interrupts. "We aren't the ones blowing up planes and buses. Pretty much the only ones doing that are radicalized Muslims. Why are you focusing on us?"
The second government man in the room starts nodding. "Actually, I guess he's right. That's funny. Who's idea was it to bring these guys in?"
The scene plays out again and again. The government security agents bring in some Catholics. Then it's a group of Reform Rabbis. The Episcopalian Soccer League. Jews for Jesus. Stock traders. Trade unionists. The Rotary Club. The Communist Party. The Maoist League. Christian Scientists. Peruvian dog trainers. Scandinavian herring herders.
Again and again, each group says the same thing: "Look, we all want to be safe. But assuming your security budget isn't infinite and you're going to target whoever's actually causing the problem, why would you spend all your resources focusing on us?
"We're not the ones trying to blow up planes, trains and all the rest of it. But in the last 10 years, we've seen more than 16,000 attacks from radicalized Muslims. You know, the type that mixes religion and political ideology to inspire actual violence? Hijackings. Bombings. Stabbings. You've heard of these people?"
The second G-man nods each time the inevitable push-back comes. "You know, you're right. This approach isn't making sense. Maybe we ought to change our approach."
The security apparatus finally brings in former Muslim4UK (until it was banned) co-founder and forthright Islamist wack-job Anjem Choudary for an interview. "So here's the deal," the first security man says. "We've got a problem with terrorism. And from now on, we're going to target you radicalized guys..."
Anjem shrugs and doesn't let him finish. "Why would you focus on people like me? Anyone can commit terrorism."
"But we've already talked to every other group out there," says the first G-man. "They're not the ones carrying out these attacks."
"But they could," Choudary insists.
"But they don't," says the first G-man, trying to hold his ground.
"But they could," Choudary repeats.
The second G-man nods. "I guess you're right, too. We really shouldn't single any group out. That would be bigoted."
"Quite right, kafir," Choudary says with a grin. "Quite right. Can I go now?"
And that's how we ended up with a security system that treats everyone from three-year olds and elderly nuns to actual psychotic radicalized freaks as an equal threat. It's a system where Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist wannabes get jobs with British Airways.
How's that working out for you?
Jonathon Narvey is the Editor of The Propagandist