there are a lot of people accusingly asking ‘what are the good Muslims doing about this’. here’s the thing. you don’t see what happens behind the scenes here. There have been many more plots by IS-inspired people disrupted, and many rely on informants or other people in the british muslim community. Like the man arrested at whitehall whose family reported him to the police before that, which is why they managed to stop him before he could hurt anyone. there are also many people running anti-radicalisation initiatives. Dealing with a dispersed threat like terrorism is always more difficult than conventional military threats; the police have to deal with a huge amount of information and it’s challenging to figure out which are credible threats. the fact that someone unfortunately got through doesn’t mean the entire country has its head in the sand or that british muslims have been passively letting this go on.
these terrorist attacks are a new phenomenon relative to how long the british muslim community has been here. this wasn’t always our image of terrorism. it is not a dramatic clash of civilisations or inherent cultural incompatibility, but a distinctly modern phenomenon spawned by 20th & 21st century geopolitical dynamics and developments. this mentality that it comes down to the inherent nature of islam being inimical to ‘western’ culture completely ignores how this type of extremism can be traced to modern developments. IS may proclaim itself a ‘caliphate’ ostensibly in homage to those of old, but they are distinctly modern in their ideological origins, manipulation of technology and tactics of violence.
after all, ‘terrorism’ in the united kingdom used to make everyone think ‘IRA’, not IS or Al-Qaeda. and as we saw from the murder of MP Jo Cox, it also comes in the far right nationalist variant. it is definitely the responsibility of all of everyone to be vigilant and report anything suspicious. it’s definitely true IS markets itself as the ‘true’ Islam and tries to recruit disaffected people from the british muslim community. but apart from that? innocent until proven guilty applies. unless we want to throw out our entire system of laws and way of life. there is a problem, but knee-jerk prejudice isn’t going to solve it. precisely when the cooperation and good ties between law enforcement and communities has been very crucial to disrupting past attacks & is exactly what we need now.
yes, i’ll freely admit i think this way because i live in a very multicultural part of south england & i was born in majority muslim seasia where my family was a minority (they’re christians). maybe people think this attitude is naivete, from being sheltered and ignorant. but you know what? it’s people in the multicultural cities of europe that are themselves at the biggest risk of terrorism in the first place- compared to the more suburban, rural parts of europe that also tend to be more ethnically homogeneous. (IS terrorists don’t check to see that all their targets are only non-muslims do they, when they decide to walk in with a bomb or mow people down?) we live it and we know it. far from being sheltered, it’s often on your mind when you go to a crowded event or step onto public transport- that what if. but we try our best to carry on because we’re not going to change our way of life because of this tiny minority.