Sunday, July 10, 2005

"There are only two directions we can take now."

More and more Muslims finally seem to be facing up to their fair share of the mess their fanatical brethren have made of the world. Now will they turn against the primitivist monsters their religion has spawned over the past fifty years? An article in today's New York Times suggests that some British Arabs who live and work near the site of the Edgware Road bombing see the necessity for a change of mindset. One man interviewed even said he volunteered his help to the police. I wonder if they come to his door tomorrow asking him to name speakers at his local mosque who have glorified jihad, will he truly step over the line and join the modern, secular society that welcomed him, that gave him and his family the chance for peace and prosperity? Or will he shrink back into the shadows of complacency that blur the lines between friend and enemy in so many western cities today?

The article is by registration only, but here's an excerpt:
'We have to be honest and realistic with ourselves,' said Laith Abdel Fattah, a part owner of Panini Cafe, tucked on a side street a block from the bombed train station. 'We are living in an age that is simply unnatural. Is there anywhere in Islam that says you have to kill? Nowhere does it say you can take away somebody's right to live. And yet they do this in the name of Islam.'
Like many here, Mr. Abdel Fattah said he was indignant that the bombing could possibly be done in the name of his faith and his community. Out of a sense of duty, he said, he approached the police on Friday and offered any help they required.
'I wanted to show them that we too believe that what happened was unacceptable,' he said. 'There are only two directions we can take now. Either we wait and see what's coming, and that can only be bad, or we have to speak out and say unequivocally this is unacceptable. We need to show people what the right example is.'
At the Rafidain Real Estate Agency on Edgware Road, Abu Ahmad al-Sharif sat with his nephew and a friend, pondering the bombings. Mr. Sharif, an immigrant from Iraq, was riding a bus as the Edgware Road bomb went off a few blocks away from him.
The bus service was halted and he walked to work, leading him past the carnage at the Edgware Road station, where he grasped the gravity of the incident. He realized his son had taken one of the routes to work and broke into tears, then grew furious.
'In my homeland, Iraq, terrorism is no longer a surprise,' Mr. Sharif said. 'But I never imagined it could happen in a place like this. This place always seemed so far from terrorism,' he said, noting the safe harbor England has given many Iraqis.
'I blame the fathers, the mothers and the schools of these people who let them get to this point,' he said. 'It is our duty to find these groups because they are like a cancer and will only continue to grow unless we cut it from its roots.''Someone has to show them the boundary,' said Sabah al-Hamdani, who had been listening intently. 'We need to stand in their way.'

"Our duty to find these groups." Indeed, your duty is to help. Now get a bunch of your friends together and go up to Finsbury Park next Friday. Spread the word. And stop linking your outrage to being touched personally by such attacks--"He realized his son had taken one of the routes [that was bombed] ... and broke into tears, then grew furious." This kind of "what's in it for me" attitude toward terrorism reveals either profound callousness or the moral sensibility of a toddler.


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