Monday, April 26, 2004

In this former industrial town north of London, a small group of young Britons whose parents emigrated from Pakistan after World War II have turned against their families' new home. They say they would like to see Prime Minister Tony Blair dead or deposed and an Islamic flag hanging outside No. 10 Downing Street.

They swear allegiance to Osama bin Laden and his goal of toppling Western democracies to establish an Islamic superstate under Shariah law...

This is from an eye-opening article titled "Militants in Europe Openly Call for Jihad and the Rule of Islam" in today's edition of the NYT. What is especially disturbing is that these sentiments are coming not from recent immigrants but from Arab-Britons that have lived in the country for a while:

On working-class streets of old industrial towns like Crawley, Luton, Birmingham and Manchester, and in the Arab enclaves of Germany, France, Switzerland and other parts of Europe, intelligence officials say a fervor for militancy is intensifying and becoming more open.

Some Muslim recruits are going to Iraq, counterterrorism officials in Europe say, but more are remaining home, possibly joining cells that could help with terror logistics or begin operations like the one that came to notice when the British police seized 1,200 pounds of ammonium nitrate, a key bomb ingredient, in late March, and arrested nine Pakistani-Britons, five of whom have been charged with trying to build a terrorist bomb...

The openness of the calls for jihad against the western world is alarming. I would have expected that there would be a few imams in England who would preach this sort of thing; but when these people feel comfortable enough to issue a public call for the overthrow of the government and the establishment of Sharia law in Britain, its an indication that their views are considered legitimate in the British Muslim community.

I hate to say it, being an immigrant myself, but the way to fight this is immigration reform. The western countries should be more selective about where their immigrants come from -- and they should profile the immigrants to weed out anyone who has the slightest possibility of being a fundamentalist. Further, how about revamping deportation laws? There should be no legal restrictions on deportation -- that way militants who openly advocate the overthrow of the government can be sent away without any legal burden.

Of course, these policies will adversely affect thousands of immigrants who do not belong to the above category -- immigrants who will be unfairly penalized due to the action of a select few -- immigrants like myself. But its a reasonable price to pay. What exactly is the alternative? Allow the number of people who hold the above sentiments to grow unchecked?


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