London Parliament attack: Denial, dishonesty biggest obstacles in fight against Islamist terrorism

The London terror attack on Wednesday brings attention back to the discourse around terrorism, an issue which global liberal media and politicians either suppress or banish to the fringes. That does not mean these issues lose potency. By burying its head into the sand an ostrich cannot prevent attacks — only denies itself the chance to take evasive action.

More than 12 hours into the gruesome Westminster Bridge and Parliament carnage that left five dead (including the attacker), over 40 injured and forced British lawmakers and support staff to be locked down inside the Parliament building, London police have still not released the name of the terrorist responsible for the attack.

Britain's top counter-terror officer Mark Rowley has revealed that the assailant has been identified but refused to release a name or nationality. According to BBC, he even urged investigative journalists to "show restraint" in reporting details while admitting that the attacker was "inspired by international terrorism" and "Islamist-related terrorism."

British Prime Minister Theresa May called it a "sick and depraved terrorist attack" but her comments were carried by The Washington Post under the headline: "5 dead in vehicle, knife attack at British Parliament."

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

Who are we kidding? Beyond the time required to clear reasonable doubt and investigation compulsions, what purpose is served by going slow in releasing crucial information? The only thing it succeeds in doing is to force media, which must cope with public need for information, by making erratic assumptions of the kind we saw on Wednesday night when Britain's Channel 4 erroneously blamed a hate preacher who is safely lodged inside jail.


The reaction of British Police falls into an unfortunate pattern that we have seen of late in western security establishment that lumbers its way into releasing details and appears reluctant in confirming motives of blatantly obvious Islamist terrorist attacks.

Global liberal media has duly taken the cue, carrying inane headlines such as the one carried by The Washington Post which seems to suggest that not the attacker but "vehicle and knife" carried out the attacks, as if these inanimate objects suddenly came to life.

This dishonesty — along with tactical response to terror governed by political and not humanist considerations — have thoroughly crippled the global fight against terrorism.

Instead of insuring us against attacks, it is costing more and more lives. The first step to counter Islamist terrorism is to see and call out for what it is instead of trying to suppress or downplay information. The blood on the Westminster Bridge pavement hasn't dried yet. Already we see spurious attempts to obfuscate the crime. The liberal motive is clear, even honest perhaps. But their foolishness is profound and the world is paying for it in blood.

Every Islamist terror attack triggers a familiar set of response. It is either "terror has no religion" or suggestions that the attacker was not part of a poisonous ideology but a "lone wolf" acting on his own or a mentally deranged individual.

This reflexive denial has two venomous causal effects. One, it contextualises the crime and emboldens followers of 'jihadism' into carrying out or inspiring more such attacks. Two, it creates a global backlash against followers of Islam that soon transforms into a hatred for immigrants and people of colour. We may choose to blame Donald Trump for it, but he is the symptom of the disease and liberals are the cause.


Explaining the motives behind violent jihad, California-based author Shireen Qudosi writes in Counter Jihad"Radical Islam a violent totalitarian ideology that accepts nothing less than complete submission to a skewed interpretation of faith. And that extreme application of a rigged belief system will always attack the West – until it has either achieved total destruction, total domination, or both."

The problem is, liberals are quick to label any criticism of Islamist ideology as 'Islamophobic'. This not only makes an honest discussion about 21st century's biggest scourge impossible but more damagingly, gives rise to resentment. Islamists, who follow a narrow and restricted version of their faith, then get the licence to call reformers "heretics" and liberals willingly walk into that trap.

Author Sam Harris who has earned global notoriety among liberal circles for his willingness to call spade a spade, in an interview to The Atlantic on this topic, said: "Islam is not a race, ethnicity, or nationality: It’s a set of ideas... Criticism of these ideas should never be confused with an animus toward people. And yet it is. I’m convinced that this is often done consciously, strategically, and quite cynically as a means of shutting down conversation (on) important topics."

London mayor Sadiq Khan, who took forever in coming out with a response for one of the biggest attacks to have targeted his city, had last year blamed Donald Trump for alienating Muslims. Hard questions must be asked. What new grievance narratives must the world discover every day to justify terror attacks?

Khan's boast has ended in tragedy. Last year, the London mayor had told Britain's The Independent newspaper that threat of terror attacks are "part and parcel of living in a big city." His comments were in context of New York city bombings when he said major cities around the world “have got to be prepared for these sorts of things” to happen when people least expect them.

Though it was a comment made last year, this sort of contextualising and justification of violence is as dangerous as the finger that pulls the trigger or detonates the bomb. The world is bruised enough by terrorism. It can do without its apologists.


Published Date: Mar 23, 2017 03:52 pm | Updated Date: Mar 23, 2017 04:00 pm



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