Reid fails truth test; Biting but brilliant .. Richard Stott.
JOHN Reid was keen to emphasise he had the courage to speak to the Asian community in their own backyard about the responsibility of families to look for potential suicide bombers.
Yes, well, maybe.
Pity he didn't have the courage to admit one of the main causes. His own government's foreign policy. The trouble with denying the undeniable is it lets the fanatics in.
It's tempting to see Abu Izzadeen and Anjem Choudary as loudmouth rabble-rousers with an eye for the main chance. Both men have reinvented themselves, Izzadeen from electrician Trevor Brooks born into a Christian Jamaican family in Hackney. Choudary, an ex pot-smoking, alcohol-drinking student from Ilford. Both are committed to turning Britain into an Islamic state and have no time for democracy.
Their ranting is a tradition as old as protest itself. Take something with a grain of truth and twist it out of all proportion. So a police raid at Forest Gate becomes an excuse for shrieking at Reid that he is responsible for arresting more than 1,000 Muslims and hauling Muslim women from their beds without giving them the chance to cover themselves. He is anti-Muslim, an enemy of Islam.
The trouble is Reid himself is selective with the facts. He sold himself as being honest and straightforward. But it's hardly surprising he lost his audience when he said the invasion of Iraq and the escalation of the war in Afghanistan has nothing to do with the radicalisation of some young Muslim men.
Up-front honesty means accepting difficult facts. Men like Izzadeen are easily dismissed as nasty but harmless. We made that mistake with Omar Bakri Mohammed, now banned from Britain. The danger they pose is that if Government is not prepared to admit its own culpability, then moderate but concerned Muslims begin to see a glimmer of truth in the fanatic's rant. With that foothold it is all too easy to tempt aimless, disaffected young men down the extremist road. Very few will become suicide bombers, but they don't need many.
Reid was wrong to emphasise his courage. Real courage would have been admitting what the rest of the country knows.
The invasion of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan didn't create men like Bakri, Izzadeen and Choudary. Their brand of loony world domination has been with us for years. But it has encouraged and revived them, giving them a veneer of respectability.
That would mean Tony Blair admitting Iraq has given Britain home-grown terrorism problem unique in Europe. But that would require big, bold courage. Which is why his lips will remain resolutely sealed.
Rant... Reid & Izzadeen
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|Publication:||Sunday Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Sep 24, 2006|
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