The Spectator

Letters | 13 December 2008

Spectator readers respond to recent articles

Silence over Mumbai

Sir: If Britain is still a safe haven for Lashkar-e-Taiba and Deobandi sympathisers (‘The global force behind Mumbai’s agony in our midst’, 6 December), this must place a big question mark on the government’s policy of dealing with home-grown terrorism.

The current policy seems to rest on two assumptions: namely that home-grown terrorism can be contained by propping up moderate representatives of the community to which terrorists belong; and that where a community contains both moderates and terrorists, they are implacably opposed to one another.

Both of these assumptions have been undermined by the Muslim community’s failure to demonstrate its collective anger about the carnage in Mumbai. This silence has illustrated that not only do state-funded moderate Muslims have no influence over terrorists, but that the perceived dichotomy between the two is considerably less than a chasm.

Randhir Singh Bains
Gants Hill, Essex

Al Jazeera’s ‘attackers’

Sir: A shop assistant who is offhand is readily described as ‘rude’; the person who puts his feet on a train seat attracts the word ‘lout’; similarly, a threatening, vomiting drunk in the street earns the label of ‘yob’ or ‘thug’, depending on the degree of viciousness.

Yet, as Rani Singh records (Diary, 6 December), the largely BBC-trained journalists at Al Jazeera English TV had a problem deciding what to call those who took anti-social behaviour to its bestial depths, methodically massacring the innocents of Mumbai. It should be emphasised that their victims were not caught up on the sidelines of some military engagement, but pumped with bullets and shredded by shrapnel simply because they happened to be people.

You can’t get more antisocial than depriving perfectly innocent strangers of life and limb, devastating whole families in an orgy of blood-letting as coffees were sipped, trains queued for and friends chatted.

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