‘Would you say the same thing about Jews? Gays? Or any other minority?’ This is one of the witless questions asked of anyone who writes about Islamic extremism. And it is a fascinating point in a way, taking in – as it does – everything other than the facts.
Yesterday another radical Muslim cell in the UK was found guilty of terrorism offences. Irfan Naseer, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali had hoped to carry out a wave of suicide bombings in Britain which would have exceeded 7/7 and rivalled 9/11 in terms of impact and casualties. They were radical Islamists, inspired by radical Islamist preachers and had travelled to Pakistan to receive training in bomb-making with the aim of blowing up British people. Troublingly, as the Mail reports:
‘Nobody in the bomb plotters’ own community tipped the police off with their concerns, despite finding out they were sending young men to terror training camps in Pakistan.
At no point during the 18-month investigation by the West Midlands counter-terrorism unit did anyone in Birmingham’s Muslim community inform on the behaviour of Irfan Naseer, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali, raising questions over the health of relations between officers and community leaders.
This was despite the fact the families of four other young men recruited from Sparkhill all intervened to bring them back home the moment they found out the real reasons for them travelling to Pakistan.
Detective Inspector Adam Gough, senior investigating officer, said the extended families of the four men had ‘become aware’ of why they went to Pakistan but, in any case, ‘did not tell us’.’
Now, of course the vast majority of Muslims are as disgusted by the actions of these extremists as everybody else is. But perhaps I can bat the ‘you wouldn’t say this’ question back to some people.