‘One final word, and in all fairness, I must constantly remind readers, that Islam is a religion of peace, a beautiful faith, and that, the fasting month, is, when adherents strive to get closer to God.
The barbaric acts of a few, must not desecrate that Islam, is a religion of peace and goodwill!’
MALAYSIA, ASEAN AND APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE SAYS – WAR ON TERROR – YOU’RE EITHER WITH US OR AGAINST US!
November 6th 2001, post the 911 attack, President Bush went ballistic stating that “there was no room for neutrality, in the war against terrorism!”
He reiterated that that the nations of the world must decide – “You’re either with us or against us in the fight against terror.”
In a joint news conference, with the then, French President Jacques Chirac, Bush went on that coalition partners would be called upon to back up their support with action.
Bush then went on, with the same message at the United Nations!
Fast forward, June 5th 2017.
Great Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May emerging from an emergency Cobra meeting at Downing Street, as they are often also called, which is an emergency response committee, a get together of ministers, civil servants, the police, intelligence officers and others appropriate to get to grips with a thorny issue of last night’s terrorist attack, the third in three months, though thanks to the British Counter Terrorist Unit, more than 5 others prospective attacks, were prevented!
For the record, in the first, there was a car and knife attack on Westminster in March this year, which left five people dead, in the second there was a bomb attack at a concert in Manchester two weeks ago killed 22 and left others critically hurt.
And in the aftermath of Saturday evening’s attack, there was again, a weaponised vehicle and knife attack, that saw seven people killed and dozens injured.
Prime Minister May, did not mince her words or thoughts, as he laid four critical protocols Britain would need to undertake to protect it, which hereinafter, I call the ‘May 4 response!’
1. Addressing the simple evil ideology of Islamic extremism.
2. Not allowing this ideology the safe space to breed!
3. Cannot allow the safe space in the real world through military action in countries where the ideology is prevalent and taking a comprehensive action on home grown terrorists!
4. Upgrading and keeping up Britain’s Counter Terrorism Strategy and reviews and upgrading legislation.
She reiterated that though the recent attacks were no connected by organized networks, but, they are connected and bound together, by a single evil ideology of Islamic extremism, that preaches hatred, sows divisions, and promotes sectarianism.
The Prime minister stated, that it is an ideology that the Western values of freedom, democracy and human rights, are not compatible with the religion of Islam.
That defeating, this ideology, is one of the greatest challenges of our time.
She stated enough is enough!
That British society has been far too tolerant, of extremist Islam and that going forward, things had to change!
That this “brand of Islam” is a perversion of true Islam and of the truth!
And identifying it is simple – it is a brand that propagates separation, segregation and divisions in communities!
Reminds me of a certain individual, who sought foreign refuge, after warrants of arrest, were issued for him at his native country, for serious chargers, and walked with the powers that be, enjoying the glamour, high praises and protection, in a certain Asian country, extensive media attention where that individual fired salvos against those who sought his arrest but, who left to escape Interpol’s intervention and the global attention on him?
And therefore, to succeed to stump out such barbaric and inhumane thoughts and actions, the British community and stakeholders in all tiers must come together as one!
And the moment has come, not to give safe space, as the British Premier says, for terrorist to operate locally, abroad, or to be granted citizenships or permanent residence status!
That in Great Britain, there should be robust action needed to identify and stump them out, across the public sector and in society!
I was excited that Theresa May was neither apologetic nor vulnerable, and she reminded me so much of the late Margaret Thatcher, that “Iron Lady” I came to know personally and admired, during my days at law school in England, when the latter visited the University and our events!
Theresa May stated quite rightly, that this robust action, to follow will require some very difficult and embarrassing conversations!
I believe what she was alluding to, was like President Bush stated post 911 attack – and in the British context, it means, it is time for the Muslim community in Great Britain and others, elsewhere in the civilized world, in extension, to do more than what they are doing now, and the days where one can ‘hunt with the hounds and run with the hares’ are indeed over!
With the advent of technology and assets, in the air, ground and in space above, the digital footprints of terrorists and their sympathizers, are clearly readable!
And the days of providing safe havens, finances, logistics support, breeding and training grounds are over!
I am certain this is not just confined to communities in Europe, in West Asia, the Africa’s, or in Asia, where politicians can say one thing at the UN, in the international arena and conferences, and indulge in another, where domestic politics and political survival is concerned!
Prime Minister, Theresa May, has publicly called for international cooperation in bringing forward more red tape to cyberspace!
This is laudable!
And I believe it must be supplemented by cross border and international initiatives and among them, new international agreements and support, to regulate the internet and other activities in the war against terror, both international and domestic, in the light of the London Bridge terror attack!
Britain and other countries, need more legislation like the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (IPA 2016) – the so-called ‘Snooper’s Charter’ – which expands the powers of spying agencies and the Government over the internet.
Interestingly, if I am not wrong, the said legislation was initiated by Premier May, when she was Home Minister.
It was an act that required internet service providers, to maintain a list of visited websites, for all internet users for a year and gives intelligence agencies, more powers to intercept online communications.
This is vital as it allows the Police to access the stored browsing history without any warrant or court order.
One final word, in all fairness, I must constantly remind readers, that Islam is a religion of peace, a beautiful faith, and that, the fasting month, is when adherents strive to get closer to God.
The barbaric acts of a few, must not desecrate, that Islam is a religion of peace and goodwill!
Unfortunately, recent events across the world and sadly, yet again here, in Britain, a barbaric attack on soft targets during the holy month of Ramadan; raises may questions in the minds of observers and other communities and faiths!
The actions of these few, who take great delight in barbaric acts, must not draw or invite similar action against peace loving, god fearing, pious, innocent Muslims, who subscribe not to such terrorists acts!
To those with such barbaric acts, thoughts, and suffering from self-created superiority complex, I pray, they have the minimal intelligence to realize that they themselves are the ones, inflicting the most desecration on their own religion!
Surely, they cannot believe, that the fear they evoke among others, is tantamount to respect, admiration or a call to convert?
As Malaysia’s ASEAN and APEC lead consumerist and human rights advocate, I believe it is critical for Great Britain’s Premier, to state very clearly, that things cannot now go back, to the status quo.
Not after, all these barbaric attacks and fatalities!
All walks of the British community, must now come together!
It is pertinent, that immediately, these difficult and embarrassing conversations to address the true and present danger, that home grown terrorists and those who protect, aid and abet them pose, to the British society begin!
May the ALMIGHTY guide us all!