Interview with Michael Radu: What the British Need to Do NowRoundup: Historians' Take
[Michael Radu is Senior Fellow and Co-Chair at the Center on Terrorism and Counterterrorism at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in
Jamie Glazov Michael Radu, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Michael Radu Thank you, Jamie.
Jamie Glazov "The Secret Organization of Al Qaeda in Europe" has claimed responsibility for the attack and has stressed the liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan as its main grievances. Isn’t this the same terror group that took credit for the Madrid bombings in March 2004? In any case, let's crystallize the picture: why London, why now?
Michael Radu I do not think it is the same group, but it follows a similar pattern, which is to create the impression that there is a centralized Al Qaeda presence in Europe. It most likely consists of a few types with Internet access.
Why London? Because London has been the main center of Islamist recruitment, indoctrination and fundraising in the West for several years now. Lately, with British-born citizens engaged in suicide bombings in Israel and Iraq, it has gone into terrorism export - as we know in the USA, from Richard Reid (the "shoe bomber") and Zakarias Moussaoui, the September 11th terrorist, recruited in London. And today, the last step, it has become the target. There are good reasons the French are talking about Londonistan."
The timing is clearly related to the G8 meeting in Scotland, and thus has been prepared for months. More immediately, bombing trains and a bus at peak hours is intended to provoke maximum casualties - just as in Madrid, March 11, 2004.
Jamie Glazov I'll be honest, I don't know why anyone would even be surprised by this. Notwithstanding Iraq and Afghanistan, this is simply the continuation of a war that started in 1979 with Khomeini's Revolution in Iran isn't it? The declaration of "Death to America" means just that -- and it includes death to those that are allied with America, right?
Michael Radu I do not think the British police and Scotland Yard are very surprised. The key question is whether the public and politicians - not hopeless newspapers like the Guardian - draw the right conclusions from this, and I am far from optimistic.
Jamie Glazov Why do you say the Newspapers like the Guardian are hopeless?
Michael Radu Because they cannot see anything wrong with the Third World and its "products" - whatever comes from there is either good ipso facto or the result of Western crimes or, at least faults. The very word "terrorism" is avoided because they think (if that is the word) that it implies an unjustified moral position. After all, the West had slavery and colonialism, hence is disqualified from judging its former victims. Basically, when one loses the confidence and pride in one's own culture, tradition and history, one disarms against fanatical believers in their own. One cannot fight something with nothing - as they (the Left) do when denying that we are fighting a civilizational conflict. Bin Laden says he fights one - The Guardian et co. deny it. It is like having a war declared against you, and your side is being killed and all the while you deny the war even exists.
Jamie Glazov The tragedy in London is a warning of its own kind. What is that warning?
Michael Radu In purely practical terms, it seems to me that the most relevant fact is that the bomber of the double-decker bus was a suicide - the first in Europe. Otherwise, it would be disturbing indeed if our authorities still need warnings.
Jamie Glazov The presence of radicalized Muslims in London is quite large isn't it? What exactly were the British doing about it? Was this just a ticking time bomb?
Michael Radu On a speculative basis I suspect the perpetrators were North Africans, most probably Algerians, of whom the UK has managed to gather quite a lot, since they are now avoiding France as too well informed, too harsh and too smart.
Algerian "political refugees" - i.e. remnants of their lost war at home - have a record of terrorism in the UK, including possession of ricin, murder of a constable, etc. They also have experience, motivation and, probably, pre-existing cells. But this is, so far, just well-educated guessing. That is a good example of British cavalier approach to the issue of "political asylum."
But it gets worse - Abu Qatada, a Palestinian, Abu Hamza (Egyptian), are prominent ideologues, religious legitimizers and recruiters, operating from London for years - and all at the taxpayers' expense, both enjoying welfare. The former was behind Algerian GIA's mass massacres, the latter behind Yemen kidnappings and murders of tourists; none is a citizen. And yet, when Blair interned them - he cannot send them back because, God forbid, they may be mistreated, the House of Lords forced their release under EU "human rights" legislation. Compare that with France, where imams advocating wife beating are routinely sent back to Algeria.
One may add that the radicalization of British Muslims is not new - it has been demonstrated most recently in the parliamentary elections, when Galloway, Saddam's apologist, was elected in a district with a huge Muslim population - against the incumbent black/Jewish Labor MP.
Jamie Glazov There has been word floating around that London served as a prime target for terrorism because the terrorists are experiencing a lot of trouble getting into the United States. Is this true? It must be because the U.S. hasn't experienced an attack since 9/11. What has the U.S. done right and what is England doing wrong? Why does it take an attack to wake up the need for logical and common sense security in a war that we are already in?
Michael Radu We have demonstrated a lot more common sense than the Brits, have an ocean between us and Europe, and have a different structure of the Muslim population than the Europeans. The Patriot Act would never have passed through the Parliament.
Jamie Glazov What do you mean we have “a different structure of the Muslim population”? And why would a Patriot Act not pass through the Parliament?
Michael Radu For instance only 25% of Arab Americans are Muslim - but more than 90% of Arabs in Europe are Muslim. The Pakistani, Algerian, Yemeni and Saudi Americans- those being the richest terrorist recruiting cultures - are relatively few here but in the millions in Europe.
Some 40% of American Muslims are native black converts - who tend to be moderate or, like the Nation of Islam, not Islamic at all. And then there are the total numbers - some 2-3 million Muslims here, out of a total population of 280 million - but less , in absolute terms , than in France (pop. 60 million) and only slightly more than in the UK.
The UK has to obey EU "human rights" inanities from Strassbourg, we do not; London has never tried to assimilate its minorities; we did, at least until recently. UK has refused to extradite an accused terrorist to…France, because British judges think the French may...abuse him. I could go on and on.
In the US immigrant Muslims tend to be middle class or better in terms of education and income - in Europe Muslims tend to be mostly poor or members of the underclass.
Jamie Glazov Yes, there are Muslims that condemn attacks such as this one in London. The Free Muslims Against Terrorism, for instance, should be commended for coming out so quickly to condemn this attack. But overall, there is deafening silence coming from the Muslim community at large in terms of denouncing this terrorism and the killing of innocents. If Islam is a religion of peace and this terrorism is against Islamic law, where are the world's Muslims ferociously repudiating these terrorists for slandering their religion by carrying out terrorist acts on behalf of Islam? The Free Muslims Against Terrorism "calls on the silent majority of Muslims to stand up against the terrorists who commit evil in their name." Who are the "silent majority" and why are they silent?
Michael Radu I am afraid that, in Britain, like here, although perhaps not in France, the Muslim majority feels a mistaken sense of solidarity with the Islamists, takes a defensive- but indefensible - position, and is still influenced by radical victimologists, some with suspect agendas. And then there is the media - always ready to find explanations, "root causes", etc., all of which makes it difficult for ordinary Muslims to take a clear position. When President Bush and Tony Blair persist in avoiding putting a face on terrorism - Islamist - why would a Muslim do otherways?
Jamie Glazov Now I don't mean to minimize the suffering of the victims and the seriousness of what happened in London, but this is really nothing in terms of what is ahead. A couple buses, a subway. . . yes, terrible, and the loss of life is terrible. We send our condolences to all the families of the victims. But all of this will be considered a golden age by the next generation. The problem and reality is that in the near future a whole city is going to be taken out with a nuclear bomb by these psychopaths unless we take some serious and harsh preemptive measures.. What, you think the Mullahs in Iran are gonna blink an eye when and if they have WMD capability and al Zarqawi and bin Laden will offer to drop a WMD on Washington or Tel Aviv? How far away are we from that potential nightmare scenario?
Michael Radu I have no idea. It is a matter of capabilities, not willingness. The problem with Iran is that the risk of getting caught may be too high even for the mullahs. On the other hand, one should not overestimate the skills of intelligence of the terrorists - in Spain they got caught very fast -and Spain was not prepared to deal with Islamists at all. Nor is the number of fatalities the most important element. After all, in the Netherlands two assassinations led to what amounts to a cultural revolution, dramatic changes in immigration and asylum policies, a reassessment of "multiculturalism" and even of what "tolerance" means.
Jamie Glazov The Left, of course, will be celebrating this attack. Earlier you mentioned George Galloway. He has even called for an alliance between the Left and radical Islam. The likes of Galloway and Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky – all of them will clearly be rubbing their hands in glee because of this attack in London, and, of course, instead of denouncing the terrorists who have taken innocent life, they will be blaming everything on Bush and Blair. This is clearly a pathology like no other. What is your diagnosis of this mordid psychology that permeates the Left?
Michael Radu The Left will claim that London was targeted because of Iraq. Galloway aside - he is far more sinister - the others are so alienated from their own society and culture that they have built a conceptual prison of their own, from which they cannot escape. What will happen in The Guardian, Independent, perhaps The New York Times, will be a repetition of the same futile search for "root causes" - Palestinians, Iraq, dictatorships in the Muslim world "supported" by the US, etc. No attack anywhere will change that - they seek to fit the square peg of Islamist religious radicalism into the circle of political differences - and fail into irrelevance even further.
Jamie Glazov I am afraid we disagree on this. I don't think the Left is irrelevant at all; it controls much of our culture and is inflicting tremendous damage to our security. David Horowitz's book Unholy Alliance has demonstrated this fact pretty well and the overall reality is reflected in his data base discoverthenetworks.org. But our purpose here today is not to get into a debate about the relevancy of the Left. Instead, let's just touch a bit mote on the mentality of the Left. Dr. Radu, when someone like Galloway calls for an alliance between Islamic radicalism and the Left, what is he thinking? The Left is supposed to be for women's rights and gay rights, minority rights etc. How can the Left ally itself with the most barbaric, gay-hating, women-hating, minority-hating and democracy-hating force on this earth? And how does it do so without any shame and without even being called on this grotesque shamelessness in the mainstream media?
Michael Radu You are both right and overstating the case. Yes, Ivy League students adore Chomsky almost as much albeit not quite as much as the Europeans, but not the voters, most of whom never heard of him.
As for the Left - Islamist nexus, the Left is caught in its own contradictions - it has to be "tolerant" for the sake of homosexuals and other pressure groups, but it also has to be anti-capitalist and ultimately anti-democratic, and that is where the twain shall meet. Ossama himself has blamed the USA for rejecting Kyoto, not because he loves clean air but because he may need elements of the loony Left to help occasionally. Which is what the remnant of the Red Brigades in Italy have promised to do, to give an instance. But, by and large, the threat from the Left is less from sympathy with Islamist terrorism but from hostility to any counter-terrorist action. Just as the anti-anti-communists did more damage than the pro-communists.
Jamie Glazov I think the Left sympathizes with Islamist terrorism because it represents nihilistic destruction, which is the Left’s greatest yearning. But we’ll save this discussion for another time.
Dr. Radu, you are one of the West’s most respected experts on terrorism. Let’s suppose Prime Minister Blair calls you tonight and asks: "Dr. Radu, I need your advice. What do I do to protect my homeland better and what do I do to fight terrorism more effectively overall, at home and abroad?" What do you tell him?
Michael Radu a) Stop being politically correct and define the enemy clearly - it is Islamism. If established Muslim groups persist in opposing common sense measures to counter terrorism, make it clear that that amounts to indirect support for it, never mind the declared intentions.
b) Completely reform the asylum and immigration policies;
c) Either legalize indefinite internment for non-citizen radicals, or extradite them. If that requires changes in the EU human rights legislation or UK rejection of it, so be it.
d) Criminalize recruiting and indoctrination of radicals by UK residents.
E) Learn from the French - yes, from the French.
Jamie Glazov What is it exactly that the French have done right?
Michael Radu They have learned from the wave of Islamic terror in France in the mid-1990s. For instance, imams coming to France now must speak French; the process of training them in France has began; imams preaching anti-Semitism or the murder of "infidels" are often expelled….expeditiously; at government instigation, a French Council of the Muslim Religion (Conseil français du culte musulman - CFCM) has been established, institutionalizing the dialogue with the authorities; mosques, whether legal or illegal, are under permanent surveillance; suspected terrorists are detained for longer periods, and the simple intention to join or have association with terrorists is a crime.
Jamie Glazov How do you envision what will happen in England in particular and in the war on terror in general in the next several years?
Michael Radu My crystal ball is clouded. The public may realize that there is a problem, and so could the opposition. That may help some counterterrorism and immigration/asylum reform measures have an easier time in Parliament. It took two assassinations for the ultra-tolerant Dutch to see the light - perhaps 40 dead could do the same for the British.
Jamie Glazov Dr. Radu, it was a privilege and an honor to speak with you today. Thank you for providing us with your wisdom on such short notice.
Michael Radu Thank you, Jamie. It was a pleasure.
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