A few days ago, the story broke in the British Press that radical Islamic tracts were being sold in 25% of the nation's mosques, including some categorized by HM Government as "mainstream". The literature called for the oppression of women, the killing of apostates and jihad against all unbelievers.
When we stop to consider that these are being directed, not toward the inhabitants of some far away land, but to the children of British Citizens right here in the islands, we might be pardoned for being more alarmed than we might have been if these tracts were found in, say, Pakistan.
Today, more bad news. According to the Times, John Evans, director of MI5, announced that:
“Terrorists are methodically and intentionally targeting young people and children in this country.
“They are radicalising, indoctrinating and grooming young, vulnerable people to carry out acts of terrorism.”
In an address to the Society of Editors in Manchester, he said: “This year, we have seen individuals as young as 15 and 16 implicated in terrorist-related activity.”
According to Evans, there is a "steady stream" of young BRITISH recruits to Al Qaida's efforts to bring violence and death to the West.
These reports indicate two important facts:
- 1) That there IS a "war on terror" to be fought. (Those on the fringes of the politically correct left will doubt this, but they do so at their peril.)
- 2) That the war on Terror, as it is currently being fought, is not a success.
If George W. Bush had gone after Bin Ladin and choked him in his lair when he had the chance, these young terrorists would have no rallying point around which to gather, and no force to exploit, and to coordinate their hatred and anger.
But of course, that is what begs the major question. WHAT is BREEDING this hate and anger in the first place. How is it that here, in the heart of the Western World, young people are being being bred who want to use flames and blood to bring us back to the 9th Century?
Make no mistake, there is a war going on...a struggle between the values of the Western Enlightenment and the forces of religious fundamentalism, prejudice, superstition and darkness.
We see these forces at work in the United States as we watch our Democracy fall prey to the machinations of the evangelical right wing.
We see these forces at work abroad in the world most obviously in the rising tide of Islamic Fundamentalism.
How then, is Western Civilization to triumph? By what combination of reason, justice (to ALL of our people- including the fundamentalists amongst us) and, yes, on occasion, shear force, are we to ensure that the world continues to move forward, and not fall back into the dark ages.