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Challenging Foreign Policy is not Terrorism


London, UK, August 13 – In an interview this morning with BBC News 24, Home Secretary, Dr John Reid, said that concerns raised by Muslims about British foreign policy were a 'dreadful misjudgement that foreign policy of this country should be drafted under the threat of terrorism'. The Transport Secretary, Douglas Alexander, denounced the accusation that British foreign policy towards the Middle East was increasing the threat of terrorism as 'dangerous and foolish'. Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said that drawing a link between government policy and the terror threat would be the 'gravest possible error'.

This dismissal of these concerns, shared by many Muslims and non-Muslims alike, has occurred despite the vast amount of evidence that substantiates these concerns. The Joint Intelligence Committee advised the government prior to the Iraq war that the terrorist threat 'would be heightened by military action against Iraq'. In June 2005, JTAC noted that 'Events in Iraq are continuing to act as motivation and a focus of a range of terrorist related activity in the UK '. The government report 'Young Muslims and Extremism' observed that a strong cause of disillusionment amongst Muslims including young Muslims is a perceived 'double standard' in the foreign policy of western governments"

Imran Waheed, a media representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir (in UK), said, 'The majority of decent people have concerns about support for brutal dictators, military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan and intransigence towards Israeli aggression in the Middle East . Expressing anger through political means is not terrorism or extremism. Silencing such criticism by labelling legitimate political grievances as 'false' is in fact 'dangerous and foolish'.'

'The government may argue that it does not want to change its foreign policy under the threat of terrorism. However, they cannot argue that it is right to maintain a foreign policy that is damaging to millions and has brought increasing instability to the world. If you support brutal dictators, you are not helping to foster stability; if you wage war without due legal or diplomatic process, you are not enhancing security; if you regard civilian life abroad as legitimate 'collateral' damage, we should not be surprised that others have displayed similar disregard for people who ride on public transport.'

'Despite the political and media hysteria faced by the Muslim community, we will continue to channel the anger about foreign policy into peaceful political work. However, we will not remain silent over the real political grievances generated by an increasingly hostile foreign policy towards the Muslim world. We would urge all people who care about bridging divides rather than widening them to look seriously at Muslim concerns and not perpetuate a state of denial that helps no one.'