Written by Edward Langley and Marina Lademacher
Destroying ISIS and eliminating extremism requires a two-pronged strategy; defeating the ISIS soldiers abroad in Raqqa, and preventing any radicalisation from occurring in the UK. These must be done in conjunction because whilst air strikes may be necessary in eliminating ISIS soldiers, this is not a long term solution for getting rid of extremism. You can’t bomb an ideology. Even if we did manage to, in the words of President Trump “bomb the shit out of them” and succeed in destroying ISIS for good, another group would spring up in its place. Just as ISIS came after Al-Qaeda, it’s a short term strategy when we should be looking for a long term plan.
On preventing extremism from occurring in the UK- an issue that should be taken especially seriously seeing as all three of the attacks since March were carried out by ‘homegrown’ killers- there are two general schools of thought. Obviously everyone has their own individual beliefs, so these differing camps are actually more akin to two sides of a spectrum wherein most people lie somewhere near the middle. However for convenience sake, we shall label these the ‘Jeremy Corbyn response’ and the ‘Daily Mail response’…
As everyone knows, Jeremy Corbyn’s response is essentially: embrace Muslim communities in this time of turmoil for all, and it can be summarised in one word; unity. It is grossly exaggerated by his critics as ‘sipping tea with the terrorists’ based on his willingness to engage with the other side. But while Corbyn was condemned for publicly arguing in favour of the need to engage with the IRA during the Troubles, the Thatcher and subsequent Major governments who criticised him were conducting private talks with the IRA in secret and it was that precise engagement that paved the way to peace talks. Corbyn’s approach is one of promoting tolerance and trying to deal with the root problems: not just the foreign interventions in Iraq and Libya that provided the fertile conditions for ISIS to grow in the first place, but our deeply fractured society that has had the unfortunate effect of distrust, fear, and sometimes hatred, between communities.
On the other side, we have the Daily Mail response, generally espoused by Paul Nuttall, Katie Hopkins and President Trump weighing in from across the pond. This approach consists generally of blaming the Muslim communities for not doing enough and ramping up efforts to exclude those communities whether through Trump’s travel ban, mass deportations, mass surveillance or simply silencing them as Katie Hopkins tried when she tweeted to Sadiq Khan ‘We do not want to hear a single word from you. Not one word. London Bridge has fallen down on your watch, son’.
What most people in both camps do agree on is that military intervention in Iraq and Libya has been a significant factor behind the rise of ISIS. George Bush, Tony Blair and David Cameron are largely to blame for their reckless foreign policy decisions which both created and exacerbated the vacuum that formed ISIS in the first place. More leaders who understand this and won’t fall for the same hawkish traps are needed, perhaps one good reason why Hillary Clinton is not in the White House. While it is short-sighted to attribute interventionism as the main cause of terror, it is forward-thinking to consider new approaches to the War on Terror. Approaches that do not involve crusades based on deception and oil motives, or the destabilising of entire societies, but instead actually address the range of perverted causes underlying terrorism. Those causes have to be fostered somewhere, and the UK prison system is one such place where Islamic extremism can thrive. But alas, whatever the reasons are, the damage is done and so time is better spent not discussing the causes of the mess, but instead how to clean up the mess that has been made.
So why is Jeremy Corbyn better suited to clean up this mess? It’s simple, he understands the problems and he has the solutions. To see why Corbyn is the man for the job, we must look at what ISIS want to achieve in the first place. ISIS want a race war, a modern day ‘crusade’ between the jihadists and the non-believers. They want to achieve this by pitting Western society against Islam so that Muslims are forced to choose a side, either join ISIS or face death. But they can’t do it alone. They know if that if they’re going to recruit new members they need to drive Western Muslims away from the countries they’ve settled into to so they ‘join the fight’. How do they achieve this? By making Muslims feel as if they’re not welcome in their home country. A recent Economist article elaborates:
“IS has said that it wants to force sympathetic Muslims out of a “greyzone” in which they do not fully embrace the jihadists’ “caliphate” because they still feel loyalty to the country where they live. If so, IS can use extreme violence to provoke an official clampdown and to feed the indiscriminate suspicion of Muslims. With repeated attacks in France over the past two years and horrific cruelty this week, IS may be trying to trigger an anti-Muslim backlash that it can exploit to drive sympathisers into its arms.”
(It should be noted that their barbaric agenda of terror is waged not just against Westerners, but actually predominately against Muslims unfortunate enough to live near their bases. These are civilians who face their day to day life under the grip of ISIS, where violence and cruelty reign supreme and bombs rain on their homes. These are the people who would do anything to flee and settle somewhere safe, but we know it isn’t that simple…)
ISIS’s priority is to create as much division in the Western world as possible, especially at crucial times such as elections. After the Manchester bombing the vice-chair of Stroud Labour party, Debbie Hicks, was suspended for tweeting that the timing of the attack was convenient for Theresa May’s chances. Of course it would be absurd to suggest that Theresa May’s is in anyway to blame for the attacks for calling the election, but let’s not pretend it doesn’t help her chances against the “weak on terrorism” Jeremy Corbyn. We remain in pure speculation mode here, but there have already been two major terrorist attacks during this general election campaign and in France there was an attack only a couple of days before the election that was also seemingly coincidentally timed. No one knows for certain what the motivations were behind the terrorists, even asking their close relatives or friends would not begin to crack that shell. They’ll all have differing levels of contributing factors that led them to become evil enough to carry out these twisted and perverted atrocities, mental health issues and plenty of deep-seated anger being some factors, but there’s another that unites them all: a strict adherence to jihadism. This can’t be confused with a strict belief in Islam- the Manchester killer drank and took drugs which is forbidden in Islam and the London attacks happened when real Muslims were praying. Rather, its is a dedication to ISIS, their extremist beliefs, and in particular their hatred of the West. If it is ISIS’s goal to stoke as much division as possible, we can only expect their self-proclaimed “soldiers” to try and cause major divisions when they feel necessary.
ISIS wants us Westerners to hate Islam. They want us to hate the Muslim communities that live with us. And wouldn’t it be perfect for them if we did their dirty work for them, by driving out these communities away from us into their arms. Anger and hatred are potent tools, and ISIS know that more than anything, they’ve harnessed anger and hatred to get to where they are now and its the only way they’ll carry on in the future. The last thing ISIS want to see is happy Muslims, embraced into Western communities and co-existing peacefully amongst people of other faiths. This is the dream Martin Luther King had and it’s a society we are able to create if everyone really tries. We can’t give up on that vision just because ISIS and Katie Hopkins want us to.
In her statement after the London Bridge and Borough Market attacks the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, said: “The last thing we need is people over-reacting or taking out their frustrations on people in other communities or in their own communities.” She’s not saying that for no reason, nor to appease the politically correct, nor simply out of a sense of humanity or decency. She said it because she knows what she is talking about and knows that you can’t fight fire with fire, or hate with hate in this instance. She knows that we need Muslims on our side to purge the world of extremism. Alienating them is completely the wrong answer.
Jeremy Corbyn is the antithesis of what ISIS want. They’d love us to elect a Trump, someone they can use in their recruitment propaganda, a complete idiot who doesn’t understand the situation and who will do the work for them. Luckily, the British people aren’t faced with a Trump card like the French and Dutch were in their elections earlier this year. We have a binary choice between May and Corbyn, so you might be wondering what’s wrong with Theresa May? Well, it’s your vote so it’s your decision. But it’s not just those on the left who think May is doing a poor job on battling terrorism and extremism. Steve Hilton, David Cameron’s good friend and former director of strategy who also played an integral role in the Leave campaign, has called for May to resign tweeting that she is “responsible for security failures of London Bridge, Manchester, Westminster Bridge. Should be resigning not seeking re-election”. Hilton went on to tweet that “Theresa May blame-shifting again. her spin doctors attack MI5, but she was in charge of them for years…”
We have Theresa May’s record to judge her against. Since Theresa May became Home Secretary in 2010, the police budget has been slashed, austerity cuts have left our streets with 21,500 fewer police officers and 1,000 fewer specialist armed police officers. Whenever people bring up these figures, the annoying and inevitable question (usually asked by Sky news) is: Are you saying that if these cuts weren’t made, the attacks wouldn’t have happened? What a stupid question. Of course no one is saying that. The police response to the attacks was nothing but fast, brave, efficient and heroic. But we need to give the police the resources they require, only something Labour is pledging to do. Peter Kirkham, the former senior Metropolitan police officer recently said “The police service is in crisis as a result of the cuts. They’re being dragged from pillar to post. We hear talk of extra police officers on the street. They’re not extra, they’re officers that have had their rare leave days cancelled, they’ve had their 12-hour shifts that are now done routinely extended into 16 hours.” Theresa May’s slapdash response to the Manchester attack was to call in the armed services to protect Buckingham Palace and Downing Street, showing her priorities lie not exactly with protecting the people but rather perhaps her own skin.
Then there’s the Saudi arms deal. Here are some facts: A Home Office report on terror funding that has been in the pipeline for years is still yet to be released on the basis of it holding ‘sensitive’ information. It is widely believed that this is because it points the finger at Saudi Arabia for funding ISIS. The Conservative government recently signed a £3.5 billion pound arms deal with the Saudi Arabian government. The Home Secretary, live in a televised debate, then said that the arms deal was ‘good for industry’. How can we expect the right action from May when this Conservative government refuses to even release a commission into the funding of terrorism abroad? Is it such political suicide for a government to admit fault? There is such reluctance on the part of politicians to say when they have been wrong in order to peddle the fantasy that politicians are above responsibility, rather than accepting it. Yet, voters are not blind to the realities. Undoubtedly it would be embarrassing for Mrs May to retreat on her stated position on Saudi arms contracts, but it would certainly be the right thing for the good of the country, which she so often claims to care about. But what is more embarrassing for the fabric of our nation is that the UK is the second biggest arms exporter in the world- worse still we export to 21 of 30 countries on the human rights watch list. What a record indeed.
It isn’t just Theresa May who’s clearly not fully grasped the problem of extremism, her whole Cabinet is in disarray. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon was left flustered after an interview in which he condemned a quote about the Iraq war being at the root of our terror problems which he assumed was made by Jeremy Corbyn, but was actually made by his colleague Boris Johnson. You should watch it, it’s comedy gold.
But this isn’t the time to be laughing, however funny it is to see Michael Fallon floundering on live TV. Another person who makes everyone laugh and also very depressed when you find out they have a lot of power is the USA’s Clown-in-Chief, President Trump. Let’s laugh at some of his densely stupid tweets after the attacks in the UK. Trump tweeted that those pushing gun control in the US were ‘silent’ because the attack didn’t involve guns, he didn’t seem to realise however that in the UK we don’t have gun attacks precisely because we have gun control. LOL, what a dumbass. But he moved into even thicker territory when he criticised Sadiq Khan by taking his statement completely out of context. “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’” Trump tweeted excitedly after the news broke. The actual statement from Sadiq Khan said: “Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. There’s no reason to be alarmed by this.” Poor Sadiq, but the abuse he received from Trump and Katie Hopkins proves that Islamophobia against decent, sensible and moderate Muslims is just far too common-place in our society.
You may disagree with this all, maybe it’s just some loony left-wing snowflakery. But if you do disagree, then please at least come up with a working alternative. Because it’s easy to seem very clever by pointing the blame at Islam without coming up with any solutions. Take this recent Spectator article.
The author states that the solution is easy, so simple in fact that it can be condensed into two words: ‘Less Islam’. Big round of applause for this chap, he’s just gone and bloody solved it! Let’s just make him Prime Minister, he’s obviously got the answers. But in all seriousness, what are we meant to do to achieve ‘less Islam’? Forcibly convert them? Kill them all en masse à la Katie Hopkins? He produces no solution whatsoever. All the strengths and virtues of an Eton and Oxford education has led to the author able to point his finger at the perceived problem but unable to produce any answers. Maybe because then that’s when his ideas become a little more unsavoury, or maybe he just hadn’t thought it though. Piers Morgan in a much fairer article for the Daily Mail asked Muslims to do more to root out extremism. He compared it to pedophilia in Catholic churches since he is Catholic himself, and said he wanted answers just as much when his own community was going through upheaval. Now these are two very different subjects, probably the one thing worse than pedophilia is terrorism. Sure, the case can be made that like Jimmy Saville and the BBC, people didn’t report him because they wouldn’t be listened to, or because they were too scared. But in these incidents the answer was never ‘less Catholicism’ or ‘less Top of the Pops’. What the author doesn’t seem to grasp is that by blaming normal Muslims and stoking divisions, he is driving these people whose help we desperately need away.
I realise I have probably mentioned Katie Hopkins too many times- giving her attention is never a good idea because it’s also her oxygen. However she embodies the hatred, racism and venom that lingers in our society. Whether she means it or not is irrelevant, the fact is she literally makes money from sparking controversy. But don’t fall for her shit. Even Fox News and Nigel Farage had to distance themselves from her recently when she appeared on the network and called for internment camps, Farage said of the matter “I’m not sure that that is the right approach, because the big danger with that is we might alienate decent, fair-minded Muslims in Britain”, and Fox later issued an apology, labelling the remarks reprehensible.
Here’s what we really need: less intolerance, less division, less fear, more unity, more harmony, more understanding, more love, more peace, and, flowing naturally from that, will come less extremism and less terrorism.