The horrific attack on a young man in London will stir up a great deal of anger in the UK and that is understandable. When the Brits are attacked we all know that the effect is to solidify opinion against the aggressor, in this case, possible Jihadists type terrorists. However one has to look at the bigger picture.
In many parts of the Middle East, there are on-going conflicts, most of which have their roots in History, political and religious. There are unresolved ‘land issues,’ and of course underpinning this is the access to oil question. The latter is often the driving force h=behind much of the policies followed by the West and China.
Put these issues aside for a moment and we are still horrified at the nature of this latest attack where the young man was hacked to death in a style reminiscent of some of the video execution footage we have seen form extremist groups. The vast majority of the UK populace will be sickened by this attack, including a huge proportion of the Islamic community. There will be a backlash from misguided groups and the target will be innocent victims who are easily identified as Muslim. This is unfortunate and the PM must move quickly to prevent this happening.
At the same time, we need to acknowledge that the actions of the two ‘suspects’ do not arise from a void; they are driven by a belief that their community in the wider sense is being treated unfairly. That is a weak description of the long term problems that have led up to such attacks, both on a small scale and in a more widespread ‘war on the West.’ Such attacks happen because of the unresolved issues and we will continue to see them. Now we await the reaction of the Government and no doubt we will see counter reactions from home grown anti-Islamic groups, some of whom are nothing more than ignorant, uninformed and dangerous ‘haters.’
The history of the UK is ne whereby many groups have arrived in this ‘fortress island’ and slowly become part of the culture, going back to well before Roman times. At some stage the large Islamic group will truly feel ‘British.’ It is the minority hard-line sympathizers of Taliban-like groups that will grab the headlines and force the Government to take actions that are more designed to placate a voting public than result in any real change. To achieve a real co-existence with Islam, the Government of the UK, the USA and China, along with much of the remainder of the community of nations, must come to terms with the mistakes of history and seek a real and lasting understanding. That will involve ‘undoing’ those mistakes.
The Islamic world too will need to move away from the extremist actions that fuel a continuance of these sad events. Will we witness such an ‘accommodation’ in our life time? I guess that depends on whose life-time we are talking about!
It is hard to remain positive about the future, for all of us, while the streets of London are witness to the horrors of the last day.