Friday, July 08, 2005

Gloomy thoughts of London

I don't often like Tom Friedman's NYT columns, but he has good points today. If, as seems likely, the London bombings were the work of Islamic jihadists, like those in Madrid, Bali, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere, then it's every Muslim's problem as well as ours.

Every Muslim living in a Western society suddenly becomes a suspect, becomes a potential walking bomb. And when that happens, it means Western countries are going to be tempted to crack down even harder on their own Muslim populations.
Friedman's message is that every Muslim must start seeing this as his or her problem:
...it is essential that the Muslim world wake up to the fact that it has a jihadist death cult in its midst. If it does not fight that death cult, that cancer, within its own body politic, it is going to infect Muslim-Western relations everywhere. Only the Muslim world can root out that death cult...

... the greatest restraint on human behavior is never a policeman or a border guard. The greatest restraint on human behavior is what a culture and a religion deem shameful. It is what the village and its religious and political elders say is wrong or not allowed.
If Muslims cannot or will not control their own, then inevitably they will be controlled by measures that do great damage to our democracies as well as to Muslims. Restrictions, deprivation of civil rights, mass detentions and outright expulsion are all potential consequences.

Right now it's clear that many in the Islamic communities would rather fan the flames than man the bucket brigade, but more in a future post on why it will be difficult to stop terror even should that change.