As Britain continues to wrestle with the challenge of radical Islam and its product, terrorism, on March 2, 2014, London Mayor Boris Johnson contributed a column to one of Britain's leading journals, The Sunday Telegraph, "The children taught at home about murder and bombings."
Johnson's commentary correctly placed radical Islamist ideology in the same category with pedophilia and female genital mutilation (FGM) as moral abominations with which the British political class has failed adequately to contend, and continued, "I worry that their work is being hampered by what I am obliged to call political correctness. ... There is built in to the British system a reluctance to be judgmental about someone else's culture, even if that reluctance places children at risk" – a decision, Johnson said, that led to abusers being "emboldened." Johnson continued:
We have thousands of victims [of FGM] in Britain, thousands of girls being cut every year, and yet we have managed not a single prosecution -- let alone a conviction. Again, there is that fatal squeamishness about intervening in the behavior of a 'protected group'. ... We need to be stronger and clearer in asserting our understanding of British values. That is nowhere more apparent [than] in the daily job of those who protect us all from terror -- and who are engaged in tackling the spread of extremist and radical Islam.
We are familiar by now with the threat posed by the preachers of hate, the extremist clerics who can sow the seeds of madness in the minds of impressionable young people. We are watching like hawks to see who comes back from Syria and the ideas they have picked up.
The horrific bloodshed in Syria has indeed attracted terror recruits from British and other Muslim communities, and Johnson's warning was timely. On the same day he published his column in The Sunday Telegraph -- March 2 -- one of that paper's more "progressive" competitors, The Observer, which is the weekend edition of The Guardian, reported that Moazzem Begg, 45, a resident of Birmingham, in the British Midlands, interned for almost three years as a terrorist suspect in the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was ordered held in custody for terrorism-related offences involving Syria.
Begg's arrest had been revealed by The Daily Telegraph on February 25.
CNN International stated on March 3, 2014, that Begg was "accused of providing instruction and training for terrorism and funding terrorism overseas," as disclosed by West Midlands Police. Begg is due to return to court on March 14, The Observer said.
Former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg was recently arrested on suspicion of Syria-related terrorism offences. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)
The Observer had noted that a female Birmingham resident, Gerrie Tahari, 44, was also in custody after she was similarly charged with facilitating terrorism overseas, and that two more men, aged 20 and 36, were arrested at the same time in Birmingham and held by the authorities. The original February 25 Telegraph account of the case described the 20-year old as Tahari's son.
Mayor Johnson warned of "reluctance by the social services to intervene.... A child may be taken into care if he or she is being exposed to pornography, or is being abused -- but not if the child is being habituated to this utterly bleak and nihilistic [radical Muslim] view of the world that could lead them to become murderers…"
As Johnson wrote, "Pedophilia, FGM, Islamic radicalization -- to some extent, at some stage, we have tiptoed round them all for fear of offending this or that minority. It is children who have suffered. ... The law should obviously treat radicalization as a form of child abuse."
Moderate, traditional, spiritual, and even conservative British Muslims should hearken to Johnson's message and support effective measures to curb the spread of extremist ideology among their vulnerable offspring. Not only are these practices morally abhorrent, and deserve more than the complicity of silence, but in addition, the survival of Islam as a normal component of the religious spectrum in the UK is at stake.