Thomas Friedman warns that “when Al-Qaeda-like bombings come to the London Underground, that becomes a civilizational problem. 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”.
And what solution does he propose? The need for a vigorous defence of civil liberties, perhaps? No, Friedman argues that the central problem is that Muslims have been “derelict in condemning the madness of jihadist attacks”. Unless they change their ways, and “take on, delegitimize, condemn and isolate the extremists in their midst”, Muslims will only have themselves to blame for the resulting crackdown.
In the same issue, Peter Bergen warns of the threat posed to the US by UK-based terrorists, who have been drawn to Britain by its “relatively permissive asylum laws”. Bergen cites a figure of 10,000 to 15,000 Al-Qaida supporters in Britain, based mainly on the fact that 10,000 Muslims attended a 2003 conference held by Hizb ut-Tahrir – an organisation which of course specifically repudiates Al-Qaida and its methods.