Monday, 4 June 2007

A reminder

Terrorism is now an everyday word. The practice is not just on our doorstep, it's already ransacked the fridge and crapped on the carpet. I don't mean any disrespect to any of those who've suffered as a result of home-grown terrorists, far from it. I'd like to think that by now, the Great British public have woken up to the reality of religious extremists but I'm not so sure..

The terrorist threat to this country and our cherished Western, capitalist way of life is very real. Yet life goes on, in the face of extremism we hold our heads up and say, "we are not afraid, we will recover, our system works". Oh the system we take for granted (because it works), so much so that many of us can't even be bothered to vote for it anymore...

The government has got its work cut out - trying to balance security measures and civil liberties and the all important "hearts and minds" pitch against British extremism. Our leader in waiting Gordon Brown yesterday stressed the need, "To show people that we [the Labour administration] stand for freedom and democracy and the dignity of the individual".

It is not difficult to appreciate how passionate young Muslims (along with the rest of us) might find it hard to reconcille this rhetoric with personal experience and media frenzy. Free? What about proposed cameras on every street corner and wheelie bin? Democratic? We're going to have a new Prime Minister, er, but we didn't pick him. Dignity? With underfunded heath and old age care and the need for a "respect Czar" to tell us the proper way to behave...(I'm being sensationalist and overly critical, I know. Its one of the perks of living in a capitalist democracy with a free press...I love my right to a good moan)

So, the Government is busy with hearts, minds and more immediately, holding potential murderers and keeping the country safe.

Just as I encounter the word "terrorism/terrorist" everyday in news reports, documentaries or comment peices, likewise do I hear the most ignorant bluster about Islam from the mouths of otherwise intelligent human beings. Many of my contemporaries understand the literal difference between your "average Akmed" and a suicide bomber but still talk about British Muslims as if they are an unknown entity, a caste apart, wierd.

The rest of us apathetic, irrelgious lot must do our bit. Educate your heart and your mind. If you value our way of life, do not continue to stigmatise Britain's Muslim population en masse. Tolerance and cooperation shouldn't be so hard. Extremists are the dangerous minority, lets not alienate the hardworking, tax paying, very British majority.

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