Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Trouble Within Islam

LONDON – There is only one view of the murder of the British soldier Lee Rigby on a south London street three weeks ago: horrific.
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CommentsBut there are two views of its significance. One is that it was an act by crazy people, motivated in this case by a perverted notion of Islam, but of no broader significance. Crazy people do crazy things, so don’t overreact. The other view is that the ideology that inspired the murder of Rigby is profoundly dangerous.

CommentsI am of the latter view. Of course, we shouldn’t overreact. We didn’t after the July 7, 2005, attacks on London’s public-transport system. But we did act. And we were right to do so. Our security services’ actions undoubtedly prevented other serious attacks. The “Prevent” program in local communities was sensible.

CommentsThe government’s new measures seem reasonable and proportionate as well. But we are deluding ourselves if we believe that we can protect the United Kingdom simply by what we do at home. The ideology is out there. It is not diminishing.

CommentsConsider the Middle East. Syria now is in a state of accelerating disintegration. President Bashar al-Assad is brutally pulverizing entire communities that are hostile to his regime. At least 80,000 people have died, there are almost 1.5 million refugees, and the number of internally displaced persons has risen above four million. Many in the region believe that Assad’s aim is to cleanse the Sunni from the areas dominated by his regime and form a separate state around Lebanon. There would then be a de facto Sunni state in the rest of Syria, cut off from the country’s wealth and access to the sea.

CommentsThe Syrian opposition comprises many groups. But the fighters associated with the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra are generating growing support – including arms and money from outside the country.

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