Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, head of MI5, placed her own role in fighting terrorism as one of a package of measures. She concluded her speech this week by saying:
That brings me on to my final point. None of this can be tackled by my Service alone. Others have to address the causes, counter the radicalisation, assist in the rehabilitation of those affected, and work to protect our way of life.
My Service is dedicated to tackling the deadly manifestations of terrorism. Tackling its roots is the work of us all.
She also spoke about the role of foreign policy:
There has been much speculation about what motivates young men and women to carry out acts of terrorism in the UK. My Service needs to understand the motivations behind terrorism to succeed in countering it, as far as that is possible. Al-Qaida has developed an ideology which claims that Islam is under attack, and needs to be defended.
This is a powerful narrative that weaves together conflicts from across the globe, presenting the West's response to varied and complex issues, from long-standing disputes such as Israel/Palestine and Kashmir to more recent events as evidence of an across-the-board determination to undermine and humiliate Islam worldwide. Afghanistan, the Balkans, Chechnya, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Kashmir and Lebanon are regularly cited by those who advocate terrorist violence as illustrating what they allege is Western hostility to Islam.
The video wills of British suicide bombers make it clear that they are motivated by perceived worldwide and long-standing injustices against Muslims; an extreme and minority interpretation of Islam promoted by some preachers and people of influence; and their interpretation as anti-Muslim of UK foreign policy, in particular the UK's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Killing oneself and others in response is an attractive option for some citizens of this country and others around the world.
Although Dame Eliza calls it a "perceived" injustice, she did admit there is a lot of material to work with. If it's just a problem of perception, then it suggests that all that is needed is an uberspindoctor to put everyone right. Rather, some change of policy would be a rather more concrete measure.
One other very noteworthy point was this:
We also need to understand some of the differences between non-Western and Western life-styles; and not treat people with suspicion because of their religion, or indeed to confuse fundamentalism with terrorism.
Something that David Cameron would do well to understand. Despite quoting from the speech, the Tory leader writes in today's Sunday Times about the governement's approach to terrorism:
The final change needed is a much more rigorous approach to combating Islamic fundamentalism. The government seems confused as to what fundamentalism actually is. On the one hand ministers — perfectly reasonably — express concern about women who wear the veil while teaching. On the other hand they pay for extremist preachers of hate such as Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who supports suicide bombings, to attend conferences.
We need to embrace genuinely moderate Muslims, the majority who love Britain and want to live in peace, while confronting the fundamentalists. Those who distance themselves from terrorism while seeking to radicalise young Muslims into despising the West are part of the problem. Groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir should be banned.
The Sunday Times reporter Abul Taher also seems equally confused. In yet another article from him on the "Islamist" threat, four universities have apparently been infiltrated:
Sheikh Musa Admani believes fundamentalists are bypassing campus bans on groups with radical links by presenting themselves as “ordinary Muslims” to fellow students or forming societies with alternative names.
Some students, says Admani, have been so deeply indoctrinated that they are close to travelling to Afghanistan and Iraq to engage in jihad, or holy war.
Admani, a Muslim chaplain at London Metropolitan University, runs a charity that helps to rehabilitate young men who have fallen prey to extremism. He is also an adviser on Muslim affairs to Bill Rammell, the higher education minister.
“We are dealing with people filled with hatred,” said Admani. “It’s hatred for the white man and the West in particular, because they have read the works of Qutb and Maududi (Islamist ideologues followed by Al-Qaeda) who set Muslims apart from everyone else.”
If people having read these books is an example of extremism, I can imagine Musa Admani is a busy man indeed. It's not the first time that he has been seen criticising Maulana Maududi - he also appeared in John Ware's documentary talking about ideologies from the East that are "alien to Islam in the first place".
This from a man who was educated in the Dar-ul-Uloom system in India. Glass houses and all that sir.