Overnight Britain had a video warning from al-Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri that his terrorist group was preparing a "very precise response" to the recent knighthood for Salman Rushdie. Conservative Member of the European Parliament, Dan Hannan supplied BritainAndAmerica with this reaction:
“Whenever something terrible happens, it is human nature to fit events into your existing belief system. If you are already convinced that Britain should not be allied to the United States, you will see terrorism as a response to our foreign policy choices. If you already believe that inequality is the worst problem in the modern world, you will tell yourself that “poverty breeds violence”.
The trouble is that the terrorists themselves evince only a marginal interest in these questions. We’d be better off taking them at their word. When they say that their real enemy is Western liberalism, we ought to listen carefully. After all, Osama bin Laden never cited Israel or Iraq among his grievances until comparatively recently: he was responding, as it were, to the Michael Moore interpretation of his actions. And, as this new statement reminds us, modern Islamist terrorism has had domestic British freedoms in its sights for far longer than our soldiers in the Middle East.
Yes, alright, foreign policy might be an aggravating factor at the margins. The radicals occasionally cite Chechnya, the Balfour declaration, the Crusades, the loss of al-Andalus. But when they say that their ultimate objective is to replace our way of life with a different way of life, we ought to believe them.”
Related link: Dan Hannan on terrorism being 'a middle class pursuit'