Murder in the UK: Reflections on Terror

Jessica Hoff, who blogs at nebraskaenergyobserver, gives us the British-eye-view of what she described as “the atrocity” in her post Reflections on Terror.

The “atrocity” Jessica refers to is the cold-blooded murder of a British soldier by Islamic radicals. Jessica raises a number of questions in her blog post that I think deserve thoughtful discussion. I hope that Public Catholic readers can contribute to it in an equally thoughtful way.

Here, reprinted with permission, is what she has to say:

Reflections on Terror

MAY 28, 2013 BY JESSICAHOF

The media in the UK has been dominated these past few days by the atrocity in Woolwich. Thanks to the ubiquity of what we call mobile phones and you call cell phones, we know precisely why the murderers did what they did. They wanted to take revenge for the deaths of Muslims in Syria,Iraq and Afghanistan. As the main cause of death among Muslims in these places is the action of other Muslims, one might stop and wonder who educated these kids; and then, when one knows, it makes sense. They were educated by hate-preachers who batten like parasites on some mosques, and who preach a message which has nothing to do with love and everything to do with hate. They have a version of what has happened since 9/11 (and earlier) and they feed these impressionable kids with it. The questions which occur to me is why that version is so easily swallowed?

Part of the answer to that is our own MSM. It took against the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq and has preferred to peddle a narrative of blaming Bush and Blair rather than one of asking what those regimes were like and why their overthrow has been a good thing; let’s play politics, people, it isn’t as though there is anything bigger at stake.

Here, let it be said, Bush and Blair have not been helpful to their own cause. Whatever the truth of the WMD claim, it turned out to be wrong, and it may well have been an excuse to do something they thought needed doing; if so, they have both paid a heavy price for any misleading statements which may, or may not, have been made. Interesting that neither of them was prepared to make the real case – that these regimes were barbarous and needed taking down. Perhaps if they had left it with Afghanistan, where the Taliban were utterly repulsive and when Bib Laden was being sheltered, it would have been better. But what happened, happened, and the narrative in our MSM is manna from heaven to the fundamentalist Imams everywhere. They have no trouble pointing out that our own media does not believe our own Governments, which feeds into their own narrative – that there is a Crusade going on.

This is not just mendacious, it is the opposite of the truth. From Kuwait and Bosnia in the 1990s, and through to Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, the West has actually tried to save Muslims from being slaughtered by other Muslims. If there is a criticism of the West, it is that there is no crusade; there is an attempt to bring peace.

But here there may be a failure in geopolitical vision, albeit one which is understandable. Muslims are fighting each other because they unhappy with the way things are in their own countries. Their leaders, at least in the Middle East, have tended to be brutal tyrants who rule with a rod of iron – in that sense Assad in Syria is typical.  We assume that these people want what we want – peace and stability and democracy. But where, in the history of that region is there warrant for such a belief?  Take the Palestinian problem. The Arab world is plenty rich enough to have provided each displaced Palestinian with another home and money – it has chosen not to because it wishes to keep a grievance against Israel.  It is plenty rich enough to spend its money on development and not guns, but it chooses the latter.

I wonder if it has occurred to anyone in power in our countries that these people do not want what we want, and that far from thanking us for our help, they don’t want it. Not sure where that reflection leads, but thought it ought to be articulated. (For more great posts by Jessica Hof, go here.)

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  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Baloney. Islamic terrorism didn’t start witht he Iraq war or with Afghanistan or even with 9/11/01. There has been Islamic terrorism for decades and we turned a blind eye to it. We excused it away as Jessica Hoff seems to be doing now. There will always be a reason for Islamic terror because they justify it in terms of a religious war. It has nothing to do with our post 9/11 actions. The people in Britain are righteously outraged, as I am with the Boston bombings. What did these morons think they were going to accomplish by killing people? Mass conversion to Islam? Withdrawl from the war on terror? None of that is even remotely possible. These morons are being used as pawns by their leadership to not so much affect western policies but to radicalize the populations back home for their internal politics, creating more Islamic conservative policies back home. I couldn’t care less about the psychobabble as to why they commit martrydom. These actions should strengthen our fortitude and complete our international objectives.

    • D. A. Christianson

      Decades, well yeah, if you start your count of decades about 690 AD. Jessica did a series a while back on the Church of the East which spread all the way into India, China, and some say Japan, before the invention of Islam and is nearly gone now, the Assyrian church is a remnant.

    • tedseeber

      Partially correct- but Islamic terrorism really started about 200 years ago.

      Previous to that, Jihad was limited to offensive and defensive types, to either spread Islam or protect the people living in Islamic countries, declared by fatwa from a legitimate authority, as a collective effort.

      After Qutb’s innovation of sola jihad, that’s when the terrorism started. It still took about 150 years for the violence of this new sixth pillar, individualistic jihad to leak out to non-Islamic populations (well, except for the Chechen, but their “lone wolf” caucasian theology predates Islam itself).

  • thomasc

    I don’t think Blair has paid a heavy price for anything. He seems to do pretty well and be quite pleased with himself. It’s like those people saying Roman Polanski had suffered enough and shouldn’t face justice: it isn’t that he’s suffered insufficiently, it’s that he hasn’t suffered at all.

    As to failing to make the case for why Saddam’s or Gaddafi’s overthrow was a good thing: well, it isn’t clear why it has been a good thing yet for the people who live there. Most people can put up with an unaccountable and sporadically brutal government (which is what most of us have lived under for the last five thousand years) much better than civil war, and what Iraq has ended up with is not far short of civil war. The near annihilation of the ancient Christian communities there, for example. Ten years later, it is not *unusual* for dozens to be killed in random attacks. Libya is also much closer to that than the MSM (which she seems to think is criticising the war in Libya – I haven’t noticed that) seems to acknowledge. It’s run by a patchwork of armed gangs that ignore the government. Perhaps it will all turn out for the best, but I don’t really see why it should.

    Were these regimes barbarous? Yes. Did they *need taking down*? Not if you didn’t have anything else to put in its place; and even then, waging war incessantly to replace governments of which you (rightly) disapprove doesn’t sound like a good idea. JP2 was against it, as I recall. The world isn’t a game of Civilisation: you can’t just move your armies into cities for four years and wait till their happiness levels improve. She says we assumed (wrongly?) that the local population wanted peace, stability and democracy: I don’t see what we have had to do with peace or stability, and if you lose those, democracy can’t function anyway. Invading places to replace their wicked rulers is always tempting, and has always been tempting: look at the Spanish Armada. Or the long (80 years long) counterinsurgency waged by Spain in the Netherlands, starting as a reaction to atrocities committed by a small number of Protestants and ending up driving half the country away from Catholicism. It almost never ends well, and it’s considerably worse than that in the meantime.

    Are *we* barbarous? I think to your average observant Muslim living in a Muslim country, killing hundreds of thousands of children in the womb looks pretty barbarous. Maybe they think we’re like the Aztecs.

    As to the Woolwich murderers: I doubt they read the Guardian, and I doubt they believed what they heard on the BBC. So, for once, I don’t think those institutions are particularly at fault. Anyway, the position she seems to be adopting, which is that the wars, while unfortunate in some ways, were basically a good thing, and that things have gone wrong partly because the people we were trying to save have let us down by their low moral and political aspirations, *is* the position of most of the British political and media establishment. Not the Guardian, but not very many people read that.

  • Fiona I

    I have been enjoying your blog. However, this unrepresentative article you have chosen to feature, re the horrific murder of a soldier, deeply concerns me. Firstly, it does not accurately convey what has been overall British opinion. Secondly, it does not make clear that this act was, with the greatest revulsion, profoundly condemned by British Muslims. Thirdly, it does not make clear that these men were not actual Muslims: they were criminal misfits who committed an “exhibitionistic murder” for their own ego- gratification. They took words out of context, from islam, to create greater drama and get more attention. What they did is totally condemned by Islam, Muslims and Muslim scholars. A tiny tiny percentage, of lunatic, rabid extremists might grab media attention( why do we give it to them?) with statements to the contrary. Don’t believe them. Fiona I.

    • hamiltonr

      Thanks Fiona. I think the Jessica has a strong viewpoint which is worth discussing. You are doing that.

      • D. A. Christianson

        Jess does have a strong viewpoint, which I share, it is also share by at least one British Moslem who has commented on the article on our blog at length

      • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

        Speaking as a resident of Britain since 1977 and a person with some acquaintance with the areas involved (I spent long periods of my life in areas of East London which are now Muslim strongholds, and I have known personally plenty of Muslims of every kind) as well as a historian with some relevant background, I say unequivocally that Fiona I is speaking self-consoling, escapist, groundless nonsense and indulging in the ancient British art of hiding your head beneath the pillow and going “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you” when there really is a monster in the room. The British like to think of Winston S.Churchill as their representative figure, but in fact the men they loved and returned at every election till it was too late were his enemies, Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain – the moral cowards, the people who absolutely and positively did not want to know the truth, the men who almost ran Churchill out of the House of Commons and made him a political pariah by methods with which you seem familiar, until the mere force of events proved their bankruptcy and his indispensability. Ms.I is of that breed, true and perfect. So only a tiny, tiny minority of British Muslims support the monsters, eh? so why are there hundreds of what the BBC likes to call “British men” training for war, or fighting, in Afghanistan and Syria and elsewhere, at any given time? Why are the British jails full of people who have been found hand-in-cookie-jar trying to carry out acts of terrorism, and been shown to have done so in open court, beyond reasonable doubt, according to the judgment of juries of their peers? And what about the more vile and depraved displays of hatred and contempt for Kaffirs, especially Kaffir women, and girls, with which we have become familiar lately, but which Ms.I clearly does not find threatening or demeaning?

        This is how I see things. Islam as a culture is a complicator and worsener of conditions. Any society will have a certain amount – say five per cent – of unsociable, dangerous near-sociopaths, people who take to crime or political violence not for any specific reason but because they find it natural; but with Islam that percentage doubles, because the cultural role models are not artists, sages, saints or inventors, but warriors, conquerors and slavers. Most Muslims will live ordinary lives, and many of them are so naturally good that they mistake their own excellent instincts (what Paul said of those Pagans who, “having no law, are nevertheless a law unto themselves” – the most misquoted passage in the whole Bible) for the teachings of their religion, and ignore or mentally neutralize the really bad parts. These people will tell you, and be sincere, that there is nothing Islamic about cutting the throats of supposed enemies. But there is: It is Mohammad’s own bidding, stated in the Koran (Sura 9) and carried out, according to the stories of his life, hundreds of times. And a lot of the people who will tell you that they condemn such actions will not, in fact, be sincere at all, because the word of a believer only matters if given to a believer. From that point of view, you can say to a Kaffir anything that is convenient – and the Fiona Is of this world are there to believe and spread it around.

        Yes, most Muslims will not go out and murder people. Yes, many Muslims will actually be disgusted and horrified by such acts. But the facts show, again and again, that a majority of Muslims will always vote for aggressive, illiberal and brutal Islamic parties, beginning with the Muslim Brotherhood – look at the recent elections in Egypt and Pakistan; and that a large minority will always be ready to turn out for violence against Kaffirs, because their religion sanctions such violence.

  • tedseeber

    GK Chesterton once told a story about a man who, when signing up to be in the army, put down his religion as “Methuselahian”. When the recruiter asked him what he meant, he said “My religion is to live as long as possible”. The joke being, then why was he signing up for the army?

    It occurs to me that complaints about this attack are similar.

    I’m not saying the British soldier deserved to die for orders from so far above his head that the feet must have looked like mosquitos, so to speak. Nor am I disputing the fact that the Islamic world is currently deeply involved in a very confusing mixture of external, internal, offensive, defensive, and sola jihad as a part of their own reformation tribulation that differs from the Christian Wars of Reformation only by the cheap availability of dynamite, gunpowder, C4, and now pressure cookers.

    But Osama Bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan, not Afghanistan, and perhaps where all of these thoughts lead is to a hard no-mans-land around Islamic nations, rather than engagement directly.

    • hotboogers

      Bin Laden was thought, for the longest time, to be hiding in the infamous caves of Tora Bora … which is in … Afghanistan. At least that’s what the press was telling us.


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