The greatest danger is that we fail to face up to the nature of the threat we are dealing with. What we witnessed in London last Thursday week was not an aberrant act.
It was not random. It was not a product of particular local circumstances in West Yorkshire.
Senseless though any such horrible murder is, it was not without sense for its organisers. It had a purpose. It was done according to a plan. It was meant.
What we are confronting here is an evil ideology.
It is not a clash of civilisations - all civilised people, Muslim or other, feel revulsion at it. But it is a global struggle and it is a battle of ideas, hearts and minds, both within Islam and outside it.
This is the battle that must be won, a battle not just about the terrorist methods but their views. Not just their barbaric acts, but their barbaric ideas. Not only what they do but what they think and the thinking they would impose on others.
This ideology and the violence that is inherent in it did not start a few years ago in response to a particular policy. Over the past 12 years, Al-Qaeda and its associates have attacked 26 countries, killed thousands of people, many of them Muslims.
They have networks in virtually every major country and thousands of fellow travellers. They are well-financed. Look at their websites.
They aren't unsophisticated in their propaganda. They recruit however and whoever they can and with success.
Neither is it true that they have no demands. They do. It is just that no sane person would negotiate on them.
They demand the elimination of Israel; the withdrawal of all Westerners from Muslim countries, irrespective of the wishes of people and government; the establishment of effectively Taleban states and Sharia law in the Arab world en route to one caliphate of all Muslim nations.
We don't have to wonder what type of country those states would be. Afghanistan was such a state. Girls put out of school.
Women denied even rudimentary rights. People living in abject poverty and oppression. All of it justified by reference to religious faith.
The 20th century showed how powerful political ideologies could be. This is a religious ideology, a strain within the world-wide religion of Islam, as far removed from its essential decency and truth as Protestant gunmen who kill Catholics or vice versa, are from Christianity. But do not let us underestimate it or dismiss it.
Those who kill in its name believe genuinely that in doing it, they do God's work; they go to paradise.
From the mid 1990s onwards, statements from Al-Qaeda, gave very clear expression to this ideology: "Every Muslim, the minute he can start differentiating, carries hatred towards the Americans, Jews and Christians. This is part of our ideology. The creation of Israel is a crime and it has to be erased.
"You should know that targeting Americans and Jews and killing them anywhere you find them on the earth is one of the greatest duties and one of the best acts of piety you can offer to God Almighty. Just as great is their hatred for so-called apostate governments in Muslim countries. This is why mainstream Muslims are also regarded as legitimate targets".
At last year's (Labour) party conference, I talked about this ideology in these terms.
Its roots are not superficial, but deep, in the madrassas of Pakistan, in the extreme forms of Wahabi doctrine in Saudi Arabia, in the former training camps of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan; in the cauldron of Chechnya; in parts of the politics of most countries of the Middle East and many in Asia; in the extremist minority that now in every European city preach hatred of the West and our way of life.
This is what we are up against. It cannot be beaten except by confronting it, symptoms and causes, head-on. Without compromise and without delusion.
The extremist propaganda is cleverly aimed at their target audience. It plays on our tolerance and good nature.
It exploits the tendency to guilt of the developed world, as if it is our behaviour that should change, that if we only tried to work out and act on their grievances, we could lift this evil, that if we changed our behaviour, they would change theirs. This is a misunderstanding of a catastrophic order.
Their cause is not founded on an injustice. It is founded on a belief, one whose fanaticism is such it can't be moderated. It can't be remedied. It has to be stood up to.
And, of course, they will use any issue that is a matter of dissent within our democracy. But we should lay bare the almost-devilish logic behind such manipulation.
If it is the plight of the Palestinians that drives them, why, every time it looks as if Israel and Palestine are making progress, does the same ideology perpetrate an outrage that turns hope back into despair?
If it is Afghanistan that motivates them, why blow up innocent Afghans on their way to their first ever election? If it is Iraq that motivates them, why is the same ideology killing Iraqis by terror in defiance of an elected Iraqi government?
What was September 11, 2001 the reprisal for? Why even after the first Madrid bomb (in March 2004) and the election of a new Spanish government, were they planning another atrocity when caught?
Why if it is the cause of Muslims that concerns them, do they kill so many with such callous indifference?
We must pull this up by its roots. Within Britain, we must join up with our Muslims community to take on the extremists. Worldwide, we should confront it everywhere it exists.
Next week I and other party leaders will meet key members of the Muslim community. Out of it I hope we can get agreed action to take this common fight forward. I want also to work with other nations to promote the true face of Islam worldwide.
Round the world, there are conferences already being held, numerous inter-faith dialogues in place but we need to bring all of these activities together and give them focus.
Defeating the threat
We must be clear about how we win this struggle. We should take what security measures we can. But let us not kid ourselves.
In the end, it is by the power of argument, debate, true religious faith and true legitimate politics that we will defeat this threat.
That means not just arguing against their terrorism, but their politics and their perversion of religious faith. It means exposing as the rubbish it is, the propaganda about America and its allies wanting to punish Muslims or eradicate Islam.
It means championing our values of freedom, tolerance and respect for others. It means explaining why the suppression of women and the disdain for democracy are wrong.
The idea that elected governments are the preserve of those of any other faith or culture is insulting and wrong. Muslims believe in democracy just as much as any other faith and, given the chance, show it.
We must step up the urgency of our efforts. Here and abroad, the times the terrorists have succeeded are all too well known.
Less known are the times they have been foiled. The human life destroyed we can see. The billions of dollars every nation now spends is huge and growing. And they kill without limit.
They murdered over 50 innocent people (in London) last week. But it could have been over 500. And had it been, they would have rejoiced.
The spirit of our age is one in which the prejudices of the past are put behind us, where our diversity is our strength. It is this which is under attack. Moderates are not moderate through weakness but through strength. Now is the time to show it in defence of our common values."
Hong Kongers usually rank near-bottom of the international list of lovers and a social worker may have discovered why: they don't know what to do between the sheets.
Grace Wong of the southern Chinese territory's Family Planning Association said the number of inquiries at her agency rocketed 50 percent last year, with many clients claiming to have no idea how to have sex. "Some married couples are not familiar with their body parts," Wong was quoted as telling the Sunday Morning Post. "They don't know where their sex organs are. "They don't know the physical changes associated with sexual response, like males getting an erection," she added. Regular international surveys by condom manufacturers have found the city is less than amorous. Durex's last poll found Hong Kongers get it together 79 times a year, while the French manage it the most, at 137 times. Another poll even suggested Hong Kong men prefer to go to work rather than have sex. The frenetic work ethic in the former British colony is usually blamed for interfering with the course of nature. But the paper said sociologists believe Chinese sensibilities, which deem discussion of sex even in school as taboo, are responsible.
Anti-Racism Groups Slam German Ads
A case in point is a poster ... created for the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden last year to advertise German composer Richard Wagner’s "Parsifal" performed by acclaimed US conductor Kent Nagano, currently creative head of the German Symphony Orchestra in Berlin. It showed a famous portrait of Wagner, given a pair of arms with the help of a computer, making slanted eyes in an obvious reference to Nagano’s Japanese origins.
WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal appeals court put the Bush administration's military commissions for terrorist suspects back on track Friday, saying a detainee at the Guantanamo Bay prison who once was Osama bin-Laden's driver can stand trial.
A three-judge panel ruled 3-0 against Salim Ahmed Hamdan, whose case was halted by a federal judge on grounds that commission procedures were unlawful.
``Congress authorized the military commission that will try Hamdan,'' said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The protections of the 1949 Geneva Convention do not apply to al-Qaida and its members, so Hamdan does not have a right to enforce its provisions in court, the appeals judges said.
U.S. District Judge James Robertson ruled last year that Hamdan could not be tried by a military commission until a competent tribunal determined that he was not a prisoner of war.
``We believe the military commission is such a tribunal,'' said the appeals court.
President Bush created the military commissions after the Sept. 11 attacks, opening a legal channel for alleged al-Qaida terrorists and their associates to be tried for war crimes.
Hamdan's lawyers said Bush violated the separation of powers in the Constitution when he established military commissions.
The court disagreed, saying Bush relied on Congress's joint resolution authorizing the use of force after the Sept. 11 attacks, as well as two congressionally enacted laws.
``We think it no answer to say, as Hamdan does, that this case is different because Congress did not formally declare war,'' said the court.
Congress authorized the president to use all necessary and appropriate force in the war on terrorism.
The Janjaweed militias do not act alone. I have seen clear evidence that the atrocities committed in Darfur are the direct result of the Sudanese government's military collaboration with the militias. Attacks are well coordinated by Sudanese government officials and Arab militias, who attack villages together. Before these attacks occur, the cell phone systems are shut down by the government so that villagers cannot warn each other. Whenever we lost our phone service, we would scramble to identify the impending threat. We knew that somewhere, another reign of terror was about to begin.
Helicopter gunships belonging to the government routinely support the Arab militias on the ground. The gunships fire anti-personnel rockets that contain flashettes, or small nails, each with stabilizing fins on the back so the point hits the target first. Each gunship contains four rocket pods, each rocket pod contains about 20 rockets and each rocket contains about 500 of these flashettes. Flashette wounds look like shotgun wounds. I saw one small child's back that looked as if it had been shredded by a cheese grater. We got him to a hospital, but we did not expect him to live.
On many of the occasions we tried to investigate these attacks, we would find that fuel for our helicopters was mysteriously unavailable. We would receive unconvincing explanations from the Sudanese government's fuel company -- from "we are out of fuel" to "our fuel pumps are broken." At the same time, government helicopters continued to strafe villages unimpeded.
Those villagers who were able to escape flocked to existing IDP camps, where they would scrounge for sticks and plastic bags to construct shelter from the sun and wind. In even these desperate situations, however, the Sudanese government would not give up its murderous mission. First it would announce the need to relocate an IDP camp and assess the population of displaced people, often grossly underestimating the numbers. Then after international aid organizations had built a new, smaller camp, the government would forcibly relocate the population, leaving hundreds to thousands without shelter. It would bulldoze or drive over the old camps with trucks, often in the middle of the night in order to escape notice. It would then gather up and burn the remaining debris.
PARIS, July 13 - A sudden and mysterious drop in China's oil consumption helped to push down the International Energy Agency's estimate on Wednesday of global demand for this year.Communism causes chronic shortages of basic goods? Who knew?
After growing 11 percent in 2003 and 15.4 percent last year, China's overall oil use declined 1 percent in the second quarter from the comparable quarter a year earlier, the agency said.
The drop is the latest in a series of unclear and often conflicting indications about whether the Chinese economy is still growing strongly. Top officials of the agency said in interviews they believed that the decline was temporary and that they expected Chinese demand to rebound in the second half of the year, but added that world oil prices could take a heavy blow if Chinese use did not increase.
The International Energy Agency, supported by the governments of the world's leading consuming nations, has recently become known for warning that the world does not have enough oil and calling for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to push its member countries to increase their output. But William C. Ramsay, the agency's deputy executive director, said Wednesday that there were signs that worldwide production capacity was starting to move ahead of demand for the year, and he expressed surprise that oil prices had nonetheless stayed high.
"There are not the conditions out there right now that should lead to these kinds of prices," he said in an interview in his office here.
The international oil market has gotten out of line with the availability of oil, he said, adding: "It gets in one of these bullish moods and it has to be dynamited out of it. The fundamentals are not disquieting."
While many traders have expressed concern about China's announcement a week ago that it was close to completing the first of three oil tank farms for a strategic reserve, Mr. Ramsay said he doubted that Chinese officials would opt to fill the reserve quickly as long as oil remained around $60 a barrel. [In New York on Wednesday, oil for August delivery declined 61 cents, settling at $60.01 a barrel.]
China's strong demand for energy has helped push Cnooc, one of its leading oil companies, to make an $18.5 billion proposal to acquire Unocal of California.
Officials of the International Energy Agency said there were four possible explanations for China's drop in oil demand in the second quarter, the most probable being that this was a temporary decrease. The most likely cause, said Fatih Birol, the agency's chief economist and head of economic analysis, was that China had not been allowing the domestic price of electricity and many refined products, like gasoline and diesel fuel, to rise nearly as quickly as world prices. This has caused power-generating concerns and service stations to sell less electricity, and less gasoline and diesel fuel, so as to limit their losses.
Many Chinese power stations have stopped burning fuel oil to produce electricity because the prices they are allowed to charge per kilowatt are not high enough to cover the cost of importing fuel. Chinese refiners have been selling part of their output overseas at higher prices than they can get in the highly regulated domestic market - where gasoline, for example, now sells for $1.63 a gallon.
China's consumption of fuel, a portion of overall oil consumption, plunged 19 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, said Jeff Brown, an oil-demand analyst here, while growth in refined fuel consumption slowed to a crawl.
Mr. Birol said that artificial energy shortages caused by distorted prices were the most likely basis for the curtailed availability of fuel, especially diesel.
But while diesel-fuel shortages and lines of trucks at empty service stations were a visible problem in China in April, they were not evident during trips over the last three weeks through southern China and to Beijing, and there has been little talk of continuing shortages in news media on the mainland or in Hong Kong.
When told this, Mr. Birol said there had been a vigorous debate in the last two days within the International Energy Agency over how to explain the decline in Chinese consumption, and he acknowledged that other, longer-term explanations were possible.
These include the possibility that the overall Chinese economy is starting to slow, that China is generating more of its electricity from coal instead of oil, and that China is improving energy conservation in response to high prices.
Economic statistics have been contradictory. Exports are still growing rapidly. But energy-intensive production of steel, cement and other construction material has started to slow as the government cracked down on real estate speculation.
In the last year, China has considerably expanded the production capacity of its coal mines and, just as important, the capacity of its railroad system to haul coal to markets. It has also exhorted businesses and households to use less energy, through steps like setting thermostats higher so air-conditioning systems do not have to work as hard.
From China, Some Relief on Oil Demand - New York Times
From the quoted statements by Canadian Islamic organizations transpires non factual victimology. The announced wave of anti-Muslim violence in the aftermath of 9-11 and other Islamist terrorist attacks has failed to materialize. In fact, according to Statistics Canada, Canadian Jews remain the population group most likely to be targeted by hate crimes, antisemitic crimes accounting for 25% of reported hate crimes in 2001 and 2002. Anti-black crimes rank in second place at 17%, anti-Muslim crimes hovering around 10% along with homophobic crimes. Yet Canadian Islamic Organizations go to great lengths in order to instill a climate of fear and suspicion towards Canadian authorities and society at large among Muslims by publishing, for example, thoroughly unscientific reports on alleged abuse by RCMP officers’ interrogations of Muslims who might have valuable information on terror suspects or terror suspects themselves. The climate of fear some Islamic organizations create among Muslims serves the purpose of legitimizing their roles as self-proclaimed representatives of the Muslim community, while alienating Muslims from society at large, thus opening the door to inwardness and possibly a radicalization of the minds.
The disinformation carried by Canadian Islamic and Arab websites goes a step further with the use of Quid bono (who stands to gain), a poor analytical tool for understanding a complex world. The quid bono mentality exemplified here is typical of societies where information is state-controlled and thus distrusted. This, however, not being the case in a country such as Canada or Britain, one can only conclude that the quoted writers and their publishers are willfully spreading lies about "staged" terrorist attacks conceived in order to justify the "Muslim holocaust in the making" as one writer put it. Paradoxically, while denying Islamic involvement in the London bombings, some of these writers offer a rationale for it. This attitude bears resemblance to the contradictory responses to 9-11 in the Middle East, where people jumped for joy at the newa of the attacks, while claiming no Muslim was sophisticated enough to carry out such an attack. Hence, the Quid bono rationalization which cast blame on Israel and the USA for perpetrating the attacks in order to justify military action against Muslim countries. Such literature, written in part by radical Islamists, serves to alienate and radicalize its readers by leading them to believe a huge, diabolical conspiracy is being implemented to wipe them off the face of the earth, which, no doubt, is what partially motivated the four Britain-born Muslims to turn against their countrymen on July 7 2005.