Lee Rigby: How to respond?

128805308__416714bSo much has been written about the Woolwich atrocity that I hesitate to add to it.  But I would like to draw attention to an excellent piece  by Professor Michael Burleigh [link] of Buckingham University.
 
He castigates the “Prevent” strategy, which he sees as handing money to highly suspect Islamist groups, and allowing accredited terrorist agitators airtime on our national broadcaster.  He describes his own engagement with the establishment on the issue of Islamic extremism.  Civil servants neutered by political correctness; Universities talking loftily of the importance of free speech, as though that justifies incitement to violence on campus; toleration while FOSIS, the Federation of Islamic Student Societies, organises events where men and women are segregated.
 
Theresa May talks a new tough line, but we have to wait and see if she’ll deliver.  Will she actually put Abu Qatada on a plane back to Jordan?  I doubt it.
 
Meantime, we are assured that Islamic extremists don’t represent Islam, which is a religion of peace and harmony.  The bad guys are a tiny minority who are mostly inadequate
young people led astray by extremist rabble-rousers and evil videos on the web.
 
Moderate Islamic organisations, to be fair, have come out and condemned violence in clear and robust terms, and rightly so: I salute them for doing so.  Some Muslim and other faith organisations have expressed concerns about the possibility of reprisal attacks.  It is clear that such attacks are taking place, and of course I condemn them unequivocally.
 
But really this is not enough.  What action are moderate Muslims taking to stop the spread of extremism?  What about the subversion of Universities and Further Education Colleges?  The hate preachers in mosques, and on the street outside them?  The attempts to set up de facto Sharia law areas in Muslim communities?  The madrassas where a separatist view of Islam (and worse) is fostered?  Moderate Muslims must frequently see activities which give them cause for concern.  Do they report those concerns to the authorities?
 
It may be a cliché, but Burke was right when he observed that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.  I have no doubt that there are many good men and women in the moderate Muslim community, but after an outrage like Woolwich, the rest of us are entitled to ask if they are doing enough to eradicate extremism within their own communities.
 
And a word about the security services.  I am concerned at the implied — and indeed explicit — criticism of the security services, for “allowing” Michael Adebolajo to carry out his atrocity.  After all, hadn’t he “come to the attention of the security services”?  Indeed he had, but so had thousands of others.  It is hugely expensive and labour-intensive to mount full-time surveillance of even one suspect.  And MI5 has thousands.  It would simply be impossible to provide such surveillance for everyone who might commit an offence — even if it were acceptable in civil liberties terms for the authorities to treat possible suspects in this way.
 
That is not to say that MI5 never makes a mistake, and the review currently in hand will cast more light on the question.  But for heaven’s sake, these guys are working their socks off to keep us safe, and most of the time they succeed.  Let’s start out giving them the benefit of the doubt.  Sadly, it is not realistic to demand that no bad guy ever slips through the net.

Roger Helmer is UKIP’s spokesman on Industry and Energy

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