The Ranting Kraut

19.3.2006 – 27.9.2010

Forest Gate Raid

Posted by rantingkraut on June 13, 2006

Muriel Gray argues in the Sunday Herald, that some degree of ethnic profiling could be justified in the case of the Forest Gate raid:

Let’s imagine for a moment that a small but potent cell of ginger-haired, freckled people began a terror organisation and started slaughtering their fellow citizens with suicide bomb attacks in the name of some red-haired god. Would the police be right or wrong in such circumstances to regard all ginger-haired, freckled people as potential suspects? The logic would surely be that not all red-haired people were terrorists, but that all terrorists were red-haired, and not to act upon such knowledge would be folly. So what must the police do when the same situation exists in reality, the fact being that not all young Muslim men are terrorists, but all terrorists are young Muslim men?
Should they perform a dawn raid on a few Jehovah’s Witnesses, or place a family of Quakers under surveillance just to show how even-handed they are? What would we think of such policing?

This line of argument, coupled with specific evidence, surely goes some way in justifying a raid. What is harder to understand is the way the raid was handled. What exactly is the purpose of police officers not identifying themselves? Shouldn’t the inhabitant be perfectly justified in fighting off intruders who do not identify themselves as police? There may be explanations for all this, but at the moment, it looks as if the raid was carried out in a way that is hard to explain by the simple need to fight terrorism and which, by extension, cannot entirely be blamed on the jihadists who created this need.

Later on:

So why do Muslims not take to the streets in furious demonstrations, not against the British police but against the psychotic killers that have made innocent Muslims the subject of police suspicion and non-Muslims afraid of their fellow citizens? Let’s hope that the answer is that it’s asking far too much for everyone to be as forgiving (…) and that the years of being made to feel like second-class citizens in the country of their birth has quite understandably taken its toll.That’s the good answer, because their ire would be justifiable and it would present society with a horrible wrong that can be righted with time. The bad answer would be that they don’t demonstrate because the core aim of the terrorists, that of bringing about an Islamic Britain, is one shared by a majority of Muslims, even moderates who might despise the suicide bombing route but nevertheless wish it to happen peacefully and without bloodshed. If this were true, and let’s hope it’s not, for the implications are uncomfortable, it might explain the deafening silence from the Muslim community concerning terrorism committed in their name. After all, there are countless Jewish groups who protest constantly, noisily and vigorously against the policies of Israel, which they not only despise on the behalf of Palestinians, but they also feel stoke up anti-Semitism and hatred. Where is the Islamic equivalent?

Good questions … One may add that the whole phenomenon of Islamist terrorism and the reaction –or lack thereof- of the wider Muslim community is eerily reminiscent of communist terrorism of the 1970s. When the Bader Meinhof gang (a.k.a the Red Army Faction) launched its murderous campaign in Germany, few of the many socialists there liked their methods but many shared their ultimate aims. Within the socialist community, there were those who were truly horrified by the violence but there were others who didn't really care and yet others who didn't commit murders but sympathised with the terrorists. Among the latter, some may well have been ready to provide some degree of support to the 'RAF' or one of the other, smaller terrorist groups. One shouldn't be surprised if the situation in the Muslim community were similar. Islamism seems to be widely accepted –judging by the substantial support for the 'moderate' pro censorship rally following the publication of the Mohamed cartoons for example. The mainstream socialists of 1970s Europe would not have been surprised to meet with hostility by those who disliked socialism or liked things incompatible with it –'things' such as free markets or liberal democracy for example. Likewise, Britain's Muslim community shouldn't be surprised if they meet with hostility from those opposed to theocracy or in favour of things incompatible with it –'things' like freedom of speech or liberal democracy for example.
Revolutionary socialists would not have been surprised to come under police surveillance as the state cracked down on the Bader Meinhof gang. Radical Islamists –who may not themselves be planting bombs— should likewise not be surprised to come under police surveillance.
Maybe there is a part of Britain's Muslim community which does not want to impose its beliefs on others, a part of the Muslim community that is happy to coexist peacefully with secular society. If there is such a community then it should be in this community's interest to make itself heard and to distance itself from the Islamist mainstream –just like social democrats at one point had an interest to distance themselves from the then revolutionary socialist mainstream.

PS: The above was posted before the two suspects arrested gave their press conference on Tuesday evening. Given what they said during this event, and given that the police by now should have had ample time to be prepared for any false allegations, things are now looking even worse. Not only did they not identify themselve as police officers, they also appeared to act with needless brutality. If the police think that there is a good reason for this they'd better say a bit more than just 'sorry'.

One Response to “Forest Gate Raid”

  1. Florian said

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