Breaking Glass

No Mirror Image

Watching the horrible images of the recent bomb attacks in London, Americans might be forgiven for feeling a sense of alarm, especially when the terrorism was directly linked to homegrown suicide bombers.  The thought of American extremists adopting similar tactics on our soil is extremely worrying, though few media outlets dared to explore the prospect in too much detail: Nobody wants to face charges of ethnic stereotyping.  In the New York Times, Nina Bernstein obliquely dealt with the issue under the comforting headline “In American Cities, No Mirror Image of Muslims of Leeds” (July 21).  According to her article, we would only face real dangers if we as a society were to blame all Muslims for the crimes of a few and to overreact by passing discriminatory immigration laws.

I am happy to echo this conclusion.  In fact, I would like to point out several critical ways in which the British situation differs utterly from ours and, in fact, has for some years been so perilous that no one should really have missed the warning signs.  Let me list some of the key differences between our societies.

The most obvious issue is one of population.  Britain has a sizable Muslim population, some 1.6 million strong, and even if extremist propaganda influences only a tiny fraction of that group, that would still indicate a potential terrorist milieu running into the tens of thousands. ...

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