The bogus link between foreign policy and domestic terrorism

31-May-2017 @ 14:00

Geoffrey Van Orden Geoffrey Van Orden

Geoffrey Van Orden Geoffrey Van Orden

Geoffrey Van Orden Geoffrey Van Orden

Speaking today at a conference in Brussels on preventing violent extremism, Conservative Defence and Security Spokesman Geoffrey Van Orden MEP, took issue with efforts to blame domestic terrorism on foreign policy.

The bogus link between foreign policy and domestic terrorism

Mr Van Orden, a former senior British military officer, said: “If you are constantly being told that the British state is deliberately attacking innocent Muslim women and children, it would not be surprising if you became angry. But this narrative doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. It is false.

“Islamist terrorism began before Britain and other western nations took up the fight.

Many of the countries subject to Islamist terrorist attack have never engaged in action against foreign terrorism - Indonesia, Sweden and the Philippines for example.

“The Manchester murderer, Salman Abedi, grew up in a Libyan family that was violently opposed to the regime of the former Libyan leader, Muammar Qaddafi. Britain gave them sanctuary as they fled from Qadaffi's regime. The allied intervention in Libya, besides preventing a massacre of Muslims in Benghazi, led to Qadaffi’s downfall. Surely the Abedi family would have been grateful for that?

“The cause célèbre of British foreign policy, so often quoted by those opposing foreign intervention, is Iraq. But curiously no terrorist acts in Britain have been carried out by those of Iraqi origin. Most of those convicted in Britain of Islamist terrorist activity are of south Asian origin – that means primarily of Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Kashmiri ancestry. Britain has attacked none of these places.

“Globally, most victims of the Islamists have been Muslims, just as most victims of the IRA were Catholics. While the Islamists deliberately target civilians, as we saw so tragically in Manchester, our armed forces go out of our way to avoid civilian casualties.

“British military intervention has often and specifically been to protect Muslim populations - for example, in Bosnia, Kosovo and Libya. And we are among the most generous providers of humanitarian and development aid to Muslim countries.

“So it is not our foreign policy, but the reporting of it, specifically through social and satellite media and in salafist mosques and madrassahs, which is the problem.

“Those that try to make a negative link between terrorism and our military interventions are usually sympathetic to or apologists for the foreign extremists and opposed to the institutions of the British state.

“Certainly we need a more effective counter-narrative to reach the minds of the vulnerable. More needs to be done to educate all our young people, native and immigrant, to take pride in the history and enormous positive achievements of our nation. What happens in schools and at home, is crucial. We have to emphasise the individual role and opportunities that each of us has as free citizens. And we have to dilute those influences leading to any sense of separation, victimisation and hopelessness."


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