Friday, July 07, 2006

On The Forest Gate Raid

I know it's a little while since it happened, but I was caught up with other things at the time (I'd like to say revision, but in reality it was more to do with watching the World Cup). However, it now seems to be a touchstone in news reports, especially those analysing attitudes in the Muslim community on the anniversary of the London bombings. The consensus seems to be that it has damaged relations with the Muslim community - and yet, somehow, I find it hard to be especially outraged over the raid. And it has nothing to do with the involvement of that sanctimonious cow Gareth Peirce, either.

The other staple news story regarding the London bombings in the last couple of weeks has been the "police were given a tip-off about the bombers, but didn't act on it" one. The implication being that if the police and intelligence services had noticed the significance of certain names in advance, the bomb plot may never have come to fruition. The fact that these tip-offs were usually very small in their nature doesn't seem to matter.

If the police had good reason to think there was a chemical bomb, or the materials and intent to make one, at the house in Forest Gate, then the only responsible course of action was to search the house. Can you imagine the reaction if a chemical bomb had killed thousands in London, and it was later found out that the police had intelligence on the plot and refused to act on it? Protecting us from these terrorist atrocities is a key part of the police's job.

As for it straining relations with the Muslim community - I will keep my remarks brief for now, but hope to expand on them later. The problem is one that is very much rooted in the Muslim community. But no matter what the reasons for alienation may be, committing terrorist outrages is wrong. Sadly, it is the Muslim community that is home to many of those that wish to perpetrate these outrages - and one in eight, according to recent polls, see those who commit such acts as martyrs. Yes, there is a need to build bridges. But there is a need to do so from both communities. Until it is realised that integration is a two-way process, then the underlying problems will never be resolved.