U.S. and UK Must Hang Together in Face of Terror

The British government’s recent elevation of the terrorist threat level signifies an attack is highly likely. It is responding perhaps to events such as the failed al-Qaeda attempt to down an airliner over Detroit and the report that non-Arab women are being trained as suicide bombers. While their increased vigilance is sensible, the United Kingdom remains an inadvertent exporter of terrorism.

The United Kingdom has been wobbly in quashing radicals who inspire jihadists to take up arms against freedom-loving nations. The government continues to allow extremists a forum in the name of free speech. For example, cleric Yahya Ibrahim, who advocates violence against the West, is being allowed to enter the UK to speak at universities and mosques. Ibrahim is one of several hardliners allowed into the UK despite being banned from the U.S.

Instead, Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders was denied entry because he produced a film criticizing Islam. To allow a man essentially branded a terrorist by the U.S. to speak at a university defies reason. Let’s not forget that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the al-Qaeda operative who attempted to detonate an airliner, was radicalized while attending University College London.

British politicians are chided for using the words “Islam” and “terrorism” in the same sentence, let alone going after those who inspire terrorists; in such an atmosphere it is not surprising that the UK has become the nexus for dangerous ideologies. This is the real reason an increased threat level is necessary. Until the British address the home front, the entire Western world is imperiled.

But there are some encouraging signs. Anjem Choudary, a London-born lawyer and leader of the organization Islam4UK, recently announced his intent to stage a protest against the “occupying and merciless British military” in the town of Wootton Bassett. The town has achieved fame because hundreds of people regularly line the streets to mourn passing caskets of British casualties flown into the nearby airbase.

Prime Minister Brown issued a statement saying he was “personally appalled” and Home Secretary Alan Johnson offered support to any local government effort to ban the protest. Johnson later announced that the group itself had been outlawed under a measure allowing the government to ban promoters of terrorism.