Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., in today’s Political Diary:
posted on July 21, 2005 10:35 PM
Based on scanty headlines, today’s disruptions in London suggest somebody may be trying to demonstrate just how little it takes to shut down a modern city’s public transport network. Early reports indicate smoke bombs and the like, with few serious casualties. Who knows, but let’s riff anyway: Sooner or later, it was bound to develop that the target of Britain’s homegrown Muslim radicals isn’t British foreign policy or U.S. “imperialism.” The targets are British Muslims themselves and their peaceful relations with the rest of British society. The goal is to make all Muslims suspect in the eyes of their fellow Britons, to punish those Muslims who favor quiet assimilation, to make their lives impossible.
We’re talking about something quite different than the Osama bin Laden dream of mega attacks that unite the Muslim world in a showdown with Christendom. Today’s attacks seem more attuned to the Zarqawi playbook in Iraq — and, for that matter, Tamil tactics in Sri Lanka, IRA tactics in Northern Ireland, etc. Domestic terrorists are usually trying to drive a wedge of fear between one ethnic community and the larger society. Whatever the facts behind today’s incidents, British Muslims may have to get used to the idea that they are being deliberately placed in the line of fire by their radical fellow Muslims, with the hope of defeating their intent to live happily, successfully and peacefully amidst a larger, polyglot world. This is their fight too, and perhaps most of all.