After the London's bombings I was contacted by a bright young man, a practicing Muslim and one of Hizb ut-Tahrir's loyal members [Editors: Tahrir has tens of thousands of hard-core members operating clandestinely in over 40 countries around the world, with members organized in cells of five to eight members each. The organization explicitly rejects democracy and its head published a book entitled "Democracy: The Law of Infidels." Tahrir functions under the Leninist model of critical mass. It seeks to establish a "critical mass" of sleeper terrorist cells in a country and then rises up at once in an attempt to overthrow a nation. Only a cell commander knows the next level of leadership, ensuring operational security. "Representatives" in Great Britain and Pakistan claim to speak for the organization, but have no official address or legal office. Leadership for large regions (e.g., the former Soviet Union), countries, and local areas is kept secret. The identity of the current leader of HUT is debated and not definitely known.]
He briefly told me about how his non-Muslims neighbors who wanted to meet and discuss with him yesterday’s London bombings. He brought them a videotape showing them how Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq are treated by Coalition forces. It was Tom's first attempt (for safety reasons I have changed his name) of showing the others that while it is a pity to see the Londoners sufferance, Muslims are attacked every day by the "imperialist forces".
The second step was to bring one of his neighbors to the Mosque where many Muslims gathered to share their views and to hear their leaders’ perspective on the event.
There, it was played another videotape from Fallujah showing more than 1,000 Muslims killed by the Coalition Forces. The human losses were called "collateral damage." Tom’s neighbor was impressed by both the images and the reaction of the young and mature Muslims alike. Tom's neighbor said that he understood the feeling of the Muslims and what drives them to act against the West's leaders.
Tom further went on saying that the target is not the ordinary citizen, but rather their corrupt leaders. Nonetheless, in a battle there are always human losses, which are called "collateral damages" by the perpetrators, and at the same time, "innocent victims of terror" by the nation who lose them. If until now the "collateral damages" were mostly on Muslims part, things are changing to everyone's disadvantage.
Tom's friends and brothers in Islam believe that the Londoners "deserved it! Maybe they can feel what we (Muslims) are going through". However, he feels that while the leaders may deserve it, the citizens did not – especially since most of them oppose the war in Iraq. For Tom, the most important goal is to see Muslims deal with the "puppet regimes in our land that are the cause and true problem for us Muslims."
What happened in New York, Spain and now London is a warning for all of us. For the Westerners to stop and acknowledge that while there are people in our midst that deeply hate us, we should find out why they hate us. If their reasons are based in reality and we can do something to diminish or even stop their hate, then we should act to do so. However, if their complaints are not truthful or simply cannot be met, then hopefully a policy of compromise can be accepted by both sides.
On the other hand, the Muslims, especially those living in West and enjoying a high degree of liberty, freedom and rights – the same as any other Western citizen and should be aware of their own hypocrisy. They have left their countries because many of them were oppressed, imprisoned and forced to live a life of poverty and distress. Now that they are in West, they are sometimes the oppressors of the ones who received them in good faith. As such, my question is: Where does justice lie? I would like to hear the answer from the radical Muslims who support acts such as yesterday’s London bombings.
Manuela Paraipan has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, World Security Network (WSN), World Press, Yemen Times and other publications.