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Has everyone seen today’s open letter from ‘Muslim leaders’ to the Prime Minister?  It appears in today’s Times and you can click on the graphic on the right to enlarge a scan of it.  I found it deeply dispiriting and I am clearly not the only one.   Quoted on BBC Online, LibDem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable said that the letter – although "expressed in very moderate terms" – could give some comfort to the kind of people who say: "Well, change your foreign policy or we’ll blow you up".  I repeat – that is the view of Vince Cable.  Moderate British opinion is becoming impatient with the inadequacies of Britain’s Muslim leaders.

Today’s open letter could and should have been an opportunity for the likes of the Muslim Council of Britain, and for the Muslim Labour MPs who disgracefully added their signatures to the document, to make an unequivocal condemnation of all people who think there is some sort of justification for blowing up women, children and other innocents.  The MCB and their partners-in-equivocation appear unable to condemn suicide bombing – or other acts that are an offence to the vast majority of British Muslims – without adding a ‘but’.  I paraphrase…

Of course 9/11 is unacceptable but the USA has done so little to help the people of Palestine… Of course suicide bombing is wrong but so was the war against Saddam… Of course we deplore the killing of innocent life but Israel has no right to attack Lebanon in the way that it has…

The steady drip of ‘but, but and but’ is doing nothing to stop the homicidal fringe from justifying their acts. 

In a must-read post on his blog, Iain Dale recounts how Michael Howard dealt with the MCB in the aftermath of 7/7:

"I also remember attending a meeting in Michael Howard’s office with the Muslim Council of Britain. They just didn’t get it. They couldn’t bear to accept that it was down to them to take action. They bleated on about the War in Iraq but could not grasp that it was up to them to control the Immams who were preaching hate in Mosques up and down the country. They thought it was up to the government. Michael Howard was superb. He told them exactly what he thought and who was to blame."

We need more of Michael Howard’s approach and less of John Prescott making soothing phone calls to Muslim leaders.  We also need constant reminders of the chronology of the war on terror.  John Humphrys was brutal with Douglas Alexander this morning only seconds after the Today presenter had given one of the letter signatories an easy time of it.  The following quote from Alan Mendoza on Comment is free should be posted in the Today programme’s studio…

"The first attempt to destroy the World Trade Centre occurred in 1993, long before Middle Eastern nation-building was on the Anglo-US agenda. The only question therefore is whether we allow the militants to engage with us now – when they are "just" terrorists – or whether they do so when they are in control of a swathe of Middle Eastern states, backed up by nuclear weapons. I know which I prefer."

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