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|The Spectator Opines on Terror Weak and Wobbly on the Causes of and Remedies for Terror|
Fighting terrorism requires very tough, practical measures. There is a need for surveillance, raids, arrests and incarceration, however ugly they might sometimes be. But as the intelligence services are the first to point out, they can never tackle terrorism on their own. They require the co-operation of the communities in which the terrorists shelter, and of those who offer tip-offs (a concerned family member, for instance, is understood to have prompted police to arrest a terror suspect last month in Westminster). So often the heroes of counter-terrorism operations are those Muslim families, friends, neighbours and acquaintances who, when they suspect someone close of planning a terror attack, overcome their sense of loyalty and choose to report their suspicions.
It is, of course, nonsense to say that jihadism has nothing to do with Islam. Nor can one downplay the numbers potentially involved: the intelligence services’ watch list now includes 3,000 names. The vast majority of Muslims certainly do denounce terrorism, but those who don’t represent a worryingly large pool of people. A survey last year showed four per cent of British Muslims expressing sympathy for terrorists, against just one percent for the general population.