Article by Robin Cook

[fusion_builder_container background_color=”#f2f2f2″ background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”#1e73be” border_style=”solid” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”5px” padding_left=”15px” padding_right=”15px” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”yes” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_content_boxes layout=”icon-with-title” title_size=”” icon_circle=”” icon_size=”” icon_align=”left” columns=”1″ margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_content_box title=”The struggle against terrorism cannot be won by military means” icon=”fa-pencil-square-o” backgroundcolor=”” iconcolor=”” circlecolor=”” circlebordercolor=”” iconflip=”” iconrotate=”” iconspin=”no” image=”” image_width=”35″ image_height=”35″ link=”” linktext=”” linktarget=”_self” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″] The article by the British parliamentarian Robin Cook (1946-2005) was published in The Guardian in the wake of the London bombings. His appeal to the West for ‘ focusing more on our common ground with the Muslim world than on what divides us’ is consistent with the stance of the European Enlightenment and its Muslim counterparts, and apparently goes against the conventional wisdom of our times which sees Islam and the modern West as two mutually exclusive entities having no organic connection. The basic argument of Cook that the struggle cannot be won by military means is exactly what the Pakistani novelist Ibn-e-Safi had written in 1975, imagining a scenario very similar to the present-day war against terror. Safi had written, “A battle of the minds is fought alone, and need not require an army.”[/fusion_content_box][/fusion_content_boxes][fusion_text]

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Excerpt

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Osama bin Laden is no more a true representative of Islam than General Mladic, who commanded the Serbian forces, could be held up as an example of Christianity. After all, it is written in the Qur’an that we were made into different peoples not that we might despise each other, but that we might understand each other.

Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, literally “the database”, was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians. Inexplicably, and with disastrous consequences, it never appears to have occurred to Washington that once Russia was out of the way, Bin Laden’s organisation would turn its attention to the west.

The danger now is that the west’s current response to the terrorist threat compounds that original error. So long as the struggle against terrorism is conceived as a war that can be won by military means, it is doomed to fail. The more the west emphasises confrontation, the more it silences moderate voices in the Muslim world who want to speak up for cooperation. Success will only come from isolating the terrorists and denying them support, funds and recruits, which means focusing more on our common ground with the Muslim world than on what divides us.

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