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Men, explosives seized in London

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    Eight held, explosives seized in London ... LONDON, March 30: Police arrested eight men and seized a cache of explosives during raids at dawn on Tuesday in
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 2, 2004
      Eight held, explosives seized in London
      LONDON, March 30: Police arrested eight men and seized a cache of
      explosives during raids at dawn on Tuesday in Britain's biggest anti-
      terror operation since the Sept 11, 2001, attacks.

      With Europe already on a high state of alert after the Madrid
      bombings, British police pounced in 24 separate raids, seizing more
      than half a ton of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, which is prime bomb-
      making material.

      The eight suspects were believed to be of Pakistan origin, police
      sources said. There was enough explosive material to launch an attack
      as big as the devastating Irish Republican Army bomb that hit
      London's financial district in 1996 and killed two people.

      The fertilizer was similar to that used in the 2002 Bali bombings -
      but there was no clue about possible targets. Britain has long feared
      it could be a prime target for Muslim militants.

      London's police chief has repeatedly said he believes an attack is
      inevitable. Britain has been on high alert since the Sept 11 attacks
      in New York and Washington.

      Peter Clarke, head of Britain's anti-terror branch, said at a news
      conference that the fertilizer was discovered in a two-metre high
      plastic bag in a west London warehouse.

      "Part of the investigation will focus on the purchase, storage and
      intended use of that material," Mr Clarke said. But he did stress the
      operation was not linked to investigations into the coordinated train
      bombings in Madrid on March 11, which killed nearly 200 people, or to
      Irish extremists. -Reuters


      Manila foils terror attack
      MANILA, March 30: The Philippines said on Tuesday it had foiled
      a "Madrid-level" terror attack on shops and trains in the capital
      Manila by arresting four suspected Muslim militants and seizing a
      large amount of explosives.

      The suspected plot by members of the Abu Sayyaf group comes as
      campaigning heats up for the May 10 general election. "We have pre-
      empted a Madrid-level attack on the metropolis by capturing an
      explosive cache of 80 pounds (36kgs) of TNT which was intended to be
      used for bombing malls and trains in Metro Manila," Gloria Arroyo
      said on television. -Reuters



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      Towards a British Islam
      Thursday April 1, 2004
      The Guardian

      Several details about the eight young men arrested in
      raids across the home counties this week stir much
      thought. They are all British born. They do not live
      in areas of high deprivation, but in places like
      Crawley, Ilford and Slough. Some have young families.
      None of them fits the conventional profile of Islamist
      terrorists as alienated, isolated immigrants. If this
      is suburban Islamism, it poses difficult questions
      about Britain's record in integrating the Muslim
      community and in fostering a secure, strong sense of a
      British Islamic identity.

      There are many in the Muslim community whose warnings,
      through the early 1990s, of a radicalised generation
      fell on deaf ears. They would argue that Britain has
      not so much failed to integrate Muslims, as failed
      even to try. As they saw the traditional authority
      structures of their community undermined in the urban
      west, they saw the dangers of a disorientated youth,
      vulnerable both to drugs and Islamism. Organisations
      like the Muslim Council of Britain at the interface of
      state and Islam struggled to establish and maintain
      their credibility with both. The state's apparatus of
      multi-culturalism, with its emphasis on ethnicity
      rather than religious identity, served Muslim needs
      ill, they claimed. They would point to a catalogue of
      neglect towards the Muslim community, evident in high
      unemployment and high educational underachievement,
      particularly among Pakistani and Bangladeshi males.
      They argue that the response to setting up Muslim
      schools was too slow, and that boys' vital religious
      instruction in mosques on Saturdays has remained in
      the cultural clutches of religious authorities back in
      Pakistan or Bangladesh. The resources were inadequate
      to promote a vibrant Islam of which these British
      youngsters could be proud.

      The crucial ingredient which radicalises this kind of
      community disaffection into some individuals
      undertaking acts of extreme violence is the
      international context. It began with the slow
      international response in Bosnia, but now spans the
      globe from Chechnya and Palestine to France where the
      sisters cannot wear the hijab. The perception
      everywhere is that the proud, expansionary faith of
      Islam is under attack. That makes a faith in which the
      ummah (international community of believers) is
      central and, when combined with modern mass
      communications, quite literally explosive. Worryingly,
      this international context - in particular the war on
      Iraq - is now sapping the will of the British Muslim
      community to integrate, as a recent Guardian-ICM poll

      Britain faces a pressing task of mapping an effective
      strategy of engagement with Islam, one that spans both
      the global and local contexts. It is about when and
      why we embark on wars with Muslim nations; but it is
      also about the kinds of schools and estates which are
      built and the methods used by police against Muslims.
      This may take the British state into new territory -
      funding the training of imams, supporting mosques
      which run Arabic and scripture classes - and it is
      vital to listen to those who have been closest to the
      development of the Islamist threat over the last two
      decades. This includes a fundamental re-examination of
      our understanding of integration that does not simply
      entail minorities conforming to a British
      prescription; it challenges secular liberalism to
      offer more than polite distaste.

      It is helpful, given the current sense of fear, to
      bear in mind a useful precedent. In 1795, in the midst
      of war with France, Britain began to fund the Catholic
      Maynooth seminary in Ireland to stop students going to
      France to be trained. The example may seem arcane, but
      at the time it was contrary to all the principles of a
      protestant state. National emergency dictated that
      piece of British pragmatism - and it may do so again.




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