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Frustration mounts among UK Muslims -

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Frustration mounts among UK Muslims

Reporter: Tony Jones

TONY JONES: And we'll cross now to London. Faisal Bodi is a news editor of the London-based Islam
Channel and a self-described Islamist journalist.Faisal Bodi, thanks for joining us.


TONY JONES: Now only days after the first London bombings you wrote in The Guardian, "The bloody
trail of blame leads straight to 10 Downing Street." Were you suggesting in any way that Britain's
role in the Iraq war may have justified those attacks?

FAISAL BODI: Absolutely. That's exactly what I was saying. It's quite clear to everybody on the
street, except the Government, which appears to be in denial at the moment, that without our
intervention in Iraq we would have avoided the atrocities that happened on July 7th and the
attempted bombings on July 21st.

TONY JONES: I mean, are you now saying the attacks were justified, though? That's the question I
was asking.

FAISAL BODI: No, no. I'm not saying in any way that they were they justified. By no sort ethical
measure can you justify attacks on innocent civilians. However, what we have here is a swamp of
grievance that's bred or created by injustices and oppression against Muslims overseas and that
feeds into resentment and violent activities over here. We live in a global village now. What is
called the "butterfly effect" is more like a tsunami effect. Nobody can be sort of immune or
totally insulated from the actions of anybody else. In fact, our government anticipated that. Over
the last four or five years we've had a succession of anti-terrorism measures that have been
introduced and enforced in this country and much of which has been in anticipation of the foreign
policies and the kind of policies that was going to enact overseas. So it was basically waiting and
expecting an atrocity to happen and said as much in the aftermath of the bombings.

TONY JONES: What do you make of Dominic Grieves' comments on Radio 4 because other Tories are
quickly distancing themselves from what he said.

FAISAL BODI: It's a very welcome common-sense opinion, but it's something that a lot of the
politicians are across the spectrum, across the party divide, are in self-denial about. You've got
to remember in Britain there was almost total cross-party support, barring a few sort of belated
reservations from some LibDems for the intervention of Iraq. Now for the politicians to admit that
it might have been their decisions three years ago or four years ago that led to - in some way
contributed to the blow-back here, is an admission of failure and, you know, politicians by nature
aren't brave people.

TONY JONES: Now Faisal Bodi, you spoke earlier about this "butterfly effect". You need an
astonishing amount of resentment to convince a young British born and in some cases certainly
living in Britain, young home-grown Britons at least, to convince them to kill other people and to
kill themselves at the same time. How does that level of resentment build up in British cities?

FAISAL BODI: Well, you don't really need to have - you don't have to look at the people who carried
out this atrocity to see why people might kill innocent civilians. We only need to look at Iraq and
look at our Government's intervention in Iraq and look at how we went to war and increasingly it
becomes more and more obvious by the day. It was on an unjust basis. Our Prime Minister in fact
lied to us for the reasons we were going to war with Iraq. We were told there were weapons of mass
destruction. We were told Saddam Hussein would have to be removed because he was pursuing a program
of weapons of mass destruction. No weapons of mass destruction were found, yet we blew the
smithereens out of the whole country and thousands of innocent people were killed in the process.
We also have to look at the psyche of the politicians and the soldiers who are committing these
crimes to find out what the parallels are with the bombers are at home. Okay, if you want a clear
answer to the question that you put, it seems a long way from watching injustices and oppression
meted out against your coalitions in a distant part of the world to actually planning and plotting
and attacking which you are killing innocent civilians here. But the level of anger and the level
of frustration at being unable to do anything, being unable to influence government policy in this
country, it's leading people down dead ends. We've had a succession of huge demonstrations, the
likes of which this country has never seen before, which have almost come to an end now because
people have come to the conclusion that this Government just won't listen. The Prime Minister and
the Cabinet have made up their mind what they're going to do overseas and no amount of persuasion
and no amount of democratic action is going to change that.

TONY JONES: Can you try to explain this for us. I mean, how could anyone feel anger over injustice
and then commit the most dreadful injustice themselves of slaughtering innocent people as a result?

FAISAL BODI: Absolutely. There are a whole host of reasons for that, one of which was alluded to by
your contributor from Britain earlier, the interviewee, who said there are some preachers who
exploit this injustice and preach what they called a "shoddy theology". But, you know, you can't
have a shoddy theology without a dodgy foreign policy. The fertile ground has to be there for these
people to be influenced. We don't simply need to look at Iraq. We had a story that was spread
across The Guardian yesterday where a British citizen of Ethiopian extraction has spent
two-and-a-half years in prisons in Morocco, Guantanamo Bay and in Bagram in Afghanistan and he was
routinely tortured to the extent he had incisions made in his penis once every month and with the
blessing and with the connivance of MI6 officials, if we are to believe his story. So that kind of
thing - we can't expect to be immune or insulate ourselves from the effects of our foreign policy.
We've got to sort that out. We've got to re-establish our foreign policy on a more ethical basis,
on a basis that doesn't alienate people and which doesn't anger and frustrate people and on a basis
that actually brings people closer together.

TONY JONES: Let me ask you this because it is still incomprehensible to many people how this could
have happened. Does any of this deep anger come back to racial antagonism in British cities, in the
Midlands and the north in particular?

FAISAL BODI: No. I think it is premature to talk about that. We've had a recent history of rioting
in our northern cities, particularly Bradford and Oldham. This was in 2001. But, I think it's far
too early to say that racial profiling or sort of bad policing - these were all caused by local
factors and by things like economic deprivation, social exclusion, poor access of job market and so
on. In many cases they were actually triggered by a perception of an external threat by white
racism in the community. The trouble now is I think with the police overreaction to the crimes that
were committed on 7th July and the campaign now to step up stop and searches and introduce racial
profiling. We're going to end up with a situation in Britain which we had in the '70s and which led
to the worst outbreak of civil unrest this country has ever seen in 1981 in our inner cities. In
Liverpool, in Manchester, in Brixton, in London where black people, Afro-Caribbean people mainly
took to the streets and challenged the police. The biggest contributory factor in all of that was
police harassment, intimidation that started with the abuse of stop and search laws. Now, it's all
very well saying stopping and searching people that fit a particular profile is the way forward.
Nobody is against that. If it is done sensibly and if it is intelligence led, that is fine. But
what we found in Britain is police were abusing this power and stopping black people at random,
abusing them physically and intimidating them, harassing them and it got to the point where people
had just had enough.

TONY JONES: Let me ask you this: I think you may have heard at the beginning of this program and if
not you should be aware there have been calls in this country for racial profiling as part of the
policing of public transport and so on.

FAISAL BODI: Yes. I heard.

TONY JONES: What do you say to anyone in Australia who's considering going down that path?

FAISAL BODI: Well, I'd approach it with caution and whatever politicians and the authorities and
policemen might say about these operations being intelligence-driven and being done sensitively, it
ultimately puts a lot of power into the hands of individual police officers on the streets and
police forces. We know from experience in this country that the police officers aren't usually the
best people to handle these powers in a sensitive manner. So if it's to be introduced, it has to be
done with lots and checks and balances to ensure that whole communities aren't stigmatised and
aren't targetted. It's one thing being stopped once in a while if you fit a particular profile, but
if it becomes a daily occurrence, then it's going to antagonise and it's going to radicalise

TONY JONES: Alright, Faisal Bodi. That's where we'll have to leave you. Thank you very much for
taking the time to come and talk to us tonight.

FAISAL BODI: Thank you very much.