Birmingham I:Change welcome the spirit of the speech made by the Prime Minister David Cameron at the Munich Security conference (5th February 2011) but are strongly concerned with the misguided attempt to singularly see Muslims through the ‘lens of security’, something which seems to be a continuing problem obsessing ours and other European governments.
Discussions have taken place in our communities and some feel that what started off as a speech on conflict prevention soon became heavily focused on multiculturalism, Islam and extremist acts carried out by those individuals who we agree wrongly use Islam to carry out unjustified acts of terror. We feel disappointed that the rise in convictions of right wing extremists who also use acts of violence was not particularly addressed nor given a similar spotlight.
In today’s Guardian newspaper, David Miliband suggested that the ‘war on terror’ was wrong. Better late than never.
Acknowledging that it had ‘defined the terrain’ since the attacks of 9/11, Miliband argued that it was wrong on several counts. That it:
…gave the impression of a unified, transnational enemy, embodied in the figure of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida…
…[and] implied that the correct response was primarily military.
He went on to conclude:
The call for a “war on terror” was a call to arms, an attempt to build solidarity for a fight against a single shared enemy. But the foundation for solidarity between peoples and nations should be based not on who we are against, but on the idea of who we are and the values we share. Terrorists succeed when they render countries fearful and vindictive; when they sow division and animosity; when they force countries to respond with violence and repression. The best response is to refuse to be cowed.