A newly leaked US diplomatic cable expresses concern at the growing anger among Britain’s Blair Government against the nation’s Muslim minority, citing the reaction to a public letter criticizing Blair’s foreign policy as a primary motivator.
The cable comes in the wake of the August 2006 “terror” foiling, which involved a lot of arrests surrounding a largely illusory plot and a lot of anti-Muslim backlash. Shortly after the arrests and subsequent crackdown by Home Secretary John Reid (Blair having left on vacation shortly before the heavily choreographed foiling), a number of British Muslim groups released a letter chiding the government for its foreign policy and saying that the attacks on civilians in Iraq were only fueling terror domestically.
The reaction from Reid et al to the letter was barely restrained fury against the “dangerous” criticism, with officials insisting that changing the foreign policy would be “giving in to terrorists” and angrily insisting that foreign policy had absolutely nothing to do with any domestic reaction, with the Foreign Secretary insisting anyone who believed otherwise had a “distorted view of life.”
The cable reports the government was planning to meet with Muslim leaders to demand that they “prevent extremism” and also to insist that foreign policy was, again, totally unrelated to the problem of terrorism.
Of course such a viewpoint had yet to enter the American political mainstream either as of 2006, so it is perhaps understandable, but noteworthy, that the US officials in the cable marveled at the idea that a murderous foreign policy might have some unforseen domestic impact. The officials seemed completely appalled to note that it was not just Muslims and “even the mainstream media” in Britain was advancing the idea that the wars were fueling domestic terrorism.