Ed Husain for the Telegraph.
It's comfortable for us to think that these are the actions of a small minority – but are they? The vile mob that hurled abuse against returning troops does not operate in a vacuum, somehow removed from other Muslims. Only two weeks ago, the same group of extremists openly marched in Tower Hamlets, Britain's most densely populated "Muslim area". Where was the local outrage against these bigots? The nearby east London Mosque – Europe's largest Muslim institution – sends groups of young vigilantes to hound local prostitutes and drug dealers, but it turns a blind eye to extremism.Indeed, could it be comfort that drives the appeasement of Islam... we just don't want to believe it? The obvious question when the "tiny minority" argument is made... well where is the majority to denounce them?
The existing strategy, "Preventing Violent Extremism", has made it easy for non-violent extremists. It has meant that supporting Islamism, condemning parliamentary democracy, advocating the destruction of Israel and calling for jihad against British troops in Afghanistan or elsewhere has been tolerated because it is not directly violent. Contest 2 must explicitly break with this approach.Yes, it is the foolish and ignorant policies of the government that makes the spread of this extremism possible. They are just harmless until they are actually making the bombs.