By Jonathan Hoffman
January 23, 2011
The numbers of people who are engaged in terrorism and become suicide bombers is very, very limited. But I think the global ideology that gives rise to this extremism has far deeper roots and, you know, I’m out in the Middle East a lot of the time now, and it’s the same issue everywhere. It doesn’t always come up in issues to do with terrorism or violence. It is about modernisation, it’s about attitudes to the West and it’s deep. It’s a lot deeper. And so, what happened when you got al-Qaida coming into this situation is that, it was more than just a few terrorists. It was backed with the ability to push an ideology that said, the West is fundamentally hostile to Islam, and that’s why we have to wage war against these people and we have to wage war against them and against the leaders that deal with them. Now, that ideology, in terms of how it results in violence, is very few people. That narrative about Islam and the West, I fear, has a far greater reach than we like to accept, which is why this problem is not confined to one area of the world today.
Because this is a looming and coming challenge. I’m out in that region the whole time. I see the impact and influence of Iran everywhere. It is negative, destabilising, it is supportive of terrorist groups. It is doing everything it can to impede progress in the Middle East peace process, and to facilitate a siutation in which that region cannot embark on a process of modernisation it urgently needs. And this is not because we’ve done something. You know - and I say this to you with all the passion I possibly can - at some point the West has got to get out of this - what I think is a wretched posture of apology, for believing that we are causing what the Iranians are doing or what these extremists are doing. We’re not. The fact is, they're doing it because they disagree fundamentally with our way of life, and they’ll carry on doing it unless they are met by the requisite determination and if necessary force.
President Obama goes in March 2009 to Cairo, right in the heart of Islam. He makes a speech where he says effectively, put aside the Bush era. I’m now offering you the hand of friendship. You, Iran, can come into partnership, you’re an ancient, proud civilisation, we will welcome you in. What’s the response he gets? They carry on with the terrorism, they carry on with the destabilisation, they carry on with the nuclear weapons programme. Now at some point, we’ve got to get our head out of the sand and understand, they’re going to carry on with this, and Iraq is one part of a far bigger picture.