How radicalized are British Muslims?

The fact that, as the BBC News 24 is reporting, all 21 of those arrested this morning in connection with the airline terror plot were British-born is going to produce yet more soul-searching about the state of integration in Britain.

A recent opinion poll of British Muslims, which Timothy Garton Ash wrote about this morning, makes for sobering reading. Only 31 percent support free speech if it offends religious groups. Seventy-eight percent want those who published the cartoons of Muhammad to be punished. A mere 29 percent believe the Holocaust happened as history teaches it. Forty-five percent are convinced that 9/11 was an American/Israeli conspiracy—and that number rises to 51 percent among Muslims aged 18-24. Thirty percent would rather live under sharia rather than British law and 28 percent would like Britain to become an Islamic state. Eleven percent have firmly decided that British foreign policy justified the July 7th bombings, and 31 percent of young Muslims agree with this idea. Sadly, this is no rogue poll. Other surveys have come up with very similar results.

These numbers demonstrate how imbecilic it is to argue that if only Tony Blair hadn't allied himself with George W. Bush in the war on terror there would be no problem. So, if changing British foreign policy—or to be more frank, appeasement—won't work, then what will? This is where pretty much everyone in Britain is stumped. A good place to start might be ceasing to tolerate people wandering around London boasting "We're all Hezbollah now."


Jiang Zemin on the bestseller list

Jiang Zemin BookTwo years after his retirement, former Chinese President Jiang Zemin is putting his political legacy into print with the Selected Works of Jiang Zemin, released today in bookstores across China. The anthology of speeches and writings, published by a printing arm of the Chinese government, is one of the Communist Party of China's highest accolades; only CPC icons Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping have had their selected works published before.

It's pretty dense stuff - uncontroversial and over a thousand pages long. Nonetheless, the books are flying off the shelves. Why? In usual Chinese state-sponsored fashion, purchases will be compulsory in many government institutions. Sales are also expected to be strong (and sometimes mandatory) among members of China's expansive military. And of course, there's no shortage of nationalism among Chinese readers. But topping the bestseller list may not be the only thing on Jiang's mind. Some analysts think he may be using the book to reestablish his political clout in the run-up to an important CPC Congress next year.