Iraq and Glasgow

There's new evidence that the Iraq war did provide a proximate cause for the attempted terror attacks in Britain:

Shiraz Maher, a former member of the radical group Hizb ut-Tahrir who knew Dr. Abdulla in Cambridge, painted a different picture. In an interview on BBC television broadcast Tuesday, he said: "He actively cheered the death of British and American troops. One of his best friends had been killed by Shias."

This last part alarms me the most - because it's the first time I've heard of a sectarian motive within Islam being used to justify violence against those outside it. Abdulla is clearly a Sunni, angered at US and UK support of Shia in Iraq. This paradigm reveals the real danger of our further enmeshment in a Muslim civil war: we can turn one or both sides against us. The imperative to get out before this compounds itself as a problem is urgent.

At the same time, it's far too convenient to regard this threat as somehow caused by the Iraq war. Its roots go far deeper. The Sunni fundamentalism that targets the Shia and insufficiently crazed Muslims is also part of a more general Islamist threat to all secular order:

At its core, Islam is deeply sceptical of the idea of a secular state. There is no rendering unto Caesar because state and religion are believed to be inseparable. This idea then interacts with centuries-old edicts of Islamic jurists about how the land of Islam should interact with the world of unbelievers, known as dar ul-kufr. The modern radicals then take it further, declaring that since, with the exception perhaps of Pakistan and Iran, there are no Islamic states, the whole world is effectively the land of the unbelievers. As a result, some radicals believe waging war on the whole world is justified to re-create it as an Islamic state.

They go as far as reclassifying the globe as dar ul-harb, "land of war", apparently allowing Muslims to destroy the sanctity of the five rights that every human is granted under Islam: life, wealth, land, mind and belief. In dar ul-harb, anything goes, including the killing of civilians. While it may appear absurd to most, this nihilistic but exclusivist world view is clearly attracting significant numbers of young Muslims.

And many live in Europe.