Charles Krauthammer

WASHINGTON -- Six percent of British Muslims -- more than 100,000 citizens -- thought the July 7 London terror attacks were justified. A quarter of British Muslims merely sympathize with the bombers. Even more shocking, nearly one-fifth of British Muslims say they feel little or no loyalty to Britain. Yet the most disturbing news from the July 23 London Telegraph poll is that these trends are worse among younger British Muslims.

     These numbers, attesting to a massive failure of assimilation, are inconceivable in the United States with its centuries of successful Americanization. This does not mean that there cannot be isolated cells of American Muslims  -- or others, such as McVeigh-types or anti-abortion nuts -- who hate their country and want to attack it. But the massive, teeming suburbs of disaffected and alienated immigrants simply do not exist here.

     Which is why, whatever terror attacks might be in our near future, in the long run America is much safer because its enemies overwhelmingly reside overseas.

     Britain's problem, however, is not just an alienated minority but a suicidal civic openness that permits sheiks and imams to openly preach jihad against Britain. The United States, for all of its openness, does not tolerate this kind of treason. Just this month, an imam from Virginia was put away for life for the kind of incitement that makes Sheik Omar Bakri a sought-after media presence in Britain.

     Britain is now desperately trying to correct its never-neverland hospitality to agitators and inciters. It is proud of its long history of harboring exiles, misfits and revolutionaries from just about everywhere. After all, Karl Marx lived, wrote and died in London. But 52 dead and the near-miss two weeks later are helping Britain place necessity above nostalgia.

     The American response to tightening up after London has been reflexive and idiotic: random bag checks in the New York subways. Random meaning that the people stopped are to be chosen numerically. One in every 5 or 10 or 20. 

     This is an obvious absurdity and everyone knows it. It recapitulates the appalling waste of effort and resources we see at airports every day when, for reasons of political correctness, 83-year-old grandmothers from Poughkeepsie are required to remove their shoes in the search for jihadists hungering for paradise.


Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.

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