Criticism of UK foreign policy "misjudged"

It has started - the use of the latest terrorism incident to clamp down on dissent.

Take out the "Muslim" part and look at the context then. I share the concerns of the complainants - am I a terrorist sympathiser? The JIC made a similar argument prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Muslim letter 'misjudged' - Reid

MPs Sadiq Khan and Mohammed Sarwar at a meeting with the PM
Home Secretary John Reid has described as "a dreadful misjudgement" an open letter in which Muslim groups criticise British foreign policy.
The letter, signed by three Muslim MPs, three peers and 38 groups, suggested some policies provoked terrorists acts.

Mr Reid said no competent government would remain in power if policies were "dictated by terrorists".

Echoing this stance, former Tory leader Michael Howard said the letter had given "ammunition" to extremists.

He said: "It is, I think, completely misconceived to suggest that we should change our foreign policy because it might cause some people to take up arms against us.

"That's a form of blackmail and I think that letter was completely misconceived."

The letter pointed to the "debacle" of Iraq and the UK's stance over the Middle East crisis as examples of policies which fuelled extremism.

The letter urges the prime minister to redouble his efforts to tackle terror and extremism, and change foreign policy to show that the UK values the lives of civilians.

MP Sadiq Khan, who was among those who signed the letter, said British foreign policy was seen by many as unfair and unjust.

"Whether we like it or not such a sense of injustice plays into the hands of extremists," he said.

"As moderates we will do all we can to fight extremism. We hope the government will join us in this, not just by changing the rules on hand luggage, but by showing itself as an advocate for justice in the world."

The home secretary said he would not question the motives of those who signed the letter, but said it was a "dreadful misjudgement if they believe that the foreign policy of this country should be shaped in part or in whole under the threat of terrorist activity".

Mr Reid told the BBC: "No government worth its salt would stay in power in my view, and no government worth its salt, would be supported by the British people if our foreign policy or any other aspect of policy was being dictated by terrorists.

"That is not the British way, it is antithetical to our very central values. We decide things in this country by democracy, not under the threat of terrorism."

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Muslim groups' letter

Prime Minister, As British Muslims we urge you to do more to fight against all those who target civilians with violence, whenever and wherever that happens.

It is our view that current British government policy risks putting civilians at increased risk both in the UK and abroad.

To combat terror the government has focused extensively on domestic legislation. While some of this will have an impact, the government must not ignore the role of its foreign policy.

The debacle of Iraq and now the failure to do more to secure an immediate end to the attacks on civilians in the Middle East not only increases the risk to ordinary people in that region, it is also ammunition to extremists who threaten us all.

Attacking civilians is never justified. This message is a global one. We urge the Prime Minister to redouble his efforts to tackle terror and extremism and change our foreign policy to show the world that we value the lives of civilians wherever they live and whatever their religion.

Such a move would make us all safer
It seems to have a whiff of "change course or else"

I'd be interested to see how they'd expand on some of their ideas.

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