Lord Desai: The Roots of Terror: Islam or Islamism?
London, UK - 1 July 2007, 08:46 GMT - Two men rammed a flaming Jeep
into the main passenger terminal of Glasgow airport at 2:00pm on Saturday,
30th June, crashing into the glass doors at the entrance and sparking a
fire with more than a thousand people inside. Security bollards blocked
the path of the vehicle as the driver tried to ram the main doors of the
Glasgow airport terminal. The air became heavy with the stench of petrol.
Driver and passenger leapt from the vehicle and it burst into flames. Airport
staff described the men as screaming "Allah" as the driver
doused the burning vehicle with more fuel soaking himself in the process.
Dear ATCA Colleagues
[Please note that the views presented by individual contributors are
not necessarily representative of the views of ATCA, which is neutral.
ATCA conducts collective Socratic dialogue on global opportunities and
This comes close on the heels of the two vehicles stranded in the heart
of London's West End shopping and theatre district with car bombs made
from gas canisters, gasoline and nails left the day before yesterday.
UK police are conducting one of their biggest ever manhunts. The UK Home
Office has raised its terrorist threat assessment to the highest level,
"critical,'' from "severe,'' meaning an attack
is expected imminently. It was last at "critical" in
August 2006, after the foiled airline bomb plots.
Glasgow airport was closed and evacuated yesterday, and two people were
arrested. "We believe the incident at Glasgow airport is linked
to the events in London,'' Strathclyde Chief Constable Willie Rae
has said. "There are clearly similarities, and we can confirm
that this is being treated as a terrorist incident.''
The terror incidents come days before the second anniversary of 7th July,
2005, when four Islamic extremist suicide bombers killed 52 people on
London's transport system in the deadliest strike on the city since World
COBRA, the UK Cabinet's emergency committee, met twice yesterday after
convening the previous day in response to the London bombs. "It
is right to raise the level of security in airports and in crowded places
in the light of the heightened threat,'' Prime Minister Gordon Brown
said in a televised statement after the COBRA meeting. He said the London
incidents and the Glasgow "attack'' should remind people to
We are grateful to The Lord Desai of St Clement Danes, based at the Palace
of Westminster, London, for his submission to ATCA, "The Roots
of Terror: Islam or Islamism? Distinguishing between Religion and Ideology."
Professor Lord Meghnad Desai -- Baron Desai of St Clement Danes -- (born
10/07/1940) is a British economist, writer and Labour politician. His
recent book, "Rethinking Islamism: The Ideology of the New Terror"
[IB Tauris / Palgrave Macmillan] was published in December 2006. Born
in Vadodara (Baroda), India, Desai grew up with his four siblings - two
brothers and two sisters. He went straight to secondary school at the
age of five, matriculated at 14, was an Honours student before he was
18, had a Master's degree before age 20, and a PhD at age 22. After he
secured a Master's degree from the Mumbai School of Economics (then Bombay
School of Economics), his parents wanted him to become an elite Indian
Administrative Service (IAS) officer. But the qualifying age was 21, and
he was still 19. In between, he won a scholarship to the University of
Pennsylvania. He left India in August 1960. From Pennsylvania, where he
completed his PhD in 1963, he served as an intern at the London School
of Economics and got a job there in 1965. In 1989 he married fellow-economist
Gail Wilson. Lord Desai has written extensively on a wide range of subjects.
From 1984-1991, he was co-editor of the Journal of applied Economics.
He has been both Chair and President of Islington South and Finsbury Constituency
Labour Party in London and was made a life peer as Baron Desai, of St
Clement Danes in the City of Westminster in April 1991.
In 2002, Lord Desai wrote a book Marx's Revenge: The Resurgence of Capitalism
and the Death of Statist Socialism which states that globalization would
tend toward the revival of socialism. He published a biography of Indian
film star Dilip Kumar titled, "Nehru's Hero: Dilip Kumar in the
life of India" [Roli, 2004]. He has described the book as his
'greatest achievement'. Examining Kumar's films - some of which Desai
has seen more than 15 times - he discovers parallels between the socio-political
arena in India and its reflection on screen. He discusses issues as varied
as censorship, the iconic values of Indian machismo, cultural identity
and secularism, and analyses how the films portrayed a changing India
at that time. During the course of writing this book he met Kishwar Ahluwalia,
his second wife who worked as an editor for this book. On July 20, 2004
he married Ahluwalia. Desai, then 64, and 47-year-old Ahluwalia, were
both divorcees and married at a registrar's office in London. In 2005
he retired as Director of the Centre for the Study of Global Governance,
which he founded in 1992 at LSE, where he is now Professor Emeritus. He
is Chairman of the Trustee's Board for Training for Life, Chairman of
the Management Board of City Roads and on the Board of Tribune magazine.
He is an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society. He writes:
Dear DK and Colleagues
Re: The Roots of Terror: Islam or Islamism? Distinguishing between Religion
Religion is a private matter or at least ought to be. Religion provides
solace to the troubled psyche of many when they are puzzled by accidents
of life such as sudden death of a beloved person. Yet religion is often
in the public arena. Every religion has been used as a tool for aggression
and violence, to instil hatred of the people of other religions. No religion
has a monopoly of virtue though each will claim the others are worse.
Distinguish between religion and ideology. Then you fight the terrorist
while leaving the devout alone to pursue her or his faith.
We look forward to your further thoughts, observations and views. Thank
For and on behalf of DK Matai, Chairman, Asymmetric Threats Contingency
ATCA: The Asymmetric Threats Contingency
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