Muslim community worker ‘warned officers about Manchester bomber five years ago’

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According to Metro news a member of the Muslim community reported the Manchester bomber years ago and nothing was done, that’s because nothing could be done. While communication is certainly one of the key factors in solving the problem with radical Muslims reporting someone for odd behaviour isn’t. In a free country like the U.S. or the UK police usually can’t do anything until an actual crime is committed. The issue then becomes one of getting a person who is talking about hurting themselves or other people the professional care they need but unless a person has been declared incompetent they have to want help.

So while it is noble and responsible to report a potential problem to the professionals there isn’t much anyone can do directly. Until we are perfect beings there will always be violence and neglect that allows violence to happen.  Only due diligence from security and law enforcement professionals can help mitigate it, but we are not completely powerless.  The Global Economic Symposium generated a wonderful, intelligent list of solutions to terrorism in 2008:

  • In dealing with terrorism, place emphasis on the state´s capacity to protect the public, permit the exercise of its freedoms, and maintain public services.
  • If the government succeeds in protecting the public and maintaining public services, then publicize the impact of terrorist violence on innocent civilians, in order to weaken the legitimacy of terrorist groups. At the same time, avoid overreaction.
  • Avoid policies and pronouncements that feed grievance. In pluralistic societies, pursue policies that integrate immigrants, rather than just providing passive welfare support.
  • Initiate a regional security regime for all the states of the Gulf and the Levant, aimed at mutual diplomatic recognition, gradual withdrawal of foreign forces, and nuclear nonproliferation.
  • Govern through inclusive, legitimized political institutions, avoiding instrumental justification of violence.
  • Initiate a comprehensive international initiative to prevent weapons of mass destruction falling into terrorist hands.
  • Strengthen our ability to manage the financial risks of terrorism through a combination of public and private instruments: terrorism catastrophe bonds, mutual insurance pools, and government insurance support.

All of these are great ideas and should be implemented worldwide but they are lofty, and unrealistic at this point in human history. As individuals we can vote for leaders that support these kinds of initiatives and change will happen, even if slowly. On an interpersonal level encouraging those we are concerned with to seek professional help is our only real option. If bad things do happen then supporting the victims and maintaining our freedoms and our democracy guarantees we do not and will not let the bad guys win.

 

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The Disturbing Rise of Anti-Americanism

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Unless you have been living in a a cave since the beginning of January you are probably well aware of the controversies surrounding the current U.S. government. Trump and his administration have rightfully been accused of racism, xenophobia, misogyny, religious fundamentalism and anti-intellectualism. People are calling them fascists, bigots, unprepared and unfit to govern. No matter how true or untrue these accusations may be what’s worrisome is how often these feelings are placed on the entire American population.

U.S. foreign policy has a history of being based on self-interest and going against global trends. A few examples:

  • In the 1930’s the U.S. Government was complacent in the cover up of the Ukrainian genocide. ‘The US State Department was well aware of what was occurring in Ukraine, but chose to do nothing because the republic was not vital to American interests. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the American president at the time, was aiming to establish formal diplomatic relations with the USSR and did not wish to compromise negotiations’ (1)
  • The United States pulled out the Kyoto Accord, a treaty intended to help reduce greenhouse emissions. President Bush stated that it would hurt the economy.(2)
  • The United States also refused to sign the international treaty banning landmines (3)
  • Iran-contra: The U.S.defied an international ban and sold arms to Iran(4)

While it sometimes makes sense to protect national interests, that can be taken too far to flag2the detriment of everyone. Now thanks to a combination of self-centered foreign policy and media sensationalism the world is facing an anti-Americanism that is unsettling. In 2016 America’s image internationally had risen but Americans were still considered greedy, arrogant, violent and optimistic and hardworking but not tolerant.(5)  The same research showed little faith in Trump and safe to assume that future research will show declining results.

While there is certainly reason to dislike and worry about American foreign policy. There is no reason to hate Americans. With only two parties to choose from and even a civil war, the United States is a nation that has always had a deep cultural divide(6).  With all of the media attention on Trump’s controversies many are forgetting that more than 65 million Americans didn’t vote for him.  That means tens of millions of American’s don’t favor the current president or the controversies surrounding him. Low voter turnout was a big issue too so that number is probably a lot higher. Protests are widespread and outcry is constant, it’s hard to turn on the T.V or radio and not hear denouncement of Trump from someone in the world, including other Americans.

This blog normally doesn’t touch on politics but as humanists we are deeply against hatred worryand we fear that anti-American hatred is going to get really bad going forward but we can and will rise above. There are plenty of natural reactions to controversies like the one’s surrounding Trump’s administration so far like shock, anger or dismay but Americans are our friends, neighbors and relatives and hatred of them makes us no better then those we accuse of racism and bigotry.

Sources:

  1. Holomdomor -Denial and Silences
  2. Bush: Kyoto Treaty Would Hurt the Economy
  3. Why Hasn’t the U.S. Signed the International Ban on Landmines?
  4. United States History: Iran-Contra Affair
  5. As Obama Years Draw to Close, President and U.S. Seen Favorably in Europe and Asia.
  6. A Disunited United States: What the 2016 Election Says About America.