Home Secretary says UK terror alert not about a religious clash

By staff writers
August 10, 2006

Home Secretary says UK terror alert not about a religious clash

-10/08/06

As Britain today (10 August 2006) stood on critical alert against an alleged serial terrorist attack plan involving airlines operating to and from the UK, Home Secretary John Reid stressed that the threat was ìnot a matter of a clash of religions or civilisations, but of terrorists who wish to use evil methods against the rest.î

Dr Reid said that British people from every ethnic and faith or non-faith background had a common interest in thwarting such attacks, and that the need to be vigilant ìunites people of all religionsî.

The Home Secretary was speaking at a London press conference with security heads. He and senior police chiefs had earlier revealed a suspected plot to blow up planes to the US in mid-flight and cause "mass murder on an unimaginable scale".

The authorities say that this plot has been disrupted, and Scotland Yard is stressing that it is involved in ìan extensive and complex operationî. Heightened security is causing severe delays at all UK airports, reports the BBC.

A great number of the victims of terrorism are Muslims, including men women and children, said Dr Reid ñ conscious of recent criticism that security measures reflect prejudice against Muslim people and ethnic minority groups.

The government and the police also endured sustained criticism over the recent Forest Gate house raid where a man was injured by a gunshot ñ but intelligence as to the existence of chemical weapons proved unreliable.

Chaplains and some local churches and community groups have been seeking to offer support to passengers and members of the public stranded or delayed by today's airport and transport chaos.

Twenty-five people have been arrested as part of a major security swoop. The Home Secretary and Scotland Yard say that it is too early to comment on the identity and background of those involved ñ though it is believed the majority are British-born.

Human rights and legal groups are monitoring the situation closely, to ensure that the need for security does not undermine the basic rights the anti-terror operation is designed to protect.

According to MI5's website, critical threat level - the highest - means "an attack is expected imminently and indicates an extremely high level of threat to the UK".

But the authorities say that their action is precautionary rather than intelligence-based, which will lead to speculation that it is an exercise intended to heighten public response and awareness.

Opposition spokesperson William Hague, responding after the Home Secretaryís press conference, linked the terror alert for the need for progress towards peace and stability in the Middle East.

[Also on Ekklesia: Loving Without Giving In: Christian Responses to Terrorism and Tyranny (book); Moral Response to Terrorism: Conscience in a Time of War (book); World churches chief slams nuclear 'outrage'; Bishops call for post-9/11 rethink on force and freedom; Blair challenged on religious extremist crack-down; Who would Jesus shoot-to-kill, bishop asked?; Muslim tells Christians 'War on Terror' seems like 'War on Islam'; Ex-spy wages peace on terror in the Middle East; War on Terror and the Terror of God by Lee Griffith (book); Global faith gathering tackles religious roots of terror; Christian peacemakers protest on third anniversary of Iraq invasion; Canterbury Cathedral invited to turn tables on war games; Christian warnings substantiated as Israel targets Hamas; Six point alternative to war; Beyond the politics of fear - an Ekklesia response to the London bombings]

Home Secretary says UK terror alert not about a religious clash

-10/08/06

As Britain today (10 August 2006) stood on critical alert against an alleged serial terrorist attack plan involving airlines operating to and from the UK, Home Secretary John Reid stressed that the threat was ìnot a matter of a clash of religions or civilisations, but of terrorists who wish to use evil methods against the rest.î

Dr Reid said that British people from every ethnic and faith or non-faith background had a common interest in thwarting such attacks, and that the need to be vigilant ìunites people of all religionsî.

The Home Secretary was speaking at a London press conference with security heads. He and senior police chiefs had earlier revealed a suspected plot to blow up planes to the US in mid-flight and cause "mass murder on an unimaginable scale".

The authorities say that this plot has been disrupted, and Scotland Yard is stressing that it is involved in ìan extensive and complex operationî. Heightened security is causing severe delays at all UK airports, reports the BBC.

A great number of the victims of terrorism are Muslims, including men women and children, said Dr Reid ñ conscious of recent criticism that security measures reflect prejudice against Muslim people and ethnic minority groups.

The government and the police also endured sustained criticism over the recent Forest Gate house raid where a man was injured by a gunshot ñ but intelligence as to the existence of chemical weapons proved unreliable.

Chaplains and some local churches and community groups have been seeking to offer support to passengers and members of the public stranded or delayed by today's airport and transport chaos.

Twenty-five people have been arrested as part of a major security swoop. The Home Secretary and Scotland Yard say that it is too early to comment on the identity and background of those involved ñ though it is believed the majority are British-born.

Human rights and legal groups are monitoring the situation closely, to ensure that the need for security does not undermine the basic rights the anti-terror operation is designed to protect.

According to MI5's website, critical threat level - the highest - means "an attack is expected imminently and indicates an extremely high level of threat to the UK".

But the authorities say that their action is precautionary rather than intelligence-based, which will lead to speculation that it is an exercise intended to heighten public response and awareness.

Opposition spokesperson William Hague, responding after the Home Secretaryís press conference, linked the terror alert for the need for progress towards peace and stability in the Middle East.

[Also on Ekklesia: Loving Without Giving In: Christian Responses to Terrorism and Tyranny (book); Moral Response to Terrorism: Conscience in a Time of War (book); World churches chief slams nuclear 'outrage'; Bishops call for post-9/11 rethink on force and freedom; Blair challenged on religious extremist crack-down; Who would Jesus shoot-to-kill, bishop asked?; Muslim tells Christians 'War on Terror' seems like 'War on Islam'; Ex-spy wages peace on terror in the Middle East; War on Terror and the Terror of God by Lee Griffith (book); Global faith gathering tackles religious roots of terror; Christian peacemakers protest on third anniversary of Iraq invasion; Canterbury Cathedral invited to turn tables on war games; Christian warnings substantiated as Israel targets Hamas; Six point alternative to war; Beyond the politics of fear - an Ekklesia response to the London bombings]

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