The Islamic State, made all the more frightening because 20% of IS is manned by Europeans, has been a problem waiting to happen for decades, and the reason is simple; we turned away from the possibility that it was any kind of threat at all. Why are we faced with a knee-jerk response to these recent disgusting and disturbing incidents?
It's all about two dirty words we hide from: religion, and poverty.
Much of this all started in our communities at home, in the first generation of immigrants arriving from the Islamic nations. Responsibility lies as much with these Muslim-baby-boomers, the immigrants themselves, as the indigenous English population for this almighty cock up; those that refused to integrate with us, and those that refused to allow them to integrate and be one with us.
Muslim parents who couldn't be bothered to speak English and learn how a civilised society should adopt the mother tongue of its host nation; the parents who agreed with polygamous marriages, having often two to three council houses each with a hen in it and clucking little brood. Don't tell me a Muslim father pretending to be a dad to a dozen offspring will bring his boys and girls up properly, teaching them good citizenship and to be accepting of our British values; no, instead his children will grow up watching their mothers wrapped in cloth, owned like possessions, living as second-rate citizens while their fathers do what they like as and when they choose, but save themselves for mosque and prayers. These young lost sheep grow up in poverty with only one concept of purpose, that Allah will reward them for their sacrifices. That is not how our great nation raises children, locked into a religious mind control and mired in poverty. This led to an on-going cycle of segregation into large and largely Muslim communities in the UK and across Europe, becoming almost like ghettos where hatred and disillusionment bloomed, whilst the rest of us sat watching, chastising and belittling.
So whilst this was going on behind closed doors, what did the governments do? Nothing. So why has no one intervened? Surely the writing has been on the wall? We have all failed, and damn us for doing so, we had an opportunity to stop it if we'd only seen that they were not outsiders, but the same as us. The kids now wandering off to Syria and Iraq to fight for the nonsensical creation that is IS are no different to the kids I grew up with on the council estates of Preston who joined the National Front, the British National Party and went 'Paki bashing'.
They had no parents, having grown up in care like me, hating everyone and everything, didn't feel loved, or understood, or accepted. So they spewed hatred at the only thing they understood, someone or something close by that was different. A rage against a thing, an-'anything' that was odd or could be seen as part of the problem. The Pakistani community was not part of our problem, they were in the same boat as us, yet we chose to direct our nastiness at it, at them.
One night many years ago a gang of Pakistani youth, suspecting me to be a 'Paki basher', set upon me with a knife. They were all dirty unwashed young lads, born in Preston, just like me. They even sounded like me; the abuse they hurled as they slashed at my plastic waterproof jacket had my northern accent.
I went on to serve in the British Army, I have defended Muslims on a number of operational tours in the Balkans and in later life, with socially empowering business projects in Afghanistan and a number of Islamic nations in Africa. I own and run a orphanage in Sierra Leone, with 78 Muslim children in it. I have also helped and defended Christians, and fought both when and where necessary, but never once was it holy to me, it was simply good against bad, protecting those who are being attacked or hurt. Religion never ever came into it; just the belief that humans can be born good, and can and will do good things. I often wonder if my pals from Preston, trying to stab me that day, are now in Syria. It wouldn't surprise me, if you'd seen where they lived back then and the anger they exuded.
What's my point? Problems start back home, in poverty, with bad parents and poor role models, the children given no mentors or guidance as they're ignored by society at large. The only available guidance they receive - the dirty words from religious clerics and violent lyrics from music. It's all about becoming indoctrinated with vile bile.
We can't really hold the candle of morality against the extremist Muslims in their community when we do exactly the same things as them, and hold the same belief structure to be true. I was debating recently in America with a lawyer friend who told me that his little boy had just been circumcised, because it was 'cleaner' and culturally 'the thing to do'. I laughed and replied that not only was this utter nonsense but that any genital mutilation of a child is abhorrent child abuse. He didn't agree, but it doesn't matter to me if he does or he doesn't, the facts are clear. We cannot lecture Islam about female genital mutilation, cutting the clitoris and labia from young girls - I've seen its effects where I work in Africa, the infections that can kill, not to mention the trauma, the long-term belittling of women to second-rate citizens and male control this exemplifies - when we cut our little boys' penises. We don't have the moral authority to do so, it's simple, they won't take us seriously all the while we are hypocrites.
Equally we don't have the right to tell Muslims in the UK that you can't lecture kids on Sharia law, when we insist on getting our kids christened into the Church of England just so they can go to a good school. How is that freedom and the separation of church and state? Why should I have to put my child through a voodoo ceremony just for the sake of his education? To do so would be dishonest and against my moral beliefs, good beliefs based on the fact I am born good, not as deities would have it, born evil until I beg forgiveness for being born.
This hypocrisy is the problem. Until we adopt a wholly secular approach to education, and raise all our children with dads being around and institutions that do not indoctrinate children into religions of any kind but instead merely offer it a spiritual pathway for discussion and decision later on, we won't ever get past this point in our social evolution. It's a stalemate. Christians, Muslims, all of us. Faith has a place in humanity but not in the manner it is currently proscribed; we all have an obligation to break this cycle and remove religion from child indoctrination. Raising people out of poverty and offering them hope and choice will mean less reliance on holy texts borne from fairy tales, consolidating the rich history of our country and shared ideals, led by politicians brave enough to refute religion in all its guises, leadership that allows us to be a free and fair society without the constraints of bowing to alters made by man. All of this, led from the grass roots within our communities by strong community leaders and robust central government will guide us from this dark place.
It is true that terrorism in all its forms is little more than organised thuggery, gangs of violent criminals who seek to join together as a mob and direct evil. All the current terrorist organisations in the world - I'll not list them - are criminal networks who seek financial gain and demagogue status as primary proceeds. IS will be destroyed, but another group will take their place, with a new bunch of demagogues who get together and claim a direct link to the Prophet as they seek power. No different to the Kings and Queens who ruled Great Britain in the past, the same ludicrous crusading mentality to destroy a people solely because their ideologies are different to our own. So when they are destroyed, what then? Who next? Stability and peace can only come when we address the grass root issues overseas and at home.
In virtually all conflicts, all over the world, all rebels, insurgents, terrorists, belligerents, suicide squads, call them what you will, all earn less than £5 a day. For a fiver, they'll saw your head off. Now, it doesn't take the brains of Sherlock Holmes to work out that bombs are really expensive, and if the United Nations did its job (instead of making Posh Spice a 'good will' ambassador, a title I really truly don't understand), and spent £5 a head on the poorest, most disaffected and pissed-off peoples in the world, creating jobs, societal empowerment, opportunity and hope - guess what, all our enemies would have 90% less recruitment base. While we would have lots cash to spend on creating jobs and improving society, rather than trillions on bombs and bullets.
Of course the 10% remaining need to go, and go they will, there will always be the percentage of no hopers, lost causes, evil for being evils sakes, we will always have to find these scum bags and of course that's what special forces are for. Oh and the courts. (Once you leave society to join these lynch mobs expect no mercy or reprieve from me). But a multi-layered response is now necessary for good and peace to prevail; there's been enough looking away, let us deal with this once and for all, and just maybe in a few generations from now we could have this resolved. Because if not the possibility exists that we could be embarking on the beginnings of WWIII.