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Friday, June 29, 2007

What can Brown do for you?

Earlier today, British officials discovered two parked cars filled with explosives in the heart of London. The devises were set to be trigged by cell phone and were placed in high traffic areas such as outside a nightclub. Government sources so far have pegged “international elements” to be responsible for the car bombs.

And so Gordon Brown faces his first great crisis only three days into office as Prime Minister. Two years ago, Tony Blair acted with steadfast resolve and moral clarity when his country was rocked by jihadist terrorism. Today, Gordon Brown must set the stage for how his government—and indeed the United Kingdom as a whole—will react to the forces of jihad in the post-Blair era.

Mr. Brown faces quite a challenge. The Muslim population of the UK is amongst the most radical in the world. According to the left-leaning Guardian periodical, Muslims in the UK are the most anti-western in Europe, and a full ¾ of the Islamic population of Great Britain blames jihadist activity on western disrespect of Islam.

Britain’s liberal immigration laws have allowed radical clerics to preach the doctrines of jihad in London mosques and now the country finds itself swamped with a radicalized population where it is easy to walk into any movie store in Islamic communities and purchase propaganda DVDs from al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups.

Under the leadership of Tony Blair, the United Kingdom was a steadfast ally against radical Islam despite its internal crisis. The attempted bombings of today are clearly a test to challenge the fortitude of Mr. Brown. Gordon Brown is a capable minister and a decent man—but he must meet the challenge presented to him head on and wage war with the forces that have attempted time and again to destroy everything that his society is predicated upon.

The response of the Brown government will be a clear indicator of how the UK will act years into the future. The British people will either retain their stubborn pride and finish the fight or they will slink silently back into the darkness. This is Gordon Brown’s moment. How he chooses to respond is up to him, but he would do well to remember the words of Ronald Reagan:

“During the dark days of the Second World War, when this island was incandescent with courage, Winston Churchill exclaimed about Britain's adversaries, ‘What kind of people do they think we are?’ Well, Britain's adversaries found out what extraordinary people the British are. But all the democracies paid a terrible price for allowing the dictators to underestimate us. We dare not make that mistake again. So, let us ask ourselves, ‘What kind of people do we think we are?’ And let us answer, "Free people, worthy of freedom and determined not only to remain so but to help others gain their freedom as well.”