On air: World terror: is Britain the real problem ?

 The African Nobel laureate and Nigerian political activist, Wole Soyinka, thinks ‘England is a “cesspit”‘ that harbours and nurtures terrorism.

Soyinka made his claims in an interview less than a month after a young Nigerian man – educated in the UK – attempted to blow up a plane in Detroit last Christmas.

He blames Britian’s colonial past for this and argues that the country takes an overly tolerant stance to religions preaching openly.

His words exactly:

“England is a cesspit. England is the breeding ground of fundamentalist Muslims. Its social logic is to allow all religions to preach openly. But this is illogic, because none of the other religions preach apocalyptic violence.”

There are many in Britain who would agree with those comments while others would see this country’s religous tolerance as one of it’s proudest achievements.

Here’s what one poster wrote on the Daily Beast site :

“how much more clear does someone have to put it? “none of the other religions preach apocalyptic violence.” Therein lies the difference between modern-day Islam and the world’s other faiths. “

Mr Soyinka goes on to say…

“Colonialism bred an innate arrogance, but when you undertake that sort of imperial adventure, that arrogance gives way to a feeling of accommodativeness. You take pride in your openness.”

On WHYS- as on many other programmes , we’ve asked questions you’ve wanted to ask about various countries being a “problem” when it comes to terrorism :  Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and most recently Yemen spring to mind, but should the UK be looking a little closer to home ?

And does Britain’s colonial past play any part in what happened in Detroit last month?

152 Responses to “On air: World terror: is Britain the real problem ?”

  1. 1 alan loughlin
    February 2, 2010 at 10:49

    the fault lies firmly with religion, just accept this, until we change the bigotry in the church we will not remove the cause of terrorism

    • 2 Deborah
      February 2, 2010 at 19:46

      The development of extremism in modern multicultural countries may have more to do with the common social dilemma of identity construction among young people, and particularly among immigrant communities.

      In Canada in 2006, a terror plot was uncovered where a group of radicalized young people planned to launch an attack in Toronto. The country then began to discuss whether or not Canada had become “fertile ground” for extremism. However, a sober second thought led many people to believe that the radicalization of the young people in this group was largely a consequence of the same sort of identity conflicts that most young people go through.

      As a young person develops in a society, they invariably go through a project of identity construction and ask all the fundamental questions of “who am I and who do I want to be?”. All young people are prone to making bad choices during this process. Some may turn to organized crime, street gangs, or other criminal activities. Turning to extremism is just another bad choice, and a choice that is no more or less likely than any other bad choice.

      It may be that members of immigrant communities may be more prone to make bad choices (or extreme choices, may be a better description) because of the disenfranchisement and distance they may feel from both their host society and their heritage. A solution to this may be not to show less tolerance to immigrant cultures and communities, but to empower them to better educate and guide their youth on not only what it means to be (eg) muslim, but what it means to be a muslim in (eg) Canada, the US, the UK, etc.

  2. 3 osuagwu
    February 2, 2010 at 11:07

    I found it so ridiculous and stupid that the west who deranged the Nigerian student studying in the UK instead of bowing their head in utter shame for creating fetile soil for the thriving of terrorism in thier domain went fowards shamlessly to put nigeria in the Terror list. lets face it what had Nigeria to do with converting the Young man to a terrorist ? His father warned the US authorities who negligently failed to heed the fathers observation about his son. Or should I suggest that the Bin Laden had ilfiltrated the US and UK security apparatus hence they are behaving like terror ilfiltrated Pakistan and iraq.
    The international community expected to see some heads roll in the US and UK armed forces and intelligence operatives instead they made a senceless illogical attempt to divert attention elsewhere.

  3. 4 Dun
    February 2, 2010 at 11:29

    That’s autocratic reasoning, Mr. Soyinka.

  4. 5 username
    February 2, 2010 at 12:04

    “Is he right? Does Britain’s past play any part in what happened in Detroit last month?”

    No but Islam does

  5. 6 Ibrahim in UK
    February 2, 2010 at 12:23

    The West’s foreign policy which has resulted in the deaths of millions and displacement of more in Muslim lands plays a part, as does the reaction of Islamic groups to attack Western civilian targets in revenge.
    The freedom I have to say this, does not play a part in terrorism.

    • 7 Ben Ohio
      February 2, 2010 at 17:50

      There is no “the West”. You might get by with “Western”, which as well says very little. Please consider World War One. It began as a horse powered war. It ended as a petroleum powered war. Influential parties, both Western and Middle Eastern, took obvious note of this, and have acted ever since to maximize their interests.
      To one extent or another, international petroleum conglomerates and Middle Eastern autocracies have continually colluded ride the petroleum pony (if you will) as far and fast as it will carry them. This shameless race has, so far, has effected World War Two, and also effected the collapse of the USSR in the 1990’s. It’s now spilling over into Africa. Hopefully, through Chavez and others, South America will be spared. Think so? Brazil just made a very large offshore strike, and vows to become a savvy, influential competitor in the market, by (so they claim) staying out of the world market. Hm.
      Other vast economic forces, such as exploitation of foodstuff, mineral, and labor resources have also played roles, of course. But consider: Saudis hold a controlling interest in Time-Warner, and thus broadcast a lot of the propaganda they themselves declaim. See the collusion?

  6. 8 Cabe Searle
    February 2, 2010 at 12:29

    He’s got to be kidding!
    How can he blame centuaries old ‘Colonialism’ in Africa, on one man getting on a plane to go bomb America? Ha Ha… Surely if that were the case every African would be on their way to the UK to blow us up instead?
    Stange that he aims his darts at us and not at the US or Iran? Britain probably IS a ‘cesspit’ to a lot of foreigners but so are most countries in the world – but just because we have free speech does not mean we are the – ‘breeding ground of fundamentalist muslims’ !!! And I’m sorry to have to burst his bubble, but -the Vast, VAST majority of fundamentalist terrorists are bred in – strange as it seems – muslim countries ! (….Oh and obviously Africa!) and then they come here!
    He also says that we were responsible for Communism !!! (read the interview) because Carl Marx read books in the British Museum – SOrry??? – and this is supposed to be one of Africa’s most famous men?
    Because we are a free society – it is not our problem What outsiders have in their heads. If foreign student’s want to nurture the contents of his brain then they could take their pick from the World’s libraries – but to single out Britain because they either studied here or we have a Library – is just arrogant and ignorant! We are a non-muslim country – thousands of students pass through our colleges every year yet only one bomber has appeared! I think Africa should stop finding someone to shift the blame on to – or go speak to their closer neighbour – Yemen!

  7. February 2, 2010 at 12:32

    I think that the UK has failed to protect and enforce its own standards of behaviour through political correctness and fear of being seen as didactic. This may well be a guilty reaction to colonialism. Government ministers would rather be popular than respected. There is an innate refusal to condemn or to encourage the ‘right’ behaviour. The laissez-faire approach has only led to chaos, with society floundering about in dire need of some control. We don’t need the aggression of colonialism, but we do need assertiveness. Our own Christian religion has been usurped and marginalised by a secular approach that seems to worship only money and individual rights. Society over here is under attack by these Trojan horses. Who can blame the fundamentalists? When there is no clear guidance, people develop their own interpretations of what is ‘right’, and that’s exactly why terrorist groups can preach and flourish here. Nobody ever has the guts to tell them NO! 7/7 was an example of what can happen, but even that hasn’t made anyone listen.

  8. 10 T
    February 2, 2010 at 13:18

    What’s the alternative then? Do you ban Islam in the U.K? What good would that accomplish?

  9. 11 patti in cape coral
    February 2, 2010 at 14:02

    I don’t think England is a cesspit. I’ve never been there myself, but I hear it’s very nice. So, religious freedom causes terrorism. I completely and wholeheartedly disagree. I heard Mr. Soyinka speak on the BBC a while ago, and he has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. Too bad he speaks a lot of nonsense (at least on this occasion).

  10. 12 Guido, Vienna
    February 2, 2010 at 14:24

    Religions should not get any spacial treatment in the western world. Religious leaders, like everybody else, have the right of free speech.

    But if the call for violence, the break the law and should be prosecuted like everybody else.

  11. 13 Ronald Almeida
    February 2, 2010 at 14:26

    Britain should take pride in openess and accomodativeness unlike most other countries. After all the attack was not against Britain. Could it not be the problem of the country against whom it was? And the country the terrorist is from?

  12. 14 Idris Dangalan
    February 2, 2010 at 14:28

    Mr. Soyinka, London rebranded so many past Nigerian famous leaders, like Awolowo,Sardauna and Zik but why? Mutallab not copy from them. What happened with Nigerian studied in London is not enough to judged Nigeria or UK, what I believe US and UK should check the corruption status on their security personnel.

  13. 15 Adam J Carroll - Cleveland
    February 2, 2010 at 14:31

    I must agree with Cabe, allowing freedom of religion and speech is hardly a viable reason to call them (UK) a cesspit. Religion is always the tool for the smart to control the dumb, it has always been and will always be (so long as we allow it) the first choice for the radical. remove religion and you just have a nut who wants to blow stuff up because he cant get what he wants. trying to say that he becomes that way because he is allowed to live in a free country is not logical at all. obviously he didnt win a nobel prize for how to structure an argument.

  14. 17 Gary
    February 2, 2010 at 14:33

    Any organization, whether it be based around religion or anything else should not be allowed to advocate violence. Having the right to freedom of speech also has with it a responsibility and accountability for what happens. The safety and well-being of the many must prevail. If not then we as a society will go the way of the USA where the rights of the individual has corrupted the soul of a nation.

    • 18 Ronald Almeida
      February 3, 2010 at 10:54

      The rights of an individual can not corrupt any society. A society is made of individuals, who are usually manipulated by society.

  15. February 2, 2010 at 14:40

    Wole Soyinka thinks “Its social logic is to allow all religions to preach openly. But this is illogic, because none of the other religions preach apocalyptic violence.” His thoughts are illogical themselves. He seems to be calling for a ban on religious tolerance as multi-faith societies can be a breeding ground for terrorism. The reality shows that frequent terrorism happens in predominantly Muslim countries, especially Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    In France, Islam is the second religion after Christianity and yet no dangerous terrorist group has ever operated from it at least since 9/11 attacks. Concerning UK, it can be a starting point to launch terrorist attacks as terrorists take advantage of religious openness in the country, but this is not a justification to put heavy restrictions on religious groups or to ban them because of few individuals set on carrying deadly attacks.

    What is needed to stem terrorism is to attack the ideology that spreads it within Muslim and non- Muslim communities and countries.

  16. 20 Robert
    February 2, 2010 at 14:42

    Of course Britain breeds terrorists. Killing, maiming and displacing innocent people by sophisticated weapons as Bush and Blair have done in Iraq and supporting Israel to do so in Palestine and Lebanon is also a form of terrorism.

    • 21 John LaGrua/New York
      February 2, 2010 at 19:53

      You are on the money .”The fault dear Brutus lies not in our stars but in ourselves”?Blaming colonialism for current ills is nonsence as is blaming slavery two hundred years ago for the problems of Bliacks in the US today.The US/UK have however adopted poilcy which shows a disregard for the traditons ,customs and dignity of the Arab world.Did Balfour consider the Arabs when he made his impulsive dangerous declaration.?Funding and supporting the Isreali conquest of Palestine Yielded bitter fruit for US on 9/11 which in the hands of fools and knaves has produced disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan.Britain did not sensably evaluate a policy of large scale immigration of Asians which has changed the demographics of a previously homogeneous country.and created pockets of resentment .In a fluid world this condtion exists in virtually all the EU and the US..Politicalization of the disaspora is a fact for Jews and now Arabs.and is a natural consequence of globalization..Politics no longer is confined by borders.

      • 22 Tim
        February 2, 2010 at 21:23

        Balfour was responding to an intervention of Lord Rothschild. He was thinking of a small influx of Jewish settlers and Jewish capital. He did not see the ambition of the Zionist plan. Obviously the prospect of a Rothschild contribution to party funds would not encourage much investigation. He certainly never envisaged a Jewish state in Palestine. Anyway, once it was done events overtook, the British Government and it got itself into mess that carries on today. It would have taken a more perceptive man than Balfour to see the rise in persecution of Jews in Europe and subsequent increase in migration into Palestine. Being such a fanatical colonialist himself it is surprising that Balfour did not imagine that the Jews might want to colonize the place themselves, they were mostly Europeans after all.

  17. 23 bevx
    February 2, 2010 at 14:57

    UK is one of the best in the world for openness, well it used to be but now aliens who settle in UK get far better treatment than the real and true BRITS and that everyone is factual truth. Bigotry in religion is simple and plain truth. Not all muslims are seeking the end of western religions, but their radicals are! these are the ones who MUST be rooted out and removed to more Guantamano type ‘sanctuaries’
    Already it is said that most western cultures are under Muslim threat. That fact tells its own story.
    America is finally waking up to this and UK had better too before it is too late.

  18. 24 @guykaks
    February 2, 2010 at 14:58

    cesspit,Yes i heard the same story from my grandpa acouple of years ago.so afterall he was right.To much freedom and pomping gives way to evil behaviours.

  19. February 2, 2010 at 14:58

    Salaam gang,
    We as practicing Muslims (whether Sunnis or Shias) should stand up to Wahabism and Wahabis… It is the twisted, literal, and deviant interpretation of Islam employed by Wahabis that we all as practicing Muslims must focus on tackling with a relentless will, that way we can save the Mohammedan Islam from its Wahabi hijackers… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  20. February 2, 2010 at 14:58

    Wole Soyinka gave the Reith lecture in 2004 entitled “Climate of fear 2004”.

    My understanding of these lectures was that Mr. Soyinka was not prepared to swallow the victim mentality that pervaded the excuses made by Islamists, in particular those born and bred in a country that gave them a democratic freedom that most Muslims in Muslim countries crave for.

    It is, I believe, important to note that no other group, ethic or otherwise, however badly treated, has sort to demand recognition of real or perceived injustices against themselves by indiscriminately blowing people up. I believe Mr. Soylinka made this point, perhaps not so bluntly in his Reith lectures.

    Britain has in its cowardly way been appeasing the Muslim extremists here in the UK to an extent that will bring about the destruction of the UK into tribalism in a very short time. It is already happening. Too scared to throw off the hair shirt worn by the bleeding heart liberals over our colonial past we will not face the facts that this upsurge of extremely undemocratic political Islam will, if it is allowed to go any further without being confronted for what it is, i.e. far right fascism, no different from others who practice far right fascism, will destroy this country.

    I recommended Kenan Malik’s book “From Fatwah to Jihad”. This also points out the dark side (his words) that multiculturalism has taken in the UK. Britain’s anti racist agenda has in IMO been hijacked by the Islamists for their own specious ends. It’s not a religious war they are waging, it’s political and we are too scared to confront them on this playing field.

    • 30 Colleen
      February 2, 2010 at 15:36

      Very well said and you have explained it accurately. Excellent!
      Being an American who has visited the UK for at least 30 years, I have watched the change.
      I would also recommend to read’ America Alone’…Mark Steyn. He gives a good read on exactly what is happening. I am watching his words come true.

      I also must point out that I have a great love for the UK, .
      However, the falling and breaking of their backbone is frightening.
      Being British is great, but they are losing who they are/were.

  21. 31 pendkar
    February 2, 2010 at 15:00

    thanks for drawing attention to the interview. I might have missed it otherwise!

  22. 32 Colleen
    February 2, 2010 at 15:01

    Now for some truth…from an American who visits the UK often.

    Almost all media in the UK…is NOT tolerant of religions….only those they fear.
    Christians they absolutely slaughter, take for instance, the ridicule of Tony Blairs being a Catholic. That is only the beginning. He could not come forth with his beliefs, because it is known, that the UK does not do “God”,

    They like to appear Islam friendly ONLY because they do not dare NOT to be.
    This is cowardness.
    They know there will not be a backlash from ridiculing Christians.

    It is similar to the continual degrading comments about the United states by most British. They know, there is No backlash and the truth is..we ignore them and they do not have our respect.

    So…they are not ‘tolerant’ although that is their claim…they are merely cowards. It is the former empire syndrome.

    They also, especially the UK media blame everyone but themselves for everything. They could NOT be more judgemental.

    This once again, a sign of cowardice.

    So do not be fooled by their words of being multicultural…NOT HARDLY!

    • February 3, 2010 at 15:22

      Colleen, You have got it all wrong. It was Tony Blair who did not do God, until he suddenly showed his colours, of course. UK does do God! In UK a Catholic cannot be a Prime Minister as he is also responsible for appointing bishops in the Anglican Church. So, Blair refused to declare his true faith when he was the PM.

      As to Wole Yowinka’s comments. He seems very ill-informed about the history of Britain and besides he does not have any hindsight. There was no Islamic terrorism until Britain foolishly joined the US in the immoral and illegal invasion of Iraq. So, Iraq imported Islamic terrorism into Britain.

  23. 35 Emese Mate
    February 2, 2010 at 15:05

    Me personally, I donot think that collective judgement is the best solution at all, one can make estimations on individual and at the different communal levels of a certain issiue, person, happening, but one has to see all the factors as one, with its roots, process and consequences.

    I think that fundemantalism relates more to human nature, people just use religion as a lame or a more appropriate term, immature cover to justify their fundamentalism. Not only the muslims or some of them were or are fundamentalists if we better revise human history.

    I think that basically one can add to this issue such factors as human nature, religion, good or bad will and -acts, value system, education, social (in)equality, the “passion of welfare” (term by Peter Muller), last but not least to survival issues.

  24. 37 Idris Dangalan
    February 2, 2010 at 15:08

    Disagreed with you that UK never supporting terror or terrorist because amon the common-wealth nations how? many you know are among the terrorist. London led by example even though there were some mistakes.

  25. 38 dan
    February 2, 2010 at 15:16

    Britain is NOT a cesspit but has allowed itself to be too liberal and overly tolerant of Muslim émigrés and what is being taught in Mosques.
    These British Muslim terrorists have no intention assimilating into British society or culture and contributing to the greatness of England. They only seek to destroy.

    @Ibrahim in UK
    Just because there is a Muslim “in the house” does NOT make it a Muslim land. Western policies toward Islamic countries is such to try to bring those people out from the oppression of Islam and a 7th century fuedal lifestyle and into the 21st century and the community of nations.

    • 39 Ibrahim in UK
      February 2, 2010 at 16:35


      Muslim majority countries (like Egypt, Jordan, Iraq etc) are generally called Muslim lands. If you prefer, I’ll call them lands where the large majority of inhabitants are Muslims.
      In any case, How does starving half a million Iraqi children to death bring them into the 21st century?
      How does toppling democracies and supporting,arming and financing brutal dictatorships bring people out of oppression?
      How does ethnically cleansing a people, taking their land and forcing them to live in exile bring them into the community of nations?

  26. 40 gary indiana
    February 2, 2010 at 15:29

    Abusus non tollit usum! Freedom of speech isn’t responsible for the terrorism; ignorance is. Mr. Wole Soyinka’s comments suggest he is does not understand that ignorance, like mold, survives best in dark silent places.

  27. 41 Roy, Washington DC
    February 2, 2010 at 15:29

    Fingerpointing like this seems to be typical. Neither side likes the other side, so naturally they are going to blame each other for everything. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

  28. 42 steve
    February 2, 2010 at 15:32

    The diversity vs melting pot approach is a failure. I challenge you to point out one single country that was “diverse” that didn’t fall apart. If you have people assimilate, you stand a better chance of surviving. What happened to diverse countries like Yugoslavia?

  29. 44 Nigel
    February 2, 2010 at 15:34

    Absolute rubbish to single out Britain unless Woyinka has something stuck in his craw over England. More likely he is trying to raise his profile and seems to be talking to the Disapora for applause.

  30. 45 patti in cape coral
    February 2, 2010 at 15:39

    After following the link above, I still think the best thing is religious freedom, with all religions being required to follow the laws of the land.

  31. 46 Gary Paudler
    February 2, 2010 at 15:39

    The food sucks but cesspit? No. It is not Islam, the religion, that advocates apocalyptic violence, it is a very few Muslims – also Jews and Christians – who embrace an interpretation of their respective religions that they feel justifies their violent impulses. If God gives your plans an OK, then why pay any attention to the law or social responsibility? In other news, the Pope agrees.
    It is the unavoidable outcome of colonialism; having sampled the best of fantastic, exotic foods on every continent the former colonial power returns and is unconsciously compelled by psychological forces beyond its control or understanding to elaborately concoct the blandest of cuisines. Where is my Nobel?

  32. 47 eSCe
    February 2, 2010 at 15:47

    I think more lives are lost in the name of imperialism masking as democrasy and colonialism. Imperial Britain killed tens of thousands while expanding their empire. Americanrs bombed Hanoi killing millions when Ho Chi Min fought for independence and liberating the South from colonial domination. Religion is not responsible for the world wars . Imperialism was responsible.

  33. 48 Cabe Searle UK
    February 2, 2010 at 16:03

    Wow! According to Colleen’s Truth – we are all ‘Cowards’!
    Not sure which Britain you visit but the British and Americans ‘degrade’ each other about the same! The majority of British people actually Like Americans- but if that’s your take on us then why do You visit so often – and why do You think you needed us to go do war? Considering that the majority of your early settlers were from Britain, France and Europe, then its fair to say we all grew up in the same backyard and must be all related, eh?
    -And according to Milly – (which I’m not sure what your saying Milly as one moment you’re saying Soyinka is talking rubbish and the next you are agreeing with him) But it sounds like Colonialism is stuck firmly in your’s everyone’s minds – except Ours! How come you don’t constantly think of WW2 gas chambers, or China invading and killing off Tibet or Communism or all the tribal wars going on in Africa? How come non-muslim countries have to account for themselves yet no one says anything to Iran, Parkistan, etc etc … Colonialism – get over it! I don’t see the Japs going on about Hiroshima to the Americans all the time… = But yeah, sorry! – these are all World things that happened … Recently! and nothing to do with ‘Colonialism’ which happened …. when?
    And cowardice ? I think you are confusing cowardice with freedom – you can’t live and let live in a free country and then tell everyone else they can’t. Our Governments may be weak but the British are not. I don’t see any muslim Terrorists helping out in any world wars except their own. I don’t see them sacrificing themselves for anyone or anything but themselves – there are you real cowards.

    • 49 Colleen
      February 2, 2010 at 17:56

      Hold on to your knickers Cabe.

      Please read again, I was writing of the media and stated so.

      Have a great day and an even better tomorrow!

  34. 50 Phyllis, WGCU and Tobago
    February 2, 2010 at 16:05

    100% CORRECT, Wole Soyinka.
    Is Britain proud of its openess and tolerance or is Britain overwhelmed and “yellow bellied”?
    You seem to not realize that the whole world is affected by your inability to be tough.
    A lot of developing countries try to emulate what Britain does.
    Where are Churchill and Thacher when you need them ????????

  35. 51 Peter
    February 2, 2010 at 16:17

    Mr. Soyinka rant is just a lame attempt to exploit the self-flagellation reflex over colonialism of the British and is completely irrelevant to the underwear-bomber case. The UK certainly has a problem with bending backwards to accomodate whatever ridiculous demand the immigrants and militant multikulti zealots come up with out of panic fear of not being accused of “xenophobia” or “racism”.
    However the common denominator between the UK and Nigeria is not the colonial past but the ideology of islam having difficulty coexisting with other religions and non-religious people. How come buddhists, jews or taoists are not associated with terrorism the way muslims are???

  36. 52 Ibrahim in UK
    February 2, 2010 at 16:23

    The UK media is Islam-friendly? Not at all!

    If someone from the US calls this Islam-friendly, I’d hate to see how muslims are portrayed in the US media

  37. 53 jens
    February 2, 2010 at 16:31

    the sad reality is that fundamentalist islam has been preached in england for decades. one only needs to walk along Edgware Road in london and look at the books being offered for sale in muslim bookstores. it is rather frightening how the receipt of dismise of western society is sold in open daylight and nobody seems to either take offense or care about it. i almost certain no westerner would be allowed to sell books of hatred and distrcution of islam in an islamic country.

    there is the root of the problem, we have started to tolerate the intolerable.

    The problem is not the religion but the whabi interpretation as Lubna has so eloquently pointed out.

    the average muslim going to pray and uses his faith as a social gathering point and guidence is not the problem. the problem are fanatics who quote selectivly and preach hate.

  38. 54 John in Salem
    February 2, 2010 at 16:51

    Mr. Soyinka’s comments only demonstrate a total lack of understanding of how anti-terrorism and security systems work.
    Religious tolerance is one of the most important assets the UK has in fighting terrorism because it encourages the openness which gives these groups a false sense of security and makes them easier to identify and infiltrate.
    Between September 2001 and April 2008 there were 1,471 people detained in the UK for suspicion of promoting violence. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8047477.stm
    They weren’t picked up while planting roadside bombs – they were caught because agents or informants were able to penetrate their groups. Promoting a ban would only drive them underground, making them much harder to find and far more dangerous.
    Mr. Soyinka needs to shut up, stop meddling in things he doesn’t understand and let the UK security folks do their job.

  39. 55 Elias
    February 2, 2010 at 17:02

    Nonsense!, Britain is not the problem, the real problem is people moving to Britain and living in a way that is not condusive to the British people, so that they wonder why their behavior religious and otherwise is not acceptable by the British. If a British person goes to live in a muslim country like Saudi Arabia he would be severely punished if he drank alcohol, so that one has to respect the custom of the country he moves to and not contravene the laws of that country.
    The Nigerian activist Wole Soyinka can think England is a “cesspit”, when in fact England is more tolerant than most countries certainly more than Nigeria where women are often abused and there is unlimited corruption. People who move to England should respect the way British people live and not find stupid excuses to commit terrorist acts. It is a fact certain Muslim Clerics who live under the protection of England preached and encouraged terrorist acts, perhaps they should move to Nigeria and do the same, they would be severely punished for sure and most probably taken out and shot.

  40. 56 dan
    February 2, 2010 at 17:03

    @Ibrahim in UK

    The countries of the Middle East have been sold a “bill of goods” by their religious leaders.
    I am amused at the partial truths and belief that any country must always be perfect in their international dealings.
    We need not beat this to death but the Iraqis wanted to be released from Saddam Hussein and this psychopathic sons but did not want to sacrifice anything for it and are horrified that people died because of it while ignoring that Muslims are slaughtering each other “en masse” each day.
    That Muslim on Muslim slaughter goes on in each of the countries you listed.

    Lastly can we stop with the FANTASY of 500,000 starving Iraqi children and millions of Iraqis killed by the US Military or Blackwater? It is difficult to have a decent debate with such nonsense proffered.
    Also, I believe it was the Bosnians that practiced Ethnic Cleansing against Muslims and it was the United States that put an end to it.

    As a Muslim I understand that you look upon yourself as a victim but that discussion is better held on Oprah. Real people want to move forward.

    • 57 Colleen
      February 2, 2010 at 17:53

      What you have written Dan is truth.
      Thank you

      I hope others read and understand your words.

    • 58 Ibrahim in UK
      February 2, 2010 at 17:56

      Re: the half a million children killed – Not only does the US agree it was not “fantasy”, it calls it a “price worth paying”:


      These crimes, along with the crimes of occupation and support for dictatorships continue to this day and when you “move forward” tomorrow, they will still be there.

      It is surprising that there are people still in denial about the crimes of their governments and in denial about the impact these crimes have on turning people to terrorism.

      It is unfair to claim that Iraqis didn’t sacrifice anything for trying to get rid of Saddam. The Kurds in particular suffered (the US was supporting Saddam as he was gassing the Kurds) as did the Shiites suffer when their revolt after the first Gulf War was crushed.

      • 59 Colleen
        February 2, 2010 at 18:40


        The British forces and the American forces did NOT kill Iraqi children.
        The service men loved these children..on your side and ours.
        The children felt the same way about the soldiers.

        Sadly..yes, children did die, as in all wars, it is a nightmare.
        But please state things factually.
        My bother is a Doctor who volunteered to go there on 3 month intervals. So many male children in camps, underfed, to turn them into warriors for Suddam.
        Torture (REAL torture) was often and every where.

  41. 60 eSCe
    February 2, 2010 at 17:04

    Britain killed more tibetans than the Chinese. In total american and other colonisers killed more than saddam hussein or al Qaeda. Mao did not killed the millions of Chinese that the imperialist media report nor the thousands in Tiananmen. In mao’s case , his failed policies coupled with a famine caused millions to starved. Yet the west spun it as he took a gun to killed them.
    Britain is a cesspit since they enslaved half the world and lost the empire when the colonies rebelled . They did not hand it back .

  42. 61 Bert
    February 2, 2010 at 17:07

    Interesting comments. I’m quite sure that there is an element of truth in the idea that overly politically correct positions by western governments, and that’s hardly just the UK, help foment terrorism. Of course they do. Because as Adam Carroll very aptly said, religion is used by clever people to herd the dumb. So clever people know how to exploit overly permissive societies. It may take many generations to get the new immigrants to use this freedom wisely, and not let the abusers of it control them like sheep. As they are doing now.

    It seems patently obvious to me that one religion, Islam, is given an incredible amount of press coverage in the UK especially, and way more latitude and feigned “respect” for their teachings than any other religion gets. Is it appeasement? Probably. Just look at how many times this religiojn pops up in WHYS topics. Name another religion that gets 1/100th as much mention.

  43. 62 Ben Ohio
    February 2, 2010 at 17:12

    British history, whether good, bad or ugly, cannot be called slight or shallow. If Soyinka wants to venture epic encapsulations in a few sweeping sentences…. well, consider the source. Maybe he can now tell us all the deeper meanings of Purcell’s “King Arthur”.

    Speaking simply, throw the term ‘Radical’ in front of the name of any religion, and it ceases to be a religion.

  44. 63 Andrew in Australia
    February 2, 2010 at 17:25

    Maybe it come down to native British folk being unable to express these concerns themselves for fear of being branded racist or some such label. As if the entire nation must be apologetic for its past actions in foreign lands and against native peoples therein. That they must apologise for having their own belief and value systems to the point where they cannot express reasonable comments.

    It is one thing to be open and tolerant, but when there are other groups who take up residence in your home that do not share this value operate on a different level to yours it seems you have no voice to oppose such groups as you will be viewed in a negative light and oppressing them again. A good example is how Germany cannot criticise Israel on any level lest they be reminded of their recent past. This is a growing problem in many modern nations with large migrant/ethnic groups taking up residence within their borders.

  45. 64 ESCe
    February 2, 2010 at 17:29

    As Britain lost most of its empire , it harbours ambition in imposing its authority by subjecting the minds of the people of their superiority by letting in their former subjects to Britain to show them their superior standard of their country, so that these people would regret for rebelling. Instead of regrets these people became resentful and hatred spread instead. Remind me of what China is doing with their minorities and the subsequent rejection. Nobody likes to be made to feel inferior.

  46. February 2, 2010 at 17:33

    In my sincere opinion, i think it would be difficult for UK to exonerate itself from terrorism, in view of the events of the Christmas day attempted bombing. It has over the years supported terrorist groups in different countries of the world and it is only begining to reap the fruits of its labour.

  47. 66 Mountain Adam, Portland, Oregon USA
    February 2, 2010 at 17:33

    How unfortunate that a respected man of Africa presents such a skewed perspective on the freedoms and liberties British citizens enjoy. He does raise a good point even though it may not be what he was driving at initially. The pendulum of reconciliation behavior caused by guilt over former colonialism swang too far in many European countries. The collective guilt has allowed laws to be created that have given immigration rights to many non Europeans. The immigration laws fail to address the social isolation created by strangers living in a strange land and that is the seed that grows into extremism, not the UK religious tolerance.

  48. 67 piscator
    February 2, 2010 at 17:57

    Isn’t it Nigeria where Mosques and Churches are being being burnt down, and people killed by rival groups of fanatics who have never been to the UK? So the UK can hardly be the biggest problem, can it?

    Physician heal thyself. Maybe you just don’t get as many free lunches in Nigeria for expressing controversial views.

  49. 68 nora
    February 2, 2010 at 18:09

    1. “Cesspit” got Soyinka a spot on WHYS and we’re here talking about it. Nobel Laureates are often good at commanding some attention. Cheers to commanding the stage in a tabloid era. Great hair, the guy has, too.

    2. He is totally right about the shift with the fatwa against Rushdie in 1989 and the power of Ayatollahs to target cultural figures. At the time, Thatcher and Reagan had just spent the 80’s pitting the Iraqis against the Iranians and a planeload of people going to make Hajj were ‘accidentally’ shot down, mistaken for a military target.

    3.His idea that the Nation of Islam provides a balance against wahabi thinking in the states is not something that would have ever occurred to me. But bean pie bakeries smell good and make you want to stay in the neighborhood and live rather than blow up for the cause. Many a morning, bean and sweet potato tarts made a cold Oakland morning delicious…

    4. Empire and attitude are worth thinking about, but the leap to free religious speech as overcompensation takes long legs.

    I love quirky elders who make me think. I don’t feel the need to agree to enjoy. Dude is a hoot, and he speaks his own mind.

  50. 69 clamdip
    February 2, 2010 at 18:11

    Though its true that former colonies all seem to have many difficulties, I think the issue is bullies with big sticks. The world is suffering. Everyone needs to lose the bully mentality.

  51. 70 Tom D Ford
    February 2, 2010 at 18:18

    ‘England is a cesspit and a breeding ground for fundamentalist Muslims. Its social logic is to allow all religions to preach openly. But this is illogic, because none of the other religions preach apocalyptic violence.”

    “Colonialism bred an innate arrogance, but when you undertake that sort of imperial adventure, that arrogance gives way to a feeling of accommodativeness. You take pride in your openness.”

    I hate to say it but he could say the same about the United States and our Fundamentalist Conservative Christian Republicans.

    Let’s remind ourselves that early in his first term, President Bush declared a “New Crusades” in a speech before a Conservative Christian Republican group, and then started up the War Against the People of Iraq with the “apocalyptic violence” of the “Shock and Awe” bombing campaign on The People of Baghdad.

    And as to “none of the other religions preach apocalyptic violence”, I’ve had many fundamentalist Christian pamphlets dropped on my doorstep preaching exactly that and most Fundamentalists pray for something that they call “The Rapture”, in which their “God” raises them up to “Heaven” and kills all other life on our planet in “apocalyptic violence”.

    But if “The African Nobel laureate and Nigerian political activist, Wole Soyinka”, has a solution to that, I would like to hear it, because we need to do something different in the US too. We need to teach people that under our Constitutional Freedom of Religion they get to believe whatever they want but that they don’t get to act on those beliefs, in ways that are against the Law and/or hurt other people.

  52. 71 Jack
    February 2, 2010 at 18:18

    Should the UK look closer to home? That would depend on how broadly you want to define “terrorism.” If action taken against innocent people is considered terrorism, then the UK–along with the US, Russia, China and Israel (to name only a few) should concern themselves with the beam in their own eyes. If not having a seat at the U.N. keeps you from being a terrorist, then, I suppose we can all busy ourselves with the mote in someone else’s eye.

  53. 72 Alan in Arizona
    February 2, 2010 at 18:40

    Freedom of religion, should be free to all. Freedom to preach about a jihad or other type of physical aggression is not religion and should be classified as suck. If war is discussed in a way to increase extremist, then close down the church immediately and label it something else. If a specific Church, Mosque, religious congregation or group ( like the KKK ) preaches hate, violence or extremism, then arrest them all.


  54. 73 Linda from Italy
    February 2, 2010 at 18:42

    Poor old Brits, aren’t we.
    UK PLC may be a bit tatty and frayed at the edges, but cesspit ….?
    On the one hand we were responsible for no end of imperial atrocities, and are apparently still at it (by proxy), although I hold no brief for much of Blair’s foreign policy, over Iraq in particular. On the other hand we are oppressed by this load of guilt that makes us so cowed that we tend to get a miffed over social oppression and discrimination and we won’t let the general public play with guns. On the one hand brutal despots, on the other cringing lily-livered failures about to hand the Houses of Parliament over to Sharia Law and stuff the Queen into a burkha.
    Admittedly, I’ve been living in Italy since ’98, but I do pop back every now and then and keep in close touch with my Brit friends, so I think I’m still qualified to comment, plus may be planning a return in 2012, something I’m not the least worried about.

  55. February 2, 2010 at 18:47

    It has to be said that the Muslim’s religeon and ambitions of takeover has caused trouble in every country in the world to which they have emigrated.
    In every mosque in England they have a sign that reads ‘No Unclean past this point’ Now I consider this racial intolerance of the highest degree.
    If Islam is such a wonderful religeon how come so many flee it to live in none Islamic countries. I feel that we would all be happier if they stayed in their own Islamic countries.
    Many people are made welcome to come here but that is to make a new home and integrate with the rest of the population including other immigrants. If they continue to refuse to do this they should be sent back to their own Islamic countries where they can terrorise each other.

  56. February 2, 2010 at 18:49

    He is right. Englnd is sleepwalking into slavery. Islam is a defiant, resurgent, separatist, aggressive, intolerant POLITICAL religion.
    It DIVIDES mankind into Believers and Infidels and has a good idea about what they will do to the latter.

    How can the British KNOW if they have never seen foreign BOOTS on their soil since 1066? Their PAST strength and world empire make them SMUG.

  57. 76 Jack
    February 2, 2010 at 18:49

    It’s not the first time someone has used their freedom of speech in an attempt at depriving others of that same right. Soyinka preaches censorship in response to violent speech–using freedom of speech.

    Kinda makes me dizzy.

  58. 77 Joseph A. Migliore
    February 2, 2010 at 18:52

    The Nigerian Nobel Laurette Sayinka is correct in blaming the United Kingdom’s colonial past in contributing to Islamic fundamentalism.

    The U.K., unlike other countries in Europe has had a familiarity with Islam for centuries, the Muslim presence in the U.K. is linked to; the British expansion, political and economic ties with India and colonization.

    Modern radical Islamic extremist views, derived from the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, Egypt, where the Egyptians sought in forming a movement to confront the British colonial ruling and to protest there treatment as sub-standard citizens. The extremist views were adapted decades later by modern day Al Qaeda, originally intended for ousting the British rule. The British should be looking closer at home, in developing programs that would bridge cultural awareness and improve perceptions of both cultures.

    I think that Nigeria has been unfairly black-listed by the U.S. government, if the DHS should apply this logic for one Nigerian attempting to do harm on a commercial flight, then they should “blacklist the U.K. as well” for the Richard Reed shoe-bomber incident occurring back in 2002, are they basing this on citizenship?

  59. 78 Linda from Italy
    February 2, 2010 at 18:52

    By the way, I do wish people would stop calling every UK citizen who is not a white Anglo-Saxon with a vaguely Christian back ground an “immigrant”. Brits come in all sizes, shapes, colours and creeds and have done for at least 100 years. Sadly many of those who have turned to extremism are British born and bred, for at least one generation, and this does indeed point to a failure in a society that ever since the 80s has been and is still becoming more unequal. Ploughing the monetarist furrow courtesy of a certain Mrs T.
    We have indeed departed from some of our ideals, those of social equality and equal opportunity, and it is this, not our famous live and let live ethos that has caused such problems. This is also largely responsible for the rise of the far right as poor, uneducated white A-S Brits, have been manipulated to blame everything on “immigration” and fall into the trap referred to above.

    • 79 Bert
      February 2, 2010 at 19:26

      I’d say, on the contrary, that the diversity and immigration in the UK started mostly as the empire dissolved. And I’d also add that extremism in subcultures results from a balkanization of the society, rather than the assimilation that would make immigration more beneficial.

      Why immigrant cultures don’t often assimilate, but rather prefer to bring their previous culture into the new home unchanged, is probably a great topic for discussion. There aren’t many countries with “diverse” populations that have a lot to brag about, as far as I can tell, when that “diversity” is retained long term.

      I rather prefer the model of the Etruscans and the Romans. It did not seem to take forever for those cultures to merge. As gorgeous as Tuscany and i toscani still are today, no one thinks of “i toscani” as anything but Italian, including themselves.

      Perhaps strong religious beliefs that are antithetical with the new host culture take a lot of the blame here. The best hope is that religious fervor abate in time.

  60. 80 nora
    February 2, 2010 at 18:57

    RE: Dan, Ibrahim, 500,000 dead

    Dan, holocaust denial is a symptom of deeper problems. Ibrahim, thank you for addressing the issue with a good link.

  61. 81 Tom in the U.S.A.
    February 2, 2010 at 19:02

    I disagree with Wole Soyinka’s assertions. Openness does not lead to terrorism. Oppression does. The free flow of ideas is essential in combating terrorism and other acts of violence.

  62. February 2, 2010 at 19:06

    Britain is certainly not a “cesspit”. Neither does it harbour nor nurture terrorism. Rather Britain has been a bastion for democracy and free-speech. Going back into history, democratic ideals have always taken pride of place in Great Britain where terrorism has always been shunned. The long fight against the Irish Republican Army was clear proof how the British wanted terrorism to be nipped in the bud. The freedoms that British citizens have are a clear indicator that the British abhor terrorism. Terrorism is a cancer that the British certainly want to eradicate. Islamic terrorism has taken root in the UK as a result of the radicalisation of some die-hard extrememists who use religion as a garb for their nefarious activities!

  63. 83 Jack
    February 2, 2010 at 19:07

    Is it lost on anyone that the question of whether or not the UK is a ” ‘cesspit’ harboring and nurturing terrorism” is linked to freedom of speech? If so, this would appear–at least on the surface–to be a rhetorical question, since freedom of speech is considered by most to be a fundamental right. WHYS, are you suggesting that because Soyinka’s logic is clearly flawed that the UK’s colonial history is NOT linked to terrorism?

    I’d like for someone to spell out for me just when it is that a freedom fighter becomes a terrorist and vise-versa–or better yet, how nations (like the US and the UK) who occupy sovereign nations are NOT terrorists.

  64. 84 Mike in Seattle
    February 2, 2010 at 19:09

    I’d like to point out that we have several high profile figures here in the United States that constantly preach apocalyptic violence – the kind of folks who blame large earthquakes on demonic rituals and hurricanes on gays and Mardi Gras excesses. We constantly hear about how permissiveness and indulgence in sin will bring about the wraith and punishment of higher powers.

    While these speeches and sermons are unpleasant at best, they illustrate two things. The first is that any religion can be twisted to become selfish and hateful. The second is that Mr. Soyinka needs to explain how it is that the US is so permissive with our speech laws and yet we have little to no radicalism over the past two hundred years.

  65. 85 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    February 2, 2010 at 19:10

    It’s insane to blame Britain or any other country for terrorist ideology.

    It is the ideology itself that is to blame, where ever it might manifest itselt.

  66. 86 jens
    February 2, 2010 at 19:13


    where is the evidence of the USA having killed millions of Iraqis? This number is being quoted over and over again in the believe that if you do it often enough it will become true. There are several studies that claim any number between 100,000 and one million, with the majority in the low 100,000 range. Plus the estimate is that 30% of these are due to military action and the rest internal violence by muslims killing musilms.

  67. 87 steve
    February 2, 2010 at 19:15

    To the people p ointing out that the US hasn’t always been a wonderful nation, recall that Muslim forces invaded Spain, over 1000 years before the USA ever existed, before the crusades, etc…

  68. 88 Derrick - Oregon
    February 2, 2010 at 19:17

    Freedom of worship and religion is part of our lifestyle.

    Limiting someone’s right to worship due to the extremism of others is a blanket solution to a focused problem.

    The American uproar after the passing of the patriot act was the public voicing protest at having their privacy compromised due to a small focused issue.

    What’s going to happen when you limit citizen’s RIGHT to fully worship their own religion, a belief system that is far more personal?

  69. February 2, 2010 at 19:18

    On air: World terror: is Britain the real problem
    Wole Soyinka is serving his american(unlv) and catholic (Loyola Marymount University) masters by attacking the UK just to move the attention away from their own guilt in inciting minority communities .
    When does Mr.Soyinkas US visa expire?
    Just like a lot of people of his generation he is fixated on colonialism,he probably blames Africas current problems on the British Empire.
    In South Asia governments still abdicate responsibilty and preach against the uk in govt text books
    In the UK prior to 9/11 community and race relations were good ,but due to the USAs immediate response and consquent never ending war on terror the cohesion of British society has been damaged.

  70. 90 nora
    February 2, 2010 at 19:18

    Your guest denied that the US problem with violent religion is in the past. Ros gets it wrong about race hate in the US if he plays down Pat Robertson equating the only slave revolt that toppled a government with the devil.The radical right ‘christians’ have killed gynecologists recently and their death threats are serious and ongoing.

  71. 91 Joseph A. Migliore
    February 2, 2010 at 19:19


    I wholeheartedly disagree with your comment and analysis. You have to look at the historical context of Islamic fundamentalism and the dynamics of how it has derived into modern day ideologies.

    No one is blaming England, but due to colonization in the Muslim world, ideologies contrary to British dominance have developed.

  72. February 2, 2010 at 19:20

    Soyinka is correct. The UK is too tolerant towards Islamic extremists. Anjem Choudary is allowed to preach and incite hatred of the UK and radicalise Muslims. Other Muslims have been filmed preaching hatred and violence against “kuffar”, and it goes on in universities, where academics are reluctant to report it due to academic freedom being more important to them than national security.

    Anjem Choudary isn’t the only Islamic extremist who hasn’t been jailed. Islamic extremists in jail aren’t prevented from radicalising other criminals.

    The UK cannot be accused of being tough on Islamic extremism.

  73. 93 Mr. Kawakubo {PORTLAND}
    February 2, 2010 at 19:24

    These are separate issues. The perpetrators of 9/11 also lived for a time in the US, and the US is not a breeding ground for terrorists, or it doesn’t encourage them. It is the inherent nature of allowing freedom of thought and religion. It is in a way, pointing out the obvious, really!

    This is not about tolerating extreme behavior, it is about tolerating stupidity, the lack of intellectual rigor and logical thought. This all stems from a show you had ages ago about ‘dumb objectivity’ with Susan Jacoby. Dumb objectivity has infected developed culture around the world. You can be tolerant, but tolerance doesn’t mean a lack of scrutiny and criticism, and it doesn’t mean equal wait to faith-based belief—you must put and keep things in there place.

    About the colonial power bore—practically every culture would have colonized, if they would have been good at it and had the means. Britain was successful, it succeeded, because of its strength.

  74. 94 Kondwani in UK
    February 2, 2010 at 19:25

    freedom has a price and i have to agree with Mr Soyinka.

  75. 95 jens
    February 2, 2010 at 19:27


    this link is neither fair nor balanced. the article is full of assumptions and hearsay. the claim that the usa is using biological warfare on the people of iraq is a totaly outrageouse and wrong. the usa is actually trying to build reliable water supplies, rather than the cesspool created under sadamm. in fact it is the fundamentalist who engage in bio warfare by contaminating IED’s with human exrement to cause infections.

  76. 96 Derek in California
    February 2, 2010 at 19:29

    I’d like to emphasize that the American on this show does NOT represent me and many other in the U.S., and that it is more a perfect example of American jingoism and oversimplification. To say that our problems with radicalization started with 9/11 is a perfect example of our own self-centeredness and lack of understanding at what our country has down for decades- the repeated flaunting of international law via invasions, bombings, political subterfuge,etc.. We’ve had an active hand in the destabilization of the Middle East, and we are reaping what we’ve sown.

    To honestly face our own actions will lead to solutions and will truly see a lessening of radicalization. This fingerpointing at a relatively tolerant country like the UK is not addressing the systemic and institutional causes of that radicalization.

  77. 97 Joke Aarts
    February 2, 2010 at 19:34

    Correction: Muslims have murdered millions of people over the past few decennia: Saddam 2,500 million; the Djanjaweed 1 million; muslims killing muslims by the thousands the Talibans and Warlords before 9/11 and have not stopped their gruesome attacks on Afghans;; and murder in Pakistan with uncountable attacks.

    Only Muslims commit uncountanble numbers of attacks on muslims and others also in Irak; in Iran; on Bali, USA, Spain, U.K., Turkey,Kenya, Egypt, with ‘prevented atacks’in at least France and Holland.

    The order for ‘jihad’ is in Koran, why individual muslims kill, kill in groups, kill as Al Qaeda armoes en as suicide bombers.

    Why, Muslims, please look at Muslims and their murder of millions instwead of always blaming others.

    It cannot be denied that the violence caused by Muslims is inspired by Koran; and Muhammed. Ask Bin Laden, Mo B who murdered Theo van Gogh …. all are MUSLIMS and who murder Buddhist monks in South Thailand gruesomely, and murder in the South Philppines; and murder …

  78. 98 Jack
    February 2, 2010 at 19:34

    @ Kondwani,

    Yes, freedom does have a price. In our country, Benjamin Franklin addressed this:

    “He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.”

  79. 99 koye
    February 2, 2010 at 19:37

    If the US is following evidence then the UK and Saudi Arabia should have been on the list of terror producing nations long before Nigeria

  80. 100 jens
    February 2, 2010 at 19:38


    while i am by no means a supporter of the religiouse right, you will have great difficulties in convincing me that this movement is more violent that fundametalist islam. just look at the daily carnage in the name of alah, which while tragic is not comparable to one fruit loop shouting a doctor. there will always be radicals who kill for whatever motivation.

  81. 101 steve
    February 2, 2010 at 19:41

    “The radical right ‘christians’ have killed gynecologists recently and their death threats are serious and ongoing.”

    Wow, one every 10 or so years? That compared to the DAILY suicide bombings in Iraq and Aghanistan? Yesterday in Iraq, a FEMALE suicide bomber blew up over 40 people.

    Have 40 abortion doctors been killed in the US? Maybe in 500 years were might reach that point.

    February 2, 2010 at 19:42

    Soyinka is not right this time although he may have a shred of it. The so called terror is hinged on single issue. Anti-Semitism. It is not that America is attacked because it is super power or simply put – the USA. It is only targeted because of supporting the Jewish state which is considered repressive to its neighbors. Britain usually gets this dose of terror due to its close association with the USA.
    The wider hatred of other Europeans happens because of two words – namely westerners and the International Community whose kingpins are the US and Britain – through which others are recruited via color.
    Finally, they are targetted because they are often accused of unfair trade practices and neoimperialists and – whoever shares a platform with them is considered a target. This is true though it is a chapter in the ongoing history. The net of terrror might be cast wider in futre- or terror might dissapear altogether if the prolonged history of our current political thought were to change.

  83. 103 ben james
    February 2, 2010 at 19:44

    The British people are decent and well meaning, but are unable to perceive the dangers that presently confront them. A bit like the colonel blimps who never realised that it would take the Japanese a matter of weeks to take fortress Singapore off their hands at the start of the war in the east.

  84. 104 James in Saskatchewan
    February 2, 2010 at 19:45

    There obviously is some type of problem here……..the question I have is what would it take to put the “problem social/religious genie” back in the bottle or has pandora’s box been opened and it is now too late to close it back up.

    As countries/societies/religions where do we go from here?

  85. February 2, 2010 at 19:48

    I know that this programme is about opinions, but with an opinion ppl need to say what their opinion’s basis is..not just what they are thinking. Would someone tell how they think if the UK is a cesspit or not. If they say yes, then how? Just citing the example of the U bomber is not enough

  86. 106 Skeptic UK
    February 2, 2010 at 19:49

    I’m sick of this foreign policy excuse made by apologists. We’re out of Iraq and Afghanistan is UN sanctioned and is a defensive reaction. UK gets blamed for all Muslim suffering in the world.

  87. 107 Dana in Cleveland
    February 2, 2010 at 19:50

    The early comment about radical religion pointing straight at the radical Christian right in the U.S. greatly amused this non-Christian American. For a long time, it was not safe to be not Christian in this country.

    That said, the point that the radicalized religious folks preaching destruction in the name of their God(s) makes them ALL dangerous in my view. Tolerance is generally a good thing — one which is totally ignored by the radicalized religious reich of any faith, all of whom seem to think ‘my way or the highway’, just before they blow up the highway!

    Thanks for having this show. 😀

  88. 108 Philippa
    February 2, 2010 at 19:52

    When did tolerance become a dirty word?

  89. 111 Jack
    February 2, 2010 at 19:53


    If you really want to discuss this in terms of scale, do a body count in Iraq since the occupation began. Not ours, theirs. Let’s keep it real, son.

  90. 112 Myra
    February 2, 2010 at 19:54

    I agree with one of the previous speakers that when radical Islamists preach hate there isn’t that much of an outcry. In my view even the muslim leaders and the muslim community just pay it lip service with the popular ‘That is not true Islam’ line and then they are done. They are not proactive in stamping out the radical elements in their religions.

  91. 113 Jane Steele
    February 2, 2010 at 19:57

    Tolerance is going to be the undoing of Britain – When you have exstreamists marching on the the streets with signs saying “Sharia Law for the UK” you know we’re in trouble!!!

  92. 114 Roberto
    February 2, 2010 at 19:57

    RE “” should the UK be looking a little closer to home ? “”

    ———– I reckon so since the UK was part of the BIG LIE that got the US/UK to sink their treasuries and shed precious blood in Iraq for no purpose.

    That of course follows on unchecked immigration policies by both countries that forecast future social upheavals and economic disaster.

    Yup, thanks to voters asleep at the switch and misbegotten pols we have the current Islamic global civil war with no ending in our lifetimes, the proverbial 100 yr reformation.

  93. 115 jens
    February 2, 2010 at 20:01


    nearly 70% of their people are guess what???? killed by their own people. that war leads to casualties is a sad reality. the TOTAL casualties number is around 100K with 70K killed by secterian violence. plus let us just ignore that sadam has killed may more than 1 million of his own people

  94. 116 jens
    February 2, 2010 at 20:04


    it became a dirty word when muslims started to expect from the western world that we should tolerate their warpped ideas, while they can go out and hunt writers and cartoonists because they said something about their prophet.

    tolerance is a two way street.

  95. 117 alex
    February 2, 2010 at 20:04

    moslems are hiding under the pretends of foreign policy to spread islam through
    jihad. the west should open their eyes.how can you be from one country and fight against your own country example in afghanistan against your own service men

  96. 118 robin rattansingh
    February 2, 2010 at 20:10

    This is quite a justified summary of everything that has been taking place and why,too much openess in England and former colonial powers has created the best of breeding grounds for these extremists to fully operate,these are first world countries with alot of technological advances made easily accessible to the general public.Lets face the facts america,england and russia have been at each other throats through cold war squablings that it gave middle east/asian terrorism to escalate into this extremist war as we know it to day.

  97. 119 clamdip
    February 2, 2010 at 20:14

    I agree with Derek in California,
    There are fundamental issues with American foreign policy that need to be fixed. Just look on the State Department blog site and you’ll get a clear understanding of how elitist government officials really feel about the world. They refer to us the “Foggy Bottom”.
    The Muslification of America and the world will continue as long as these attitudes predominate.Are we so egotistical that we can’t criticize ourselves and our policies that hurt and maim the world?

  98. 120 CEBEE
    February 2, 2010 at 20:20

    I think while Soyinka’s comments might have gone too far, there is more than ample evidence to back the fact that radical muslims are recruited in the uk for onward transmission to places like Pakistan and Yemen for ‘finishing school’. While i cant remember the specifics, there have been cases of young muslims recruited in the Uk and sent to those places. What happpens in the UK is like the recruitment process for agents, the most dangerous people in the mosques are not those who do the preaching (as their job is only to prime the listeners), but those who hide in the shadows with the aim of identifying susceptible people, cultivating them and directing them to the radical path. This is what the UK authorities should target.

  99. February 2, 2010 at 20:33

    Britain has simply fetched ants infested firewoods and now, lizards have become their guest.

    How free should apocalyptic preaching be. when fanatical Christians are offended, they call on Holy Ghost fire to destroy their enemies but, when fanatical Moslems are offended, they wear suicide belt, carry daggers and call their fellow human beings infidels…and to kill an infidel becomes a part to heaven. Any religion that preaches that deserved to be censored as per freedom of violent speeches. Britain should wake and stop deceiving herself under the guise of freedom of speech religion wise.

  100. 122 dremoni
    February 2, 2010 at 20:35

    Let me go further and say this that islam in the uk is more akin to a trojan horse. I always wondered why it was easier from pakistan(considering that the majority are muslims) could get into the uk while west african christians are denied entry.
    The empire that helped propagate the gospel of christ and converted millions to christ (that might be your saving grace), has turned away from God and refused to go to churches, so much so that they are being converted to mosques.This will not happen in saudi arabia

    The reality is that the uk has indeed become a cesspit. i do see the war on terror being fought in the streets of london in the future.

  101. 123 Jack
    February 2, 2010 at 20:48

    @ jens,

    Are you justifying the religiously-motivated murder of abortion doctors because (allegedly) 70% of people kill their own people (multiple question marks for the sake of histrionics) or because sectarians killed them or because Saddam killed them?

    I find it wildly amusing that you and Steve dislike the Muslims so much, considering that your dogmatic extremism has the same consequences as theirs. That you don’t know it (or won’t admit it) is hardly surprising.

    • 124 Bert
      February 3, 2010 at 00:12

      Come now. Neither Jens nor Steve are justifying any sort of religiously-motivated murder.

      They are simply trying to cut through some nonsensical hyperbole. And I suspect that everyone on here understands this.

  102. 125 Michel Norman
    February 2, 2010 at 20:58

    I would have thought that the myth “our muslems are not like that” would have been exposed on 7/7 – it is certainly exposed if you go into any of the predominately muslem areas of England where you can find anti-semitic literature of which Nazi Germany would have been proud and jihadi propaganda with absolute ease. The holocaust is not taught in many schools because it would offend muslem sensibilities. Britain is bending over so far to accomodate Muslem sensibilities that it seems to have lost its moral backbone

  103. 126 Jaime Saldarriaga
    February 2, 2010 at 21:34

    Every human being has a responsibility with him(her)self to respect every other human being, regardless of religion, culture or state.

  104. February 2, 2010 at 21:47

    Imagine that the Middle East had the big bucks and the West was poor and unemployed, and millions of Christians fled into those Muslim countries looking for a better life? Would Christian churches be popping up everywhere? Would there be talk of “free speech?”

  105. 128 Methusalem
    February 2, 2010 at 22:00

    Mr. Soyinka has told the nacked truth! The Pope recently called Africa “an immense spiritual ‘lung,’ for a humanity that appears to be in a crisis of faith and hope.” Europeans, Brits, in particular have a blind eye for things that could cause their own destruction. I say that the UK has not become tolerant to intolarent, rather, permissive unto everything immoral. Israel tried tolerance with her Arabs, but the tolerance only provoked them. They exploit Israeli tolerance with massive illegal construction, tax evasion, crime, and disloyalty. The line between tolerance and weakness is too fine for a state to dance. Israel cannot be tolerant. She must be a Jewish country. That’s her reason for existence, so is Britain. There are over 50 Islamic states in the World, so Africans like Mr. Soyinka and 5 billion non-muslims don’t want to see another Islamic state.

  106. 129 Josiah Soap
    February 2, 2010 at 22:31

    English colonialism gave Nigeria, roads, healthcare, farming, a governmental system, cities, infrastructure and someone to blame for their own inadequacies, corruptness and shortcomings.

  107. 130 jens
    February 2, 2010 at 23:49


    i am just clarifying that 705 of the casulties in Iraq are due to secterian violence. i have no hatred of muslims at all. i very much hate fundamentalist islam as preached by the whabis. unlike these fundamentalist who have one aim to take over the world and dominated it, i have no such ambitions at all. i have no desire to have a “holy” war of atheism against religions. people are free to believe, but are not free to kill for their believes. that is all. it is way more honest to say I am invading you because i want your land, not because god told me so…….maybe you should read my comments properly before arriving at conclusions that are way of the mark.

  108. 131 clamdip
    February 3, 2010 at 00:07

    I blame it on corruption and talking from both sides of one’s mouth. You can only hoodwink people for so long. Then they start holding your policies to account. You can’t hold up the banner of freedom and justice while making money on illegal wars to build a pipeline and being the middle man in heroin deals. Stop the charade! The jig’s up!

  109. 132 Colleen
    February 3, 2010 at 00:08

    Just an added note to my own writing. By running scared, I am speaking of the fear of backlash when going up against ANY radical peoples. People who do not treasure life but find glory in death.
    There are no superior people on this earth, we are equal.
    However, when one comes from another land, they must respect the rules of the new land that they have chosen.
    Because of hate and violent acts, instead of appeasing such people, one must stop it. Make it the law of the land and not acceptable.
    It is called..survival. It is also called decency.

    I read so much Christian hate here. Perhaps you could write of the last time a Christan group killed peoples of England?
    Or..must we go back to the Crusades?

    • 133 Ibrahim in UK
      February 3, 2010 at 11:02

      Go back as far as the IRA.

    • 134 Ronald Almeida
      February 4, 2010 at 06:30


      Laws and rights of all societies must treat every individual the same as any other.
      On the other hand every individual is unique and different. Not recognising this sepersteness and treating humanity as a herd of sheep has caused many a problem on this Earth.

  110. 135 Kindi Jallow
    February 3, 2010 at 01:10

    Colonialism, apocalyptic violence and tolarance for divergent views of religion is if I am right is what harbours and nurtures terrorism. As I try to analyse his statement from a standpoint. From an African point of view most people have not decolonised their minds from either Western or Arab imperialism. He who controls your education controlls your mind as well, things you do etc. The targeted group for whatever negative behaviour is the young people who are the most vulnerable.
    On the issue of apocalyptic violence, the government should give guide lines on what is acceptable moral and ethical behaviour and what constitute to preaching immorality.
    Tolerant for divergent religion, distinctively is what makes it different from the other parts of the world. People always take advantage for their own selfish means to achive their objectives overtly or covertly. A knife can be a useful tool in the household but it can also be used otherwise.

  111. 136 Doug Hockenberry
    February 3, 2010 at 07:11

    The single thing that strikes me most would be the premise that Islam has the corner on being radical. That is simply not true. One recent case is that of a ‘Christian’ leader speaking against a distressed population on his personal religious beliefs.

    This statement was nearly universally discredited. However, he still has many adamant followers and speaks to them regularly. And, this ‘leader’ was not from the UK.

  112. 137 viola
    February 3, 2010 at 07:30

    England is not guilty of anything if their adherence to a law-based society permits wild-eyed radicals to say anything they want and go around plotting to make Britain and the rest of the world Muslim . You either believe in law and order or you do not. However, to say that Britain does nothing about people who put their murderous impulses into action is incorrect. Murder is illegal. So are plots to murder. So is treason. Against such crimes the full might of the country is brought to bear, rightfully so.

    I love it that those who do something to fight terrorism get pilloried for being anti-Muslim and if they don’t do anything or don’t do enough, they get pilloried for encouraging terrorism.

  113. 138 Kenneth Ingle
    February 3, 2010 at 10:01

    While Britain and the USA are wasting lives and money in areas around the world, where they have no right to send troops, the dangers of radical Islamism is growing from day to day in all Nato countries.
    Already in Britain, Germany, France and te USA, there are districts where “whites” are looked upon as intruders. The question which could be raised is – are our governments discriminating against their own native peoples.

  114. February 3, 2010 at 11:07

    viola February 3, 2010 at 07:30

    You say that murder is illegal, and indeed it ought to be, yet the UK with its gender apartheid legal system, has turn a blind eye to a particular kind of murder.

    ‘Honour ‘ killings have gone on in this a 21stC modern liberal democracy with impunity for a long, long time, under reported, not reported hushed up, “Let’s not upset them, respect please for different cultures” otherwise it might lead to race riots.

    We are only just beginning to face the fact that this has been going on in vast numbers for some time. The reason that it’s now beginning to be addressed is because some very brave women form the cultural groups who practice this crime are speaking up and this takes quite some bravery on their part. Many who have spoken up have been killed and others have to remain in hiding. This, believe it or not, is taking place in what we claim is a modern liberal democracy in this the 21st century. You couldn’t make it up!

  115. 140 Charles Bakosi
    February 3, 2010 at 11:23

    Well corruption in Nigeria did not radicalise the failure failed bomber, those who accuse Nigeria should rather look at themselves after all their banks keep the loots from Nigeria knowing fully well that most monies from developing countries are stolen. Have those actually accusing Nigeria of corruption asked themselves why their banks accept such stolen monies.

  116. 141 J. Augustine - WI USA
    February 3, 2010 at 17:10

    Soyinka is a mouthpiece for the ignorance of the real and living fundamental precepts of Islam. The Muslims who advocate terrorist violence do not speak the word of Islam any more than Christian witch burnings spoke the word of Christ.

    If Soyinka’s logic was applied to the law of the land, then every word spoken in the British Parliament in support of the Shah of Iran would logically have to be stricken from the official record. All records of US (and Israeli) weapons provided to the military dictatorship in Guatemala over the three decades following the “bloodless” coup against the democratically elected president Jacobal Arbenz in the 1950’s would have to be redacted as “discretionary” spending.

    If I had grown up in such a world, I could speak freely of my pride in the law of my land. But such words could not speak the truth.

  117. 142 J. Augustine - WI USA
    February 3, 2010 at 17:19

    Colleen, my comments hadn’t been posted yet. Is the terrorist regime of the Shah recent enough? Or would you count him as a “good guy” too? …or not “Christian” enough to weigh upon your moral scale?

  118. 143 J. Augustine - WI USA
    February 3, 2010 at 17:28

    Again, sorry. I missed the significance of the “English” modifier. Are we weighing here the weight of a crime according to the citizenship of its victims? Obviously there is alot of that which seems to be taken into account on a global scale, but for the sake of argument here… Should this be an admissable factor in the determining of justice in a court of law?

    Or am I missing the point again?

  119. 144 viola
    February 3, 2010 at 19:11

    @Millytante. I totally agree. And another thing: The women and girls standing up against such atrocities are far braver than the suicide murderers killing innocents in order to go to heaven and advance the terrorists’ cause.

    Honour killings bring honour to no one, only loathing. No legal system should allow honour killings to be a defense against a conviction for murder. Honour is too important a concept for a society to allow it to be degraded by acccepting such murders as justified.

  120. 145 Ronald Almeida
    February 4, 2010 at 05:57

    I can’t imagine a Nobel laureate harbouring a cesspit in his mind.

  121. 146 Insan Mukmin
    February 4, 2010 at 06:45

    Why blame England for terrorism? Isn’t the main motivating factor for Islamic terrorism Israel? Don’t all Muslim terrorists claim Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories as the main motivating factor for them to carry out acts of terrorism? Not to mention the war in Iraq which was a war crime and sadly those responsible for the war in Iraq have yet to be brought to justice.

  122. 147 Joke Aarts
    February 4, 2010 at 10:46

    Please, without wanting to be disrespecful to anything declared ‘holy’, as long as Koran/Muhammed/hadiths are excused as not the source of jihadis and radicalisation of Muslim youth, terrorism cannot be combatted.

    And please do not deny the role of propaganda that occurs in Britain/EU as well, for instance international by the Talibans urging to join ‘jihad’ in this brilliant in-depth article that opened my eyes wider to what is going on:

    … ://www.huffingtonpost.com/abdulhadi-hairan/a-profile-of-the-talibans_b_442857.html

  123. 148 Cabe Searle UK
    February 4, 2010 at 17:30

    Milly and Viola: I praise brave young Muslim women too for speaking up against ‘honour killings’ in their culture but better and braver that they were young mothers, to train their young boy children the meaning of living side-by-side with a diverse world and the meaning of right from wrong – instead of leaving it all to their narrow-minded mullahs!

  124. 149 Cabe Searle UK
    February 4, 2010 at 17:43

    Ye Gads! Some of you act as if Fundamentalist Muslims don’t have an iota of a brain-cell and are completely innocent until someone mentions “Britain” to them, and Suddenly they all start bombing the World !! Sorry, but Terrorists are recruited Underground all over the world, and there is nothing you can do about it and to blame Britain alone for creating and nurturing them etc, is a tad rich! – YES, Britain IS to blame for its own problems but not for everyone elses! And if Colonialism nurtures terrorists then how do you explain the middle East – which wasn’t colonised by us? What about the Spanish Colonising half the world before us, or the Dutch colonising Africa and Japan to name a few…. what about the Romans??? (…He he) You ‘Britain blamers’ go check your own back yard – bet you’ll be shocked at what you’re nurturing!
    …Someone said we should build cultural awareness and improve perceptions – Well we do! We do all the nannying of new cultures in the UK but Only the muslims don’t want to play. Instead they build a replica of home and live within its closed boundaries, those same closed boundaries that originally made them flee it in their home country! France is right in getting rid of the ‘veil’ in public places – Maybe we should go one step beyond what America does and make All ‘immigrants’ black and white – learn our language, take a history exam and then take the Oath of Allegiance! And if there’s any law breaking they get packed off straight back home…!

  125. 150 Cabe Searle UK
    February 4, 2010 at 18:26

    Quote “Colleen February 2, 2010 at 17:56 – Hold on to your knickers Cabe.
    Please read again, I was writing of the media and stated so.
    Have a great day and an even better tomorrow!”

    Just seen this! 🙂 Sorry Colleen! – Don’t mind me – I have such a lot of fun on these posts that I get carried away…. knickers now firmly in place…. Lol !

  126. 151 Joke Aarts
    February 4, 2010 at 22:31

    Isn’t it by the very fact that all of EU is abuzz about the pressence of Islam that there is something wrong, as forever from the start of Koran/Mohammed that clashed with Christianity and everyone non-muslim as in Koran/Muhammed with the CLASH built in?

    and why the WHAM exist. Of that I am convinced.

    proven by the Swiss and such EU ‘against Islam’.

  127. February 14, 2010 at 23:18

    Wole Soyinka is smart mind, and must be taken very seriously. He has posited the truth. Britaian has a lot of work to do. The British divide and rule style during the colonial era, meant that it had to close its eyes to certain evil. Now that evil is in its own domain, and suddenly things are falling apart.

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