Martin Bentham, This Is London, April 27, 2011
A former Labour minister admitted today that political correctness had led Britain to offer shelter to violent extremists.
Kim Howells, a former Foreign Office minister, said Tony Blair’s government and other administrations had been afraid to criticise the conduct of radical preachers and others because they feared being accused of racism.
He said the policy had been pursued even though there was plenty of intelligence about the “evil” intent of such extremists and that it was only reversed after the 7/7 bombings. Mr Howells also said that he had been unable to find a single imam willing to say publicly that suicide bombers would go to hell. He further criticised a reluctance in Muslim communities to condemn the “murderous actions” of terrorists.
His comments came as a leaked diplomatic cable, published today by WikiLeaks, revealed Britain had been warned years before the London bombings to stop giving asylum to “very dangerous” terrorists.
The cable, sent by a former military attaché to the Algerian embassy in Washington on July 12 2005, told US diplomats that Britain had allowed extremists to raise money for terrorist causes.
“Did the English consider the risks of allowing Londonistan to develop?” the cable states. “The British thought that sheltering terrorists was a good solution, but they did not realise that one can never align oneself with the devil, and they did precisely that for years and years.”
In a BBC interview today, Mr Howells admitted that the criticism was justified.