Skip to comments.Anti-Terror Raids Rouse UK To 'Enemy Within'
Posted on 01/17/2003 4:11:19 AM PST by blam
Anti-terror raids rouse UK to 'enemy within'
January 17 2003 at 05:54AM
London - A crude newspaper cartoon depicts a band of weapon-wielding, poison-laden refugees charging into Britain past an immigration official who politely tells them: "Enjoy your stay, gentlemen."
The Sun's caricature on Thursday summed up growing public disquiet among Britons over a link between asylum-seekers and terror cells illustrated in two shocking raids this month.
First, two men arrested on January 5 over a discovery of the deadly poison Ricin turned out to be asylum-seekers housed in London.
Then one of the men arrested in this week's related anti-terror raid in Manchester - during which a policeman was killed with a kitchen knife - was also revealed to be an asylum-seeker on the run.
'We cannot be a fortress Britain' The raids have woken the nation to an "enemy within".
They have also given focus to a long-running asylum debate, prompting a frenzy of calls from some quarters for tougher laws, but warnings from others to avoid a backlash against genuine asylum-seekers fleeing persecution.
Most of the 200 terror suspects Britain has arrested since September 11 have been north African, mainly Algerian.
The opposition Conservative Party led the outrage. "No person should be allowed to enter the country if they pose a risk to our security," said its leader, Iain Duncan Smith.
The Sun was more blunt. "If Britain wasn't such a soft touch, policeman Steve Oake would still be alive today."
The anti-asylum torrent in Wednesday's papers was met head-on by rights groups.
They fear asylum-seekers could face a backlash similar to a wave of anti-Muslim feeling after the September 11 attacks.
"There is no distinction being made between legitimate asylum-seekers and a violent minority within them," said Inayat Bunglawala, of the Muslim Council of Britain.
The head of Amnesty International, Irene Khan, agreed.
"Inflammatory headlines have demonised and dehumanised an entire category of people who are genuinely in fear of their lives," she said.
Home Secretary David Blunkett insisted Britain would not be closing its doors.
"We cannot be a fortress Britain," he warned. - Reuters
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.