Slippery slope?

Zaki Chehab ("Al-Qaeda: Britain in its sights", 21 August) proposes that, to mollify Osama Bin Laden and his supporters in Britain, our government distance itself from those of George W Bush's policies that are detrimental to Muslims.

In the same issue, John Pilger, writing of the threat to our security coming from Downing Street, reduces terrorists to the level of Pavlov's dogs, unthinkingly springing into action at a given signal. So how refreshing to read Rageh Omaar's column. While conceding that our foreign policy is a factor in motivating Islamist terrorism, he describes this kind of pressure as "blackmail". The policy changes mooted by Chehab and Pilger and the signatories of the British Muslim politicians' open letter of 12 August might seem reasonable, but the problem with blackmailers is that, unless you stand firm, they make increasingly exorbitant demands. Bin Laden and his disciples are not the most reasonable of men.

Vera Lustig
Walton-on-Thames, Surrey

This article first appeared in the 28 August 2006 issue of the New Statesman, Blogs plc