Thursday, April 12, 2007

It should be Holiday Watch, not Jihad Watch .

7 weeks tomorrow I will be going away on holiday to Agadir in Morocco. So I should be reading up on the internet about the joys awaiting me in Morocco and the tourist resort of Agadir. Nice thoughts should be in my head like the photo a blogger posted featuring goats in trees because the grass on the ground had gone.

Instead I read alarming reports about suicide bombers caught in Morocco. Then our Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice for Morocco warns...

There is a high threat from terrorism in Morocco. In May 2003, 45 people were killed in a series of terrorist attacks in Casablanca. These attacks were against relatively soft targets, including hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners or those with Jewish links. Although the Moroccan authorities arrested and imprisoned a number of those considered to be responsible for the attacks, there is a high threat of further attacks. In August 2006, the Moroccan authorities arrested a number of individuals allegedly plotting to attack a number of targets, including noticeably Western interests. Arrests of terrorist suspects have continued since then. A suspected suicide bombing took place in an internet cafe in Casablanca on the evening of 11 March 2007, killing one and injuring at least four others; there were no foreign casualties. Three suspected terrorists blew themselves up, killing one policeman and injuring another, during police raids in Casablanca on 10 April. Another suspected terrorist was shot and killed during one of the raids.

Today I open my newspaper and read about Islamist bloodshed returns to Algeria as suicide bombings leave 30 dead fully aware that Algeria shares a border with Morocco. Also...

Some American intelligence analysts have accused the organisation of sending jihadis to Iraq, and trying to create an extremist arc in North Africa that could unite the various militant groups across the region, particularly in Morocco, Nigeria, Mauritania and Tunisia.

I am fully aware that there is a risk of terrorism anywhere in the world today. We could be attacked again here in the UK but it is worrying that we may be flying into a terrorist hotspot. Then again if tourists do not travel abroad those countries suffer and the terrorists have won. People need to stand up and be counted. I should not be detered from travelling abroad by the risk of terrorism and confined to our country for my holidays.

There is no easy solution to these problems and each country must find it's own solution. The world is not becoming a safer place which is sad when you consider just how better educated people have become. It is a big world and I hope that I am not in the wrong place at the wrong time. I enjoy my freedom and trust our government to cancel any holidays if the risk of terrorism is too great.

I do hope that the situation in North Africa improves and that I enjoy my coming holiday just as much as my last 2 visits to Tunisia.
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