This is a partial transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume," July 7, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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BRIT HUME, HOST: So is London, and by extension, perhaps, other major cities in Europe, more vulnerable to terror attacks than American cities? And if so, why?
For answers, we turn to FOX News contributor Marc Ginsberg, a former ambassador to Morocco, who has written articles on the Islamic influx in Europe.
MARC GINSBERG, FOX FOREIGN AFFAIRS ANALYST: Thank you, Brit.
HUME: Contrast, if you can, the situation with regard to Muslims in this country with the Muslims that inhabit a place like London.
GINSBERG: Muslims in the United States are far more assimilated into the society of the United States, into the fabric of the United States than they are in Europe.
Even though there’s been millions of Muslims who have immigrated to Europe in the ‘60s and ‘70s, because these countries wanted them to come in as workers, their generational offspring have not been assimilated. They become radicalized and not assimilated into the societies of the countries in which they live.
The Hamburg cell that plotted the 9/11 attacks was a group of German Islamic radicals who had gone to Germany to study and to live and who ultimately were never assimilated into Germany. And the same thing holds true, for example, in London, in some of the major radical mosques, where they preach this form of radical Islam to disenfranchised youth, the same thing in France, the same thing in Amsterdam and the Netherlands, even in Denmark, even in Spain, throughout Italy, the same problem.
HUME: How have the French, who are thought, I think, by many Americans, to be kind of soft on Muslim extremism, how have they dealt with these kind of radical clerics and messages?
GINSBERG: Well, actually, the French have stronger national counterterrorism laws than the British do. The French have actually not only deported these individuals, but actually jailed them far more aggressively than the British court system did. For example, it took almost three years for the United States to convince the British to bring charges against the Finsbury Park sheik, al-Mazri, who was just in...
HUME: He’s the one who’s — he’s the one who’s on trial now.
GINSBERG: Right. And for example, in Germany, the so-called 21st hijacker, a gentleman by the name of Motassadeq, was jailed and ultimately the German court system let him free. He’s going to be retried.
So the court systems are lax. They’re able to move more freely. And these clerical sheiks, who are far more radical, Brit, get much more funding and financing from Saudi Arabia and from Egypt than they would in the United States.
HUME: And we don’t have this kind of population of radical clerics in this country preaching this kind of stuff?
GINSBERG: Actually, I traced to see whether or not we did about that after 9/11. The Saudis did try to radicalize the sheiks in the mosques in the United States. To the credit of the Muslim population in the United States, the Muslim population did not want to have anything to do with that. But it was far different in Europe, where the Saudis were able to provide stipends for more radical clerics, and therefore they were trained under Saudi and Egyptian tutelage than they were in the United States.
HUME: So what we’re seeing then in London then is — I mean, it was interesting to hear these British citizens say, "Well, we knew something like this was going to happen. We expected that something like this sooner or later would happen."
How should we view this terror attack? Obviously, it is the horror of all of the people who died, dozens, and the list may grow, many hundreds injured, in terms of — you know, what does this say about the strength of these terror cells? Is this a big success, or is this in the long scheme of things a glancing blow?
GINSBERG: I think it’s a relative success, because the situation in Europe, Brit, is so dangerous, ultimately, for us as well. Al Qaeda is not just an organization anymore. It’s a movement. It has franchise cells all over Europe.
Between September 11 of 2001 and today, there have been almost 26 plots that have been foiled by different European security apparati that, in effect, were targeted — everything from U.S. embassies, to the Strasbourg Cathedral, to the plot to, in effect, bomb the subway system before in England.
We just saw that there was an arrest just this year in London of Pakistanis that had stored almost a half a ton of aluminum nitrate which is used to create bombs and blow up bombs. In London, as well, there was an effort to plot the attacks against the American financial centers. London has had its share of radical plotters who are plotting to do evil against the United States.
HUME: Well, I guess they’ve also had their share of successes, as well, in trying to shut some of these down, as you mentioned.
HUME: I mean, they’ve arrested a lot of people. Now, I assume they move very freely among these countries, E.U. passports and all that?
GINSBERG: Well, once you are inside the European Union, there is no passport control under the Maastricht Treaty. And indeed, what has happened is that, as these immigrants have come from Morocco, from Algeria, through the underground railroad that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi operates, through Ansar al- Islam, which is major Al Qaeda operative organization in Europe, once they’re inside Italy or Spain, they move freely to France and to Great Britain because there is no visa controls.
And this is one of the issues that Europeans are going to have to deal with. Of course, here we have far stricter rules now about visas than the British do, or the French do, or the Germans do.
HUME: But isn’t it easier because of the E.U. passport for them to get in here than it would be if they were coming from somewhere else?
GINSBERG: Absolutely. Indeed, once they have passports, once they have European passports, it’s far more likely under the visa waiver program of the United States that they would be able to get entry than if they had passports from Pakistan, or from Saudi Arabia, or from Egypt.
HUME: Is there anything being done about that?
GINSBERG: Yes. In fact, Congress is looking at legislation that ultimately would go back and double-check what were the nationalities of the individuals before they obtained these European passports. Brit, it’s the same way in which many of these Arabs are traveling through Europe to get to Iraq to attack the United States troops there.
HUME: All right, Marc Ginsberg. Good to have you. Thanks very much.
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