Mujahideen are those who take part in jihad, or Islamic holy war. In July, just 5 days after homosexual police disgraced their uniform in London's 'Gay Pride parade,' jihad came to London. In the aftermath, an air of unreality surrounded our politicians and Muslim leaders. In denying any connection between suicide bombings and Islam, the public realised they were being less than honest. There was an unwelcome feeling that they were more interested in keeping the lid on community relations than protecting lives, and more concerned with containing 'Islamophobia' than fighting terrorism. In fact, ordinary people know perfectly well that although the majority of Muslims would not wish harm on their neighbours, some followers of that religion certainly do. This must make Islam unique among world religions.
The Prince of Wales said that the cause of the bombers was not Islam. "It is anything but. It is a perversion of Islam," he said. The Rt Hon Tony Blair said after his meeting with Muslim leaders that extremism was "based on a perversion of the true faith of Islam but nonetheless is real within parts of our community here in this country." As the Prime Minister was not known previously as an Islamic scholar, he must have heard this from Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, who was prominent amongst those at the meeting. (Sir Iqbal received his knighthood for services to the Muslim community and inter-faith relations.)
The day after the 7th July bombings, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brian Paddick fronted a press conference during which he rebuked a reporter who asked about the nature of the threat and mentioned Muslim terrorists: "Islam and terrorism don't go together," stated Britain's highest-ranking openly-homosexual - and most politically-correct - policeman. We should all accept that the police have an interest in discouraging acts of arson and violence, but DAC Paddick managed to sound as if he was in denial, which surely does not help.
Now Mr Blair wants a new Anti-terror Bill because of the London bombings. The ink is hardly dry on the last one, but despite claiming that the police had absolutely no intelligence or prior knowledge of the events of 7/7/5 or 21/7/5 at all, Mr Blair believe a new bit of legislation will 'prevent such a thing happening again.' However, the need is apparently not as urgent as all that. MP's could still go on holiday and debate it in the autumn. Meanwhile, a task-force or network is to be created to go into the Muslim community, tackle the "evil ideology" of extremism "head-on" and "defeat it by the force of reason". How very Enlightened.
KEN KEEPS BAD COMPANY
As for Ken Livingstone, words cannot convey enough revulsion. His defiant message that Londoners would not be cowed by the bombings was impassioned indeed, but he appealed to the same 'British way of life' which Tony Blair also championed. It is precisely the decadent British way of abortion, divorce, homosexuality, obscenity, greed, injustice, lack of respect for God or man, not to mention using lies to justify going to war against not just one but two sovereign Muslim states which religious Muslims despise. Mr Livingstone's passion for London and his impassioned speech after the first London bombings might convince those with short memories that he really stands up for Londoners. Yet this is the same Ken Livingstone who invited Sinn Fein leaders Marin McGuiness and Gerry Adams to London in 1993, at the height of the Provisionals' murderous campaign, which culminated in the bombings at Harrods and Canary Wharf.
In July last year, he welcomed Sheikh Yusef Al-Qaradawi to London, prompting protests from Sikhs, Hindus, Jews, and homosexuals. Livingstone hugged Al-Qaradawi on stage and spoke of him as a man of 'moderation and tolerance.' A leading member of the 'Muslim Brotherhood,' Al-Qaradawi pleaded in March 2003, "O Allah, destroy the Zionists, the American and the British aggressors.' In his Al-jazeera programme he helpfully explained that a person involved in Jihad "is not a suicide bomber - he kills the enemy while taking self-risk." On a website linked to Hamas, he said "Hamas operations are Jihad and those who are killed are considered martyrs." Horribly, the cleric's views that it is a praiseworthy act to blow up buses and restaurants filled with women and children received a measure of support from anti-Israel Livingstone after the London bombings. He said: "Given that the Palestinians don't have jet fighters and don't have tanks, they only have their bodies to use as weapons. In that unfair balance, this is what people use." Mr Livingstone expressed his revulsion for the 'indiscriminate attempt to slaughter' of the London bombers. A bit more discrimination apparently makes it OK.
'MUSLIMS WILL CONTROL THE EARTH'
Al-Qaradawi's is hardly a lone voice. On 19th July Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed blamed the British public for the London bombings. The Syrian-born cleric, who draws 300 a week in income support, pinned responsibility on voters who returned Tony Blair to Downing Street in May. Bakri is protected by Britain's membership of the European Convention on Human Rights. Ministers cannot deport him unless Syrian officials guarantee he will not be killed if he returns there. He has called on followers to sacrifice their lives and turn Britain into an Islamic state. Just before the bombings, Bakri declared on a website: "We're going to incite people to do Jihad. We will conquer the White House. It will be no surprise that we will be in charge and Muslims will control the earth." He said, "We don't make a distinction between civilians and non-civilians, innocents and non-innocents. Only between Muslims and unbelievers. And the life of an unbeliever has no value. It has no sanctity." He urged young Muslims: "Let your death occur on the Battlefield. If you make yourself available to Jihad, Allah will accept you as Shaheed (martyr)."
Bakri's aide, Anjem Choudary, British leader of the radical Al-Muhajiroun said suicide bombings were justified. "Nobody has yet pointed the finger at Tony Blair for his nasty policies in Iraq. If they continue the same foreign policy, we can expect more of the same," he said, declining to condemn the London bombings. Describing the British regime as "the real terrorists" for their policy in Iraq, he even described the police as terrorists because "they have tried to divide the Muslim community into moderates and extremists, whereas this classification does not exist in Islam. Either you are a practising Muslim or a non-practising one."
The tone is extreme, but are the underlying sentiments shared by British Muslims? Imam Ibrahim Mogra was one of those who met Tony Blair, yet he said after the talks that Muslims "felt the pain and suffering of our brothers and sisters around the globe every day," whilst Sir Iqbal Sacranie said the leaders had made clear Mr Blair could not "simply shun the issue of foreign policy." While Tony Blair was holding his meeting with Muslim leaders, younger Muslims complained they had been excluded, and they made a clear linkage between the London bombings and British foreign policy, albeit in more measured tones that those of Bakri.
'HERO OF ISLAM'
Measured tones were absent at the funeral in mid-July of Shehzad Tanweer, responsible for the bombing between Aldgate and Liverpool Street. For obvious reasons, the funeral was held in absentia. The 'Qul' ceremony was held, where the Quran is recited to speed the journey of the deceased to paradise. Tanweer, of course, being considered a martyr, is believed to have gone straight there. Thousands of mourners turned up at Tanweer's ancestral village in Pakistan to hail the 22-year-old from Leeds as a 'hero of Islam.'
BBC2's 'Newsnight' showed an interview of British-born Muslim leader Abu Izzadeen, long-time member of Al-Muhajiroun and now leader of the Al-Ghurabaa ('The Strangers') group, clad in flowing white robes. Izzadeen, a convert to Islam from an Afro-Caribbean family background, refused to condemn the bombers. "Why should I?" he asked reporter Richard Watkins, "They are praiseworthy Mujahideen (Fighters for Jihad)." He said this generation of Muslims are 'born here, we have British passports, British citizenship, but our allegiance is only to Islam." It was time for Tony Blair to "Wake up and smell the coffee," he said.
On the same edition of Newsnight, Abu Uzair, another former member of Omar Bakri's sect Al-Muhajiroun, also said he was a Muslim "first, second and last" and told Watkins: "The banner has been raised for Jihad inside the UK." He said Muslims had considered they had an Islamic 'Covenant of Security' inside the UK, which meant the Britain was not a target for Islamic militants. He now believed Muslims were 'under threat' and "we don't live in peace with you any more." Abu Uzair is now a member of something called the 'Saved Sect'. (The newspapers were calling it the 'Saviour Sect', but they are wrong.) The 'Saved Sect' (Al-Firqatun-Naajiyah) has great significance in Islam. Mohammed said the Ummah (his followers) would split into 72 unsaved sects and one saved sect, which would follow his teachings. The 'Saved Sect' are therefore the true followers of Islam, the nearest thing Islam has to a Remnant or an Elect. The attraction to disaffected young men of belonging to such a group is obvious.
MODERATE CLERIC BRANDS BLAIR 'LIAR'
On 27th July, West Midlands police wheeled out the chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque as part of a community relations exercise following their dawn raids in the city. Dr Mohammed Naseem, the most senior Islamic cleric in Birmingham, is one of the most respected Muslims in the city and is considered a moderate. He has regular meetings with the chief constable to discuss religious harmony. He promptly used the platform he was given to claim that Muslims were being unjustly blamed in the war on terrorism and that the eight suspects in the two bombing attacks on London "could have been innocent passengers". Mr Naseem called Tony Blair a "liar" and "unreliable witness" (with some justification) but then questioned whether CCTV footage issued of the suspected bombers was of the perpetrators. They could have been innocent passengers, he said: "They had bought return train tickets."
Dr Naseem said that Muslims "all over the world have never heard of an organisation called al-Qa'eda," in an outburst which shocked senior police officers, trying to calm racial and religious tension after the arrest of Yasin Hassan Omar. To the embarrassment of council officials and police standing next to him, Mr Naseem said the Government and security services "were not to be relied upon". He said: "Tony Blair has told lies on going to Iraq and in a court of law - if a witness has proved to be a liar he ceases to be a reliable witness. His comments could motivate someone to take the law into his own hands." Nor was Dr Naseem impressed with the police or with the British judicial system. "We cannot give our blind trust to the Government. The process is not open; the process is not transparent; the process is not independent. I do not have faith in the system as it stands," he said.
FAVOURITE MUSLIM UNDERSTANDS
Even Tariq Ramadan, described as "Scotland Yard's favourite Muslim" because of the Met's funding for a conference at which he spoke over the weekend 23rd/24th July, says exactly the same things. In an interview with Trevor Kavanagh, political editor of The Sun, (20th July) Prof Ramadan condemned killing "innocent people by suicide bombing" whilst going on with a succession of 'buts'. "We have to understand what is going on in Palestine and Iraq. In the context of injustice and people being killed, we can explain. To explain is not to justify. There is no justification. But if you want to solve the problem it is wrong to say, 'We condemn' and that's it. That means we keep silent on the oppression people are facing. Our silence is promoting their violence."
Kavanagh asked if Ramadan agreed with the view that, while not all Muslims are terrorists, almost all terrorists are Muslims. Professor Ramadan replied, "I agree with that sentiment." So why did four British-born Muslims strap bombs to themselves? "There is no simple answer. What happened in Iraq and what is happening in Palestine had an effect. International issues are felt by the community as a direct attack. Under certain pressures, people can be pushed so hard that they are driven to the last resort." Even his calls for integration were over-laden with menace: "Muslims have to reach out. But so do the British people. Tony Blair also has to listen to the people when millions are saying No to this war." The rest of us who are saying 'No' to the war don't blow up the middle of the Piccadilly Line when Tony Blair ignores us, of course.
YOUNG MUSLIMS DISAFFECTED
The most disturbing evidence of the disaffection of British Muslims came from a YouGov survey in the Daily Telegraph. A majority condemned the attacks, but a sizeable minority were in sympathy. 6% thought the attacks were justified, which in absolute numbers is 100,000 individuals. 56% said they could understand why the bombers did it, 24% had some sympathy for them and 26% thought the Prime Minister was wrong to say they had perverted Islam. 46% felt 'very loyal' and 33% were 'fairly loyal' to Britain, but 6% said they were not very loyal, and 10% not at all loyal. Nearly a third a British Muslims, 32%, believe 'Western society is decadent and immoral and that Muslims should seek to bring it to an end.' 73% would go to the police if they believed someone was planning a terrorist attack, 70% would tell if they saw something in the community 'that makes them feel suspicious', which still means that over a quarter would not. Less than half would inform on an imam spreading hatred.
The worrying thing is that Muslim men, in particular young Muslim men, were more angry, and more inclined to blame and disparage their adopted home than any other group, and it is precisely this group which is the most likely to be recruited by Al-Qaeda and similar terrorist groups.
MUSLIM CONDEMNATION OF BOMBINGS
It would be wrong to give the impression that official Muslim groups condone the bombers' violence. The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) said: "Any individual or group that claims that these heinous actions serve as a redress for legitimate grievances is dreadfully mistaken. MPAC condemns the exploitation of people and issues, regardless of the perpetrators and their justifications. This assault is unmistakably an act of terrorism, an attack against humanity." The Muslim Council of Britain called the bombers "evil people," and Sir Iqbal Sacranie said, "We are simply appalled and want to express our deepest condolences to the families. These terrorists, these evil people want to demoralise us as a nation and divide us. All of must unite in helping the police to hunt these murderers down." Dr. Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, leader of the Muslim Parliament, told a Muslim conference in Birmingham, attended by over 3000 people, that they must confront extremism within their ranks if they wished to live in peace in Britain. The conference, which was organised by Jamaat-ahle-Sunnat, a Sunni Muslim group, also issued a fatwa declaring suicide bombing a crime and an un-Islamic act.
Identifying the growth of what he described as "intolerant Islam" as a "phenomenon peculiar to our times," Dr Siddiqui said: "For far too long Muslims have tolerated (the) presence of this movement within their ranks. Now four British-born young men have been found to be involved in the London bombings. The time has come to go beyond the denial. We must challenge this evil theology, which motivates and inspires young people to become suicide bombers. We must reject any ideology which does not respect human life, honour and dignity. We must condemn suicide bombing as a weapon of resistance or revenge under any circumstances."
Going further, Dr Siddiqui said: "We must identify all those Islamic groups who supported and participated in the 'Afghan Jihad' and trace their links in Britain. Their identification and linkage is important to know who the promoters of 'jihadist' ideology are in Britain. Many of these groups will be found to be in control of many mosques and Islamic centres. These groups hold conferences in Britain and invite clerics who have supported jihadist activities in Afghanistan and beyond." At the same time, Dr Siddique said the many "active and radical young people" have organised themselves "outside the influence of the mosque structure."
WILL ANYONE LISTEN?
So it seems that there are mosques where 'jihadist' ideology is taught, and in those where it isn't, young Muslims are forming groups of their own. Dispossessed and alienated young Muslims are not inclined to listen to the non-jihadist 'old men' of the mosques and Muslim councils and parliaments. They want their Islam radical. They feel part of a worldwide 'Umma' or Muslim brotherhood. They are humiliated by the British/American incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan. They are angered at the existence of Israel and suffused with rage that Israel controls all of Jerusalem.
According to Robert Spencer of www.frontpagemag.com, " this appeal - the characterization of alliance with the West against the jihad terrorists as an act of disloyalty to Islam and the umma, the worldwide Islamic community - is potent. Jihadists are winning adherents among young Muslims in Britain by presenting themselves as the advocates of 'pure Islam.'"
The BBC noted in March 2004 that "many young Muslims, confused about their identity, have turned to their faith to provide answers and stumbled upon what they call 'pure Islam.' Pure Islam is austere, intolerant, harsh, and very heavily influenced by the teachings of the dominant Saudi sect known as the Wahhabis ... Pure Islam has claimed the mantle of being the only real Islam as practised at the time of the Prophet Mohammed and his companions ... However, moderate Muslims leaders have remained largely silent and have yet to provide a credible alternative."
WE TOLD HIM SO
It is little comfort to remember that critics of Tony Blair's illegal and immoral war in Iraq, ourselves among them, warned before the invasion that there was no justification for declaring war on Saddam and the reasoning was exactly the wrong way round. Mr Blair said that Iraq held weapons of mass destruction which could be launched against British interests in 45 minutes. Invading Iraq and removing Saddam would make Britain a safer place, he said. His critics, ourselves among them, said the opposite was true. Saddam had no links with Al-Qaeda, we did not believe the weapons of mass destruction were there, we did not believe Saddam was organising international terrorism, but we did believe an attack would plunge that country into anarchy.
As with Afghanistan, Muslims in Britain were sure to object to the invasion of Muslim territory, and the British and Christians in Iraq would be held responsible for a vast number of Iraqi military and civilian deaths, extremists would use the invasion of both countries to whip up support and acts of terrorism would be more likely against Britain as a result of action against Afghanistan and Iraq, not less likely. Sadly, inevitably, we have been proved right and it gives us no pleasure to say 'we told you so'. Even the top official at the Foreign Office, Sir Michael Jay, warned the Government in May 2004 that the Iraq war was fuelling Muslim extremism, despite repeated denials from ministers after the bombings that there was any link at all.
Will that happen? Even the first step, a day of prayer in the name of Jesus, would mean consigning 'multi-culturalism' to the scrap-book of history where it belongs, and would see our politicians in a posture of humility before the Sovereign of the Universe. God can work miracles. It is at least, worth praying for, and writing to our MPs to suggest.