London Journal: "Moderate" Muslims Behaving Badly
August 15, 2006
London Journal: "Moderate" Muslims Behaving Badly
Thursday evening, I was lying in bed in my hotel room in Russell Square, less than 24 hours after MI-5 and the British police foiled a plot to blow up as many as 10 trans-Atlantic flights with a potential death toll of 4,000. Officials described it as attempted "mass murder on an unimaginable scale."
On the show I was watching, a BBC reporter interviewed a neighbor of one of the 24 terrorism suspects arrested all British-born Muslims.
He was a good lad who played football, the local reported. Also, recently he became very involved with his religion."
This a clichι on par with the "moody loner" label. When a serial killer is caught, he's invariably described as a "moody loner." (What would he be a bon vivant or a hale fellow well-met?) When someone is arrested for plotting a suicide attack or terror bombing, we're told he recently became very interested in Islam as opposed to really getting into Kaballah or the I Ching.
When a Christian is reborn, he usually does good deeds and begins witnessing about Jesus. A newly observant Jew might keep kosher, become Sabbath-observant or start studying Torah.
When a devotee of the religion of peace feels the spirit move him, he quite naturally starts planning ways to commit "mass murder on an unimaginable scale."
Again, like the London underground bombers of a year ago (who managed to kill 52 infidel commuters and injure over 700), those arrested last week all were native-born Muslims. Three were converts to Islam (like American Taliban John Walker Lind and shoe-bomber Richard Reid.) When was the last time a Catholic convert tried to blow something up?
In the course of BBC coverage (which makes our network news seem impartial, by comparison), I heard a local Muslim insist it was quite possible to be "100% British and 100% Muslim."
Well, the percentages vary. A story in the Sunday New York Times noted that 81% of British Muslims consider themselves Muslim first and British second or perhaps a distant third, after soccer-playing, explosives experts.
A Pew Global Attitudes Poll of British Muslims and non-Muslims, released in late June, showed two communities with radically divergent views. Among other pertinent details, we learned that:
* While 63% of Brits have a favorable opinion of Muslims (less than a third believe they're violent), a "significant majority" of the latter view Westerners as selfish, arrogant, greedy and immoral.
* Only 17% of the Prophet's British followers believe Arabs were involved in 9/11, compared to 48% of French Muslims. Imagine that Frenchmen who are more reality-connected than their British counterparts.
* 68% of British Muslims hold unfavorable opinions of Jews. For Muslim communities worldwide, tolerance is a one-way street.
* While British Muslims are inclined to think the worst of their countrymen, British infidels don't reciprocate. More Brits believe the West is responsible for terrorism (27%) than blame Muslims (25%). British Muslims were less ambivalent nearly half blamed the West for the mayhem.
In an open letter to Tony Blair, released after the foiled airplane attacks, 38 Muslim community groups in the UK (as well as 3 Muslim MPs and three peers) said British foreign policy in the Middle East gave "ammunition to extremists."
Of course, they went through the standard, ritualistic condemnation of terrorism. Then they instructed the prime minister: "The debacle of Iraq and now the failure to do more to secure an immediate end to the attacks on civilians (Lebanese, not Israeli) in the Middle East not only increases the risk to ordinary people in that region, it is also ammunition to extremists who threaten us all."
(Lest you think Lebanon had anything to do with the latest planned carnage, British authorities said it would take a least a year to hatch a plot this complex.)
Rationalizations are wonderful. Did the Versailles Treaty provide ammunition for the Nazis? (Does that excuse Auschwitz?) Did the Emancipation Proclamation arm the Klan? Do women's lingerie ads provide ammunition for rapists?
What about all of the centuries rampaging Muslims were killing infidels before: A) The American/British presence in Iraq B) The establishment of the state of Israel or C) Cartoons in Danish newspapers?
Winston Churchill, who encountered the business end of the scimitar in the Sudan as a young cavalry officer, observed in his 1899 book "The River War": "Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities. Thousands become brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step."
As Loren Gunther points out in Canada's National Post, it's not just the suicide bombers. It's not just the Nazi-clones of Hezbollah and Hamas. It's not just fascist Syria and fundamentalist Iran. It's not just the terrorists planting bombs and cutting off the heads of hostages in Iraq.
It's the mullahs and imams preaching hatred. It's the businessmen raising funds for jihad. It's the Arab media inculcating anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism 24/7. It's public opinion throughout the Muslim world (which fluctuates between paranoia and -- paranoia) that believes the effort to establish democracy in Iraq is a war on Islam.
And it's the apologists for holy war who equate Israel's fight for survival and the West's fight for civilization in Iraq with jihadists plotting to blow up 10 airliners.
This is terrorism's infrastructure. Its auxiliaries number not in the hundreds, or the millions, but the hundreds of millions.
But not all terrorist pimps in the UK are "100% British and 100% Muslim."
On my last day in London, I encountered a geriatric peacenik (with the look of a bulimic Bertram Russel) in a park across from the Houses of Parliament. Protesting with a gaggle of the like-minded mindless, he was wearing a T-shirt listing the countries "America has bombed" since whenever.
I pointed to his shirt and told him I was proud of each and every one. He called me a psychopath (probably not a term of endearment). I reminded him that 60 odd years ago, the US also bombed Germany and Japan, and asked if he objected to that too.
All of this transpired in the shadow of the massive statue of Winston Churchill which watches over Parliament.
Britain's great wartime leader cautioned another generation of appeasement-bent Brits: "If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."
The dismal prospect of those words coming to pass in another century, in another conflict, were in my thoughts as I departed London on another trans-Atlantic flight.
Muslim leaders strike wrong notes
August 15, 2006
'On a recent visit to the U.S.," claims a British member of Parliament in an op-ed published Monday in the Times of London, "I was shocked to learn that tens of thousands of Muslims left their adopted country after 9/11 - with more planning to continue the exodus because of increased domestic hostility. Even in Britain, fear has propelled some Muslims to build homes abroad, just in case."
Well, we're as shocked as Shalid Malik was to hear this news. Frightened Muslim immigrants by the tens of thousands are fleeing America and returning home? Who gave this bit of phony intelligence to Malik, a Labor member of Parliament?
Given Malik's propensity to view Muslims in Western societies as victims, it will perhaps not surprise you to learn that he is also one of the signatories to an open letter last weekend to Prime Minister Tony Blair warning that British foreign policy supplies "ammunition to extremists who threaten us all."
"We urge the Prime Minister to . . . change our foreign policy to show the world that we value the lives of civilians wherever they live and whatever their religion," concluded the letter, which was signed by many Muslim leaders in Britain.
To their credit, some British officials reacted with scorn. "No government worth its salt should allow its foreign policy to be dictated to under the threat of terrorism," said Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander. Even Malik himself now concedes that "the letter was open to several interpretations," not all of which he approves.
But the fact that so many Muslim leaders would sign a letter linking foreign policy to the potential for criminal acts is disturbing enough however they thought it would be taken.
Their tone-deaf reaction continued Monday during a meeting in Whitehall in which they proposed to members of Blair's cabinet that Britain allow Muslims to follow a separate sharia law governing marriage and family life.
"We are willing to co-operate but there should be a partnership," insisted the secretary general of the Union of Muslim Organizations of the United Kingdom and Ireland. "They should understand our problems, then we will understand their problems."
We're sure Syed Aziz Pasha didn't really mean to say that requiring Muslims to follow the same law as everyone else is a problem equivalent to the fact that a depressing number of radicalized youth want to blow their countrymen to bits. But he did come close to saying it - in yet another sign of the magnitude of Britain's dilemma.