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After Woolwich: Status Quo, or UK Reconsidering Islamist Threat?

Since the attack, talk of the "tiny minority" and "true" Islam is in vogue again.

Mike McNally


May 31, 2013 - 10:29 am

Even more so than with previous acts of Islamist terror, the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in London last week was intended to shock and outrage the British people, to provoke a backlash against Muslims the attackers hoped would start the inter-communal violence Islamists have fomented across the Middle East and elsewhere. As one of the killers told Cub Scout leader Ingrid Loyau-Kennett when she bravely confronted them: “We want to start a war in London tonight.”

So far, however, the backlash has been little more than a spasm. In the most serious incident, two former soldiers were charged with trying to firebomb a mosque. There have been several other acts of vandalism against mosques, reports of Muslims being harassed in the streets, and marches by the racist soccer hooligans of the English Defence League. Meanwhile, two war memorials in London were defaced with Islamist graffiti.

Listening to the politicians, community leaders, and certain media outlets, you’d think the threat posed by the Woolwich attack to “community cohesion” — an abstraction that Britain’s political elites spend much of their time fretting about these days — was of more concern to them than the attack itself.

Beyond the condemnation of Drummer Rigby’s murder, two themes have dominated the official response. The first: an insistence that the attack had little, if anything, to do with “real” or “true” Islam. Prime Minister David Cameron called the killing “a betrayal of Islam,” and added: “There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act.”

The second theme: the ideology of the killers is shared by only a handful of extremists. To this end, politicians have been showering praise on moderate Muslim leaders for condemning the killings without reservation.

Both of these claims are dishonest and dangerous. That expressions of condemnation from British Muslims for the beheading of a British soldier have been greeted with a mixture of relief and gratitude tells much about the poverty of the debate over Islamic extremism here.

The greatest threat to “community cohesion” is the denial of the obvious: while most British Muslims were appalled by last week’s killing, the killing did in fact have a great deal to do with a particular ideology, one shared to some degree by many thousands of British Muslims and tens of millions of Muslims around the world.

Listening to Cameron and others, it was remarkable to see how many white, Christian, or atheist politicians fancy themselves scholars of Islam — they feel qualified to divine the “true” version of the religion from “perverted” forms.

As much as they might want to believe otherwise, there’s no objectively “true” interpretation of Islam, in Britain or anywhere else. As Douglas Murray writes in the Spectator: since Islam’s founding, a battle has raged “between those who read their religion literally and those who read it metaphorically.” The violent extremists make a plausible case that peace-loving co-religionists are perverting Islam.

In their eagerness to absolve Islam of any responsibility for the Woolwich atrocity, British Muslims, sympathetic media commentators, and nervous politicians have been quoting verse 5:32 of the Koran until they’re blue in the face.

The extract they like to cite:

Whosoever killeth a human being … it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.

Note the ellipsis after “ human being.” It’s there because the writer or speaker invariably removes this section of the verse — a rather important one.

The unabridged passage:

Whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind.

At his site Jihad Watch, PJ Media contributor Robert Spencer caught Mehdi Hasan, a left-wing journalist and a Muslim, trying this same ruse.

For a more detailed analysis of verse 5:32, see this post. The author notes that, far from being an injunction against murder, the verse “grants Muslims license to kill non-Muslims under a surprisingly broad range of circumstances.”

You don’t have to look far to find other Koranic exhortations to murder: the Verse of the Sword, depending on the translation, commands believers to “slay the infidels wherever you find them.”

Of course, most Muslims are not driven to kill by verse 5:32, any more than Christians feel the urge to pluck their eye out because it has caused them to sin. But you only have to look to the Middle East and to Pakistan and Afghanistan, where every month hundreds of Muslims are murdered by other Muslims for religious reasons. Or to Africa, where thousands of Christians have been killed by Muslims recent years. Or consult the latest Pew poll on Muslim attitudes which found large majorities in several Islamic countries favoring the death penalty for apostasy. And consider the thousands of ”honor” killings carried out by Muslims every year. Killing in the name of Islam is perfectly acceptable to a considerable minority of Muslims, at the very least. It’s hard to plausibly argue that the brutal killing in Woolwich runs counter to Islamic teachings.

And what, for that matter, of the millions more Muslims worldwide who might be sincerely opposed to violence, but who see nothing wrong with women being treated as second-class citizens? Or who practice or condone female genital mutilation or forced marriage? Have they too strayed from the “true” path of Islam?

As for that claim that terrorist attacks are supported by only a tiny minority of British Muslims: according to the intelligence service MI5, 312 people were convicted of offenses related to Islamist terrorism between September 11, 2001, and September 30, 2012; to that number you can add 24 Muslims who have been convicted this year in connection with four separate plots, among the dozens foiled in recent years. The security services say “thousands” of suspects are being monitored, and hundreds of British Muslims have gone to train in terrorist camps overseas, or to fight in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

Also, opinion polls have shown that more than a tiny minority of British Muslims are sympathetic to terror attacks in the UK.

Some commentators have pointed out that Islamist terrorism remains a rarity in the UK; Drummer Rigby’s killing was indeed the first jihadist murder in London since the 7/7 subway and bus bombings in 2005. However, if on other occasions the security services had dropped the ball as they did with the Woolwich killers (both men were known to MI5; one was arrested in Kenya in 2010 on suspicion of attempting to join Islamist fighters in Somalia), we could have been talking about several dozen more Britons killed in attacks in the past few years.

After the 7/7 attacks, the then-Labour government launched a series of initiatives to counter Islamic extremism and the radicalization of young Muslims in mosques, universities, and prisons. But little if any progress has been made. A mishmash of often contradictory programs has failed to distinguish between genuinely moderate Muslim organizations and those that are interested only in grievance-mongering, or are merely fronts for more radical groups.

Meanwhile, every proposal to introduce new anti-terrorism measures is met with resistance from left-wing and libertarian politicians, civil liberties groups, and human rights lawyers. Attempts to deport foreign-born hate preachers such as the notorious Abu Qatada and other terror suspects have been thwarted by judges sitting not in Britain, but in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. (The UK did manage to deport another extremist cleric, Abu Hamza, after a lengthy legal battle, and he’s now America’s problem.)

While attacks such as last week’s are the most visible and extreme manifestation of Islamism in Britain, focusing only on terrorism steers the debate away from more widespread and insidious problems with sections of the Muslim community.

Last year I wrote about the horrific case of young girls being raped and abused by gangs of Pakistani Muslim men. Several men have since been jailed over similar “grooming” cases, and more cases are being investigated. Earlier this year I wrote about Muslim gangs patrolling the streets of London to threaten homosexuals, to harass people for drinking alcohol, and to harass women for being “inappropriately” dressed. Several opinion polls have found large numbers of Muslims in favor of sharia law being introduced in Britain, and underground sharia courts are operating in several British cities.

So: we have a tiny minority of jihadists, another tiny minority of honor killers, another of thugs enforcing Islamic diktats on the streets, and so on. When you add all these tiny minorities together, you end up with a rather large minority. For every Islamist who wants to kill people, there are thousands more who display open contempt for British society and its values of equality and tolerance. If these everyday acts of extremism aren’t tackled, Muslims of all persuasions will become increasingly disconnected from the rest of society, allowing the most dangerous forms of radicalism to flourish.

If politicians, moderate Muslims, and other influential figures don’t loudly and repeatedly condemn every kind of extremism, the problems will only get worse. Britain’s Muslim population is approaching three million — or five percent of the kingdom. On current trends it’s expected to double within 20 years, with Islam expected to overtake Christianity as the UK’s dominant religion within ten. Around one in ten Britons under the age of 25 is Muslim, and extremist views are more prevalent among young Muslims than among Muslims as a whole.

But there’s no sign that things are about to change. For all the stirring words in the past week, you get the impression that as long as Islamist terror attacks remain a rarity, Britain’s political elites and the broader liberal-left establishment are happy to put up with a little extremism in order not to jeopardize the greater multicultural project.

After all, the sons of politicians don’t have to take their lives in their hands traveling on public transport through immigrant ghettos, and the daughters of well-off civil liberties campaigners and human rights lawyers are in no danger of being “groomed” by gangs of Muslim men.

Eventually, the killers will get through again. And, just as they did last week, the British public will lay flowers, and politicians will vow that the extremists will never win — and then we’ll go back to avoiding the issues. What the politicians don’t seem to understand is that the Islamists’ definition of winning is different than ours — in the absence of an outright victory over their enemies, they’ll settle for a few more decades of bloodshed and strife. It’s true that they won’t win, but there’s no sign of them losing.

Mike McNally is a journalist based in Bath, England. He posts at PJ Tatler and at his own blog Monkey Tennis, and tweets at @notoserfdom. When he's not writing about politics he writes about Photoshop.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
The EDL isn't racist, nor anything similar to football hooligans.

The EDL is a grass roots organization of ordinary people that oppose the current inaction of Government in the face of creeping Islamic aggression.

Get your facts right instead of regurgitating the garbage that the media and politicians espouse.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The difference between 'moderate' muslims and 'radical' muslims is this: The radical will carve your heart out of your chest whenever and wherever they can - the moderates? Well those would be the ones handing the radical a knife to do the carving - and cheers the radical on - even in their silence. Lets not BS ourselves - islam is a scourge upon all civilized people of this earth. Islam has declared war on the civilized world - we need to 'answer the bell' or wither away as the 'infection' grows.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"while most British Muslims were appalled by last week’s killing, "

Why do you say the above? Was there some big march by "most British Muslims" against radical Islam? Was there some sort of protest by "most British Muslims"

I haven't heard it and I haven't seen it. It is my belief that you are dead wrong and that "most British Muslims" either secretly or publicly applauded the murder of Lee Rigby.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (17)
All Comments   (17)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
islam isn't a race. The EDL is not racist and neither was Winston Churchill.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The EDL isn't racist, nor anything similar to football hooligans.

The EDL is a grass roots organization of ordinary people that oppose the current inaction of Government in the face of creeping Islamic aggression.

Get your facts right instead of regurgitating the garbage that the media and politicians espouse.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Just wanted to reiterate Miss Lolly and DavidAB's support for the EDL.

Here is a video of EDL leader Tommy Robinson immediately after the Islamic beheading in Woolwich. Let the man speak for himself. See if you agree that this man has legitimate grievances.

"We're justified in our anger."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Muslims can't compete with Brits any more within the U.K. than they can in their home countries. Add to that them being told the problem is not themselves but U.K. racism and it's a riot waiting to happen. This will cease being a problem on the day Egypt and Pakistan lead the world in tech and social reforms, and everyone wants to move there. In the meantime the U.K. will continue to sink into a bureaucratic dictatorship led by no one and a second rate nation.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Calling the EDL racists is moronic. That's just what the left does when they know they don't have a valid argument. They are the only people that have come out into the open to fight for their country and you all vilify them for it.

One thing I have never understood about countries in Europe is their willingness to import people that will never assimilate in their countries. Who now openly attack the natives and you all sit back and call people racists for objecting.

We know about that here in the states - which is where you learned it. It means "SHUT UP!" Why is it racist to object when your country and culture is being purposely undermined and yet nobody ever speaks of filling Africa or the Middle East with Europeans - Heaven Forbid! THAT'S racist!

The west is commiting suicide because they've lost their Judeo-Christian moorings and islam is filling the vacuum it's left. You're churches are empty because your preachers ignore God's word and try to please all the people all the time. There are no boundaries. Look at your streets - they are chocked with butts pointing to the sun outside of mosques. Islam is taking over your country and you don't have the backbone to stop them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thank you, Mike McNally.

This is the most sensible article yet on this subject of our barbarous Muslim Problem.

Here's a question from an 81 year old American who remembers his mother sending a "Bundle For Britain" parcel of clothes and chocolates during the Blitz-terror wreaked by the Nazi Germans:

Where is that former British Grit-Spirit today?

We Americans are today showing none of the visceral anger towards these Muslim butchers who've killed so many Americans on our shores which we showed towards the Japanese butchers of 1942.

What's happened to us? - to in effect - "turn the other throat"?

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A lot of people mention the Koran and all the peaceful entries found in it. You have to take it in chronological order though instead of the way it is written. Most of the peaceful entries are at the start and are superseded by later passages. In other words, when Islam was started and still weak everything was peace and love, once it got to the point where it was stronger it got a lot more violent.

Just reading the Koran though is not enough. You have to look at the Hadaths. The "What would Mohammad do?" parts. To be totally authentic the Koran must be written and recited in proper Arabic which most Muslims don't understand. All they have to go by is what the Imams tell them it says and I would bet most of them don't know what they are saying either. Then there are the Hadaths which are the actions and sayings of Mohammad. That is what most of the Islamic law, the Sharia, are based on. And he was anything but all peace and love.

From what I can tell from my albeit limited reading, Mohammad was orphaned early in life, grew up with a chip on his shoulder, lucked into a rich widow that was looking for a bit of the young stuff and was willing to finance his delusions while setting him up in her business. From there he gathered a small gang of followers that made their living raiding caravans and killing anyone that spoke against them. This band grew into a small army and Mohammad turned into a bloodthirsty tyrant that said he was following Allah's will. He was so good at it his empire grew and after his death his followers continued in his name and grew until we have what is now Islam seeking to rule all aspects of the life of everyone in the world.

Did I miss anything?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Here in PJM the case was convincingly made that Mo and the whole islamic thing was made up while the arabs were on their imperialistic colonization period. Just a political ideology dressed up with religion to keep the conquered in line.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The difference between 'moderate' muslims and 'radical' muslims is this: The radical will carve your heart out of your chest whenever and wherever they can - the moderates? Well those would be the ones handing the radical a knife to do the carving - and cheers the radical on - even in their silence. Lets not BS ourselves - islam is a scourge upon all civilized people of this earth. Islam has declared war on the civilized world - we need to 'answer the bell' or wither away as the 'infection' grows.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

An interesting article from the EDF page

“We absolutely condemn what happened in Woolwich, but it had nothing to do with us. It was an appalling act of terror - but it wasn't "Islamic" in any way. I wish it wasn't described like that, because sadly people will now start to blame Muslims." - Sikander Saleemy, secretary of Braintree Mosque

At the height of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland when the IRA were shooting and bombing both military and civilian targets, the Roman Catholic Church loudly condemned their acts. The Protestant churches also condemned the shootings and bombings carried out by the Ulster Defence Force/Ulster Freedom Fighters when they started retaliating. The Catholic Church, the Protestant church, individual Catholics and Protestants were disgusted by the atrocities that ultimately resulted in the violent deaths of 3,466 people. Both sides were shamed at the death and destruction, but neither of the churches or their followers felt guilty or responsible. Why not? The answer is simple: there is not one single word in the teachings of Jesus Christ that could by any stretch of the imagination be interpreted as justifying, or even excusing such acts.

Since the 9/11 attack in New York there have been 20,934 documented terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic extremists. Why? Again, the answer is simple. There are 164 verses in the Qur’an that don’t simply justify or excuse violence but positively demand it.

[2.190] ...fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you...

[2.191] And kill them wherever you find them…

[2.216] Fighting is enjoined on you...

[8.12] ...make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them…

But it isn’t just the Qur’an. As the Qur’an says, “You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example for him who hopes in Allah and the Last Day, and who remembers Allah much” (33:21). The Prophet of Islam, Mohammed, was personally responsible for the decapitation of between 600 and 900 unarmed Jews of the Banu Qurayza tribe in 627, and whatever the prophet of Islam does is an example to be followed by all good Muslims who want to go to heaven because Muhammad is the "perfect model for human life".

Radicalisation is not the source of violence, but it does direct it towards us, the non-Muslims. Islam calls us "non-believers", "infidels" and “kafirs”. We are demonised, violence against us is quietly excused, and we become legitimate targets in the eyes of Islamic extremists.

Certainly, we must ensure that the same doesn’t happen to ordinary decent Muslims. But we have reached a stage where even simply acknowledging the link between Islam and terrorism makes you an ‘Islamophobe’ or even a racist. No wonder David Cameron refers to ‘Islamist extremism’, as if Islamic extremism can only come in one form and is easily distinguished from more mainstream forms of Islam. If that were the case then we’d have dealt with Islamic extremism years ago. The problem is that Islamic extremism has deep roots and cannot simply be brushed aside as if it were ‘nothing to do with Islam’.

Unless the streets of our cities are to be littered with the bodies of those butchered in the name of Allah, the Islamic community must accept and acknowledge its share of the blame and its responsibility to confront and defeat extremist attitudes. Unfortunately there’s ample evidence to suggest that the Islamic community is doing not nearly enough. For instance, why are British mosques continuing to host extremist preachers? Why do a succession of polls show considerable support for the barbarism of Sharia Law? And why are dangerous beliefs – such as the supposed perfect example of Mohammed – still part of mainstream interpretations of Islam?

And what about our government? Our leaders must start addressing the consequences of their policy of unrestricted immigration or there is a very real danger that they will face the “backlash” we all fear.

For our part, the EDL is committed to continuing its campaign of peaceful protest. Despite what some of our more dishonest critics might allege, our aim isn’t to ‘exploit’ Islamic extremism, but only to see it defeated.

As long as we’re willing to entertain the idea that Islamic extremism has nothing to do with Islam we have little chance of defeating it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
marches by the racist soccer hooligans of the English Defence League.

You are part of the problem.
The EDF is a democratic multiracial organization that tries to defend the Freedom of all.

You shouldn't write on this forum.

I protest with PJM for admitting on this forum an agent of the islamic invasion.

And it is not "islamist" threat. it is islamic threat.
It is not a problem of "extremists", it is a thousands of years old problem.

End of communications between me and you.

Warning to all: this is an agent of the invasion.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Western citizens and politicians won't even defend themselves in their own cities. They prefer to believe in some fairy tale and hope for the best from the fanatics that seek their destruction.

If Islam is going to bring war to your city would you rather support muslim deportation, muslim incarceration, or muslim domination? Not making a choice will bring about muslim domination. Stop wasting time preaching to the choir or exhorting moderate muslims to do something. They have been doing something. They have been moving moving next door to you and taking welfare benefits while they prepare for war against you. They have no right to live anywhere but their home countries until they make accomodation for non-muslims in their home lands.

The paralyzing fantasy that we don't have to do anything now because if the situation deteriorates we can always do something then is poison. If you do nothing but yammer, even as they slaughter your neighbor in the street, you will not be able to act when it's your turn on the sharp end of the knife. The Europeans have sat on their rear-ends while Leftism ruined their countries and they are almost certain to sit on their rear-ends while islam ruins their cities.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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