“Pakistan Simply Has No Right to Exist.” Imagine if Pajamas Media had used that title for my article. All hell would have broken loose around the globe. Fatwas would have been flying everywhere.
Well, way back on January 3, 2001, a major editorial by Faisal Bodi appeared in the Guardian newspaper entitled, “Israel Simply Has No Right to Exist.”
At the time I thought I was seeing things or that my New Year’s tipple had damaged my faculties, but this was indeed the title of an article to welcome us into 2001. One of Bodi’s many pronouncements was: “Certainly there is no moral case for the existence of Israel.” I remember thinking, “Ah, so can we also say that there is no moral case for the existence of Pakistan, the creation of which resulted in one million deaths during partition in a fractured India of August 1947?”
After publication of Bodi’s article Anglo-Jewry did not take to the streets. Israelis did not trash the British embassy and march with inflammatory placards, burning British flags stoked by smoldering copies of the Guardian. Bodi did receive threats but he is still flourishing seven years down the line in 2008. In fact, the reaction in 2001, as usual from Anglo-Jewry, was restrained. What is so interesting about Bodi’s suggestion that Israel’s existence is a blot on the human landscape is that a nihilist view on Pakistan, if anyone dared articulate it, would cause an international uproar. Yet the mayhem caused by the perpetual instability of that nation, born within the same year as Israel, far exceeds the world turbulence perceived by the media as being generated by the tiny Jewish state.
Though the 2008 Mumbai attacks have not yet been officially connected to the alleged involvement of young British Muslims trained in Pakistan, I would like to talk about the widespread radical culture of Great Britain that proliferates as we breathe. On September 11, 2001, as a South African friend and I sat in my living room watching the events in the United States unfold, I said, “Mark my words: one day we will wake up and find ourselves under siege across Britain by 10,000 young British Muslims who have been churned up by the endless media frenzy about Israel, Zionists, and Jews, and they will lay siege to tube stations, libraries, hospitals, theaters, cinemas, hotels, and the whole infrastructure of Britain’s great metropolises.” My friend, who grew up in an Africa of a tumultuous era, did not call me a lunatic but agreed with my prophecy.
I continued by saying that the constant Israel-bashing and media projection of the image of a giant, imperialist, genocidal nation hell-bent on dominating the Middle East and the world was helping fuel the fury of British Muslims and non-Muslim followers in Parliament, the Lords, and in the trade unions and academia. In the summer of 2001, when riots had ensued in Northern England, young Muslims created a stir at the Test Cricket season when England captain Nasser Hussain beseeched them to support England and not Pakistan. Lord’s Cricket Ground saw the first ever near-riot and Stewart Speight, the groundsman at Headingley, was hospitalized with a damaged spleen after coming under attack in a pitch invasion. Many young Britons of Pakistani descent expressed to the media their anger about Palestine and British foreign policy; this made them reject the call by Hussain to support England.
I remember sitting on a train from Wimbledon in summer 2001 and reading a long letter in a newspaper from a young British-born Muslim who said he earned a fortune in a computer consultancy but delighted in chanting “Death to England!” in his parents’ dialect at Lord’s Cricket Ground. Readers may argue that young British Jews flock to see Israelis play football but their religious teaching is by British rabbis who, whether Reform, Liberal, Masorti, or Orthodox, never, ever incite anyone. In the end, they endeavor to be part of collective British culture.
Just before the July 7, 2005, bombings and July 21 attempted bombings in London I had written a piece in Current Viewpoint in which I had fretted that the wave of media obsession about evil Israel and America would fuel a major terror attack in the United Kingdom. Indeed, in May 2005 angry crowds of young Muslims and their supporters had descended on Grosvenor Square to protest alleged desecration of the Koran by the American military at Guantanamo Bay. In Pakistan Imran Khan was whipping up crowds to a fury against American policy. In Philadelphia at a World Affairs Council summit I told American Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that I feared an escalation of “young anger” in the wake of the Grosvenor Square demonstrations could lead to a major incident. On July 7 and July 21 in London this came to pass.
Jump to December 2005: I attended a “festival of Islamic culture” at the ExCel Centre in Canary Wharf, where 25,000 very angry young Muslims and their supporters were addressed by a succession of Israel-hating, America-loathing speakers, most of whom were as British as Fortnum & Mason. The barrister Michael Mansfield QC, the former hostage turned Islamic activist Yvonne Ridley (she refers to Israel as “that vile little nation”), and politician and champion of Muslim rights George Galloway gave incendiary speeches that left me in chills. When I wrote a long piece about this frightening event — sponsored, by the way, by the Metropolitan Police, Emirates Airlines, and Western Union UK — the entire article was published by Melanie Phillips on her site. She implored politicians and the government to take heed of what I had witnessed. The result: I was vilified by MPACUK (Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK) and received an anonymous email declaring me the “world’s number one Islamophobe, up there with Daniel Pipes and Melanie Phillips.” Perhaps it was pure coincidence, but a few days later my email inbox was wiped.
It is important to note that these events happened after the July 7, 2005, London bombings and that the people speaking at the ExCel Centre event had no compunction about stirring these young people up to feelings of anger against what Yvonne Ridley called the police of “Jackboot Britain.” I will never forget standing on the balcony of the ExCel Centre and showing a group of young, robe-clad, Anglo-Muslim boys one of the dockside buildings that had miraculously escaped the Luftwaffe in the Blitz. They asked me what the Luftwaffe was. One of them asked me who had been bombing London. This could have easily been a group of ill-informed, young non-Muslims, but I lamented the fact that these young men were being indoctrinated with hatred at this event whilst not having any sense of their native nation’s history.
Jump to summer 2008: my members’ magazine from the Overseas Press Club of America arrives in London with a cover picture of chaos in Pakistan. The issue is devoted to guidance on working in Pakistan as a journalist. The perilously porous borders, its turbulent political life since the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, and the fragility of the Musharraf regime in the wake of the attacks on judges had led to an atmosphere just short of a tinderbox. The murder of Wall Street Journal writer and expectant father Daniel Pearl in February 2002, when he well-meaningly traveled there to reach into the core of Muslim anger and write about it with candor, ended with him mutilated. Musharraf’s resignation was a defeat for the United States but the new government under Asif Zardari was expected to bring stability. Now we are on the brink of World War Three as the two atomic powers stare down the abyss of nuclear annihilation.
In the light of the Mumbai atrocities it appears that Pakistan is implicated. On December 1 it was reported on British television that the Jewish hostages in Chabad House had been singled out for torture. For a few hours it was reported that young men from Great Britain may have been the perpetrators of some of the acts of terror in the great Indian city. London’s Evening Standard newspaper of Friday, November 28, bore the headline, “Mumbai Siege Gunmen Are from Britain.” This would not surprise me and fits into my scenario formulated after 9/11. If one reads the pages of MPACUK and sees the venom spewed by its Zionist-obsessed blog, which in the past has included references to “Zionazis” and swastikas inserted in articles about Zionism (these were removed after complaints were lodged to the police and other organizations), one can see how rage is rampant in the streets of Leeds, Birmingham, London, Glasgow, and the rest of Britain. Here are a few samples of the MPACUK discourse (spelling and grammar left uncorrected): “… his zionist brotherly jews are running a apartheid state in Palestine,” “the reality is arabs lived with jews for 1300 years if they wanted they could have finished of the Jews in 1300 years but they were not cold blooded murderers ands theives like israelis …”
If we accept the revised reports on November 30 that the Mumbai gunmen were all native Pakistanis, it is still of considerable worry that the constant stream of media invective against Israel, Zionism, Americans, and indeed against Great Britain is generating a potential Jihadi army-from-within that may be uncontainable. Amongst the mountain of emails going back and forth in my inboxes and outboxes is one from Manchester, England: “How many Mumbai-type scenarios here in the UK will it take until they get wise to the vipers we have in our bosom? — Lani Rosen, Manchester, UK”
On BBC Question Time on Thursday, November 27, notwithstanding the murder unfolding in Mumbai — which could so easily be London or Manchester or Glasgow — the panel and audience still seemed blissfully unaware of the dangers around us in Britain; one got the impression we must sit down and talk to aggrieved groups. Stuff and nonsense.
So, what is the solution? Young Muslims need be led away from radicalism; imams who come here from abroad need to be vetted or deported. The “blame game” of seeing Kashmir, Palestine, and the Gulf as reasons to attack Americans, Jews, and Britons must stop. In the English-language UAE daily The National Dubai businessman Sultan al-Qassemi rails against the Mumbai attacks. In his article, “It’s Not Enough for Muslims to Be Revolted by Terror,” Al-Qassemi argues that nothing can excuse the terrorists’ “bloodthirsty savagery,” and that “the Islamic states must launch a psychological preemptive strike against [them], and — more importantly — [against] those who encourage them.”
Britain needs to put into effect the much-derided time extension on detaining terror suspects. The police must, in turn, not waste taxpayers’ money arresting MPs; Tory Damien Green was, to most sensible Britons’ astonishment, detained this week, accused of leaking to the media details of the government’s shortcomings in dealing with terrorists. Unbelievable but true.
Britain, wake up.