It is truly beyond the realm of belief, but on March 11 this happened in Luton, England: two British citizens were arrested by the police because they dared protest against a crowd of foul-mouthed Muslim demonstrators who had assembled to shout hate slogans at a parade of British soldiers. In the word “demonstrators” we find “demon,” and the behavior of the young British-born Muslims, accompanied by a crowd of women in burqas, was demonic. Instead of apprehending the abusive radicals, whom some in Britain would regard as fifth-columnists, the police set about arresting two army parade supporters whose rage was, in the view of the nation, well placed.
As my esteemed colleague Ruth Dudley-Edwards observes in the Telegraph of March 11 and as I said in my article “This Shameful Ranting Must Stop,” the British government’s “pandering” to Islamic radicals has to be brought to an end. At the March 11 rally the Muslim protesters shouted abuse at the parade by the 2nd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment, recently back from Iraq, and carried posters covered in incendiary slogans: “Anglian Soldiers: Cowards, Killers”; “Muslims Rise Against British Oppression”; “Butchers of Basra.” Outraged residents of Luton began to shout counter-abuse at the Muslims as the soldiers marched by and two non-Muslims were arrested. The radicals were allowed to continue unhindered. This hideous scene was all the more unsettling to Britons because of the deaths of two soldiers and a policeman on duty in Northern Ireland in the same week, responsibility for which was attributed to two terror splinter groups, the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA.
During the height of the al-Aqsa Intifada in 2002, Rachel Ehrenfeld pointed out: “Students of terrorism can easily trace the IRA’s connections to the PLO and its numerous factions back to the 1970s and 1980s, when IRA and PLO operatives trained together in Libya and the Bekaa Valley. Today, IRA involvement is ongoing in Colombia, where al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad factions … are engaged in illegal arms and drug trafficking and money-laundering.”
She asserts that if Western governments would understand the peril of major international radical movements “we might then have a better chance to win the war on terrorism.”
The fact that the IRA is raising its ugly head again in the same timeframe as the angry protests against British military personnel in mainland Britain is worrying. One Muslim protester, Sayful Islam, leader of a group based in Luton, warned the media that this was just the tip of the iceberg. He told the Evening Standard that “the parade was the final insult. They have killed, maimed, and raped thousands. … They can’t come here and parade where there is such a Muslim community.”
The British government refers to Luton as a “magnet” for radicals; it is the hometown of Aftab Manzoor and Afzal Munir, who joined the Taliban and perished in Afghanistan. Luton was the hub of activity for the fertilizer bombers convicted in May 2007 and collectively sentenced to 95 years in prison; their ringleader, known as “Q,” was a Luton taxi driver with an interesting sideline in exporting personnel, money, and supplies to radical fighters in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Why Luton? It was the base of extremist imam Omar Bakri, known as the Tottenham ayatollah and now in exile in Lebanon. He is blamed for radicalizing scores of young British Muslims with his London School of Sharia, which he operates by video link. In the days following the protest, the organizers have been telling the media that there will be many more rallies whenever and wherever British soldiers may parade.
To top it all, one of the loudest protesters at the Luton army parade caught on camera by the Evening Standard was reported to be Jalal Ahmed, a baggage handler at Luton Airport! His beef at the rally was displayed on his poster: “British Government Terrorist Government.” The investigative reporter Andrew Gilligan has tracked down Azad Ali, head of the Muslim Safety Forum based at the notorious East London Mosque; it is supposed to be a link between the community and the police but Ali is reported to be one of the most explosive bloggers on Islamic Forum Europe’s “Between the Lines,” in which Gilligan quotes him as saying on November 20, 2008, “If I saw an American or British man wearing a soldier’s uniform inside Iraq, I would kill him because that is my obligation.”
The Luton protagonists were led by Anjem Choudary, a lawyer and Sharia judge who has run a string of radical groups in Britain with impunity. Emblazoned on the front page of the Evening Standard of March 13 is the headline, “I Want to See Flag of Allah Flying over Downing St.” Inside is a profile of Choudary, who has a powerful and far-reaching hold on many young British Muslims. He wants to see all British women in burqas and adulterers stoned to death. Think this is outlandish fringe poppycock? I remember seeing Choudary at a rally after 9/11 and thinking, “He has a powerful presence and will influence many.” Then came July 7, 2005, the liquid bomb plots, the fertilizer bombers, and the attempted terror atrocities in Haymarket and Glasgow Airport in 2007. Do these radical preachers inculcate young men with hatred of “the other?” I believe they do. What is intriguing about the interview conducted by Standard journalist David Cohen is that Choudary, an active Sharia judge, is reported to be on state benefits. When Cohen broaches the subject of his college years, his minder threatens the reporter and Choudary storms off, saying Cohen is a pedophile. I wonder how many claimants have a full-time bodyguard.
Recently Douglas Murray’s Centre for Social Cohesion issued a report about Asghar Bukhari, head of MPACUK (Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK), whose comments on Facebook it felt were sufficient to incite violence. This was referred to the police. Bukhari was quoted: “Any Muslim who fights against Israel and dies is a martyr and will be granted paradise.” Since his report Douglas Murray has been banned from chairing a debate on Islam by the London School of Economics “in the interest of public safety.” Hello? Who is the incendiary one here?
In its provocative blog, which I believe incites young Muslims to hatred and aggression, MPACUK offers this example of “public relations:” “Israel should be wiped off the map” and “Filthy scummy racist Zionists have no right to a land which belongs to the Palestinians.”
If one reads the pages and pages of unmoderated hate-blogging on MPACUK, one can see the pattern emerging of a major movement across Britain to encourage young Muslims to wage jihad, as in this comment: “We are not doormats who are going to sit down and take them walking over us.”
It is unbelievable but true, but as this article goes to print in mid-March MPACUK is asserting that the Luton anti-army rally was generated by the British security forces and that the radicals are “patsies.”
All I know is that there are a lot of angry Britons out there whose pain over the killing of three men in Northern Ireland has been compounded by the hideous spectacle of radical men and women ruining a homecoming parade for Iraq War veterans. When I was in Wendover last year an RAF man was in the queue with me at the train station. He told me his mother was fretting about his being out and about in uniform. I adore the sight of the multitude of uniforms on a stroll in Washington but am old enough to remember returning Vietnam War veterans being abused. At the height of the IRA attacks no British serviceman could be in uniform in a big city.
Now we have the added dimension of a minority culture in Britain failing to engage with British values but instead shouting vile abuse at soldiers on parade. This is a bad omen for British social cohesion; ex-radical Ed Husain warns us there will be “much worse in years to come.” I implore the British government to rethink its strategy of appeasement of radicals and agree with Husain as he quotes Charles Colson, chief counsel to President Nixon: “If you grab them by the balls, the hearts and minds will follow.”