Mumbai Highlights Britain's Threat from Within

"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.