Mumbai Highlights Britain's Threat from Within
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.