Four young British Muslims in their twenties – a social worker, an IT specialist, a security guard and a financial adviser – occupy a table at a fast-food chicken restaurant in Luton. Perched on their plastic chairs, wolfing down their dinner, they seem just ordinary young men. Yet out of their mouths pour heated words of revolution. “As far as I’m concerned, when they bomb London, the bigger the better,” says Abdul Haq, the social worker. “I know it’s going to happen because Sheikh bin Laden said so. Like Bali, like Turkey, like Madrid – I pray for it, I look forward to the day.” “Pass the brown sauce, brother,” says Abu Malaahim, the IT specialist, devouring his chicken and chips. “I agree with you, brother,” says Abu Yusuf, the earnest-looking financial adviser sitting opposite. “I would like to see the Mujahideen coming into London and killing thousands, whether with nuclear weapons or germ warfare. And if they need a safehouse, they can stay in mine – and if they need some fertiliser [for a bomb], I’ll tell them where to get it.” His friend, Abu Musa, the security guard, smiles radiantly. “It will be a day of joy for me,” he adds, speaking with a slight lisp. As they talk, a man with a bushy beard, dressed in a jacket emblazoned with the word “Jihad”, stands and watches over them, handing around cups of steaming hot coffee. His real name is Ishtiaq Alamgir, but he goes by his adopted name, Sayful Islam, meaning “Sword of Islam”. He is the 24-year-old leader of the Luton branch of al-Muhajiroun, an extremist Muslim group with about 800 members countrywide, who regard Osama bin Laden as their hero.
I wonder if a reporter from the Standard plans to follow up with any of the peace-loving moderates quoted above for their reaction to today’s events. More importantly–I wonder if London’s police will be interviewing them as well.