I was on my way to the Guildhall Library today and, emerging from London Bridge station as I crossed the bus stands an African man, probably a Nigerian, approached me and said “As-salamu alaykum.” I asked him what he meant, and he said that he thought he recognised me from the mosque. I told him I wasn’t a Moslem but that I had Moslem friends and he wished me well. He was a far cry from the wide-eyed Islamic fanatic with a Kalashnikov slung over his shoulder.
I wrote the above words on August 12, 1999; it seemed to me to be an off-the-cuff refutation of the Islamic menace peddled by extremists of various political and religious persuasions. Two years and more later, that Islamic menace is being peddled by a great many more people, and sadly, there is some justification for it.
In the wake of the terrible massacres of Sabra and Shatilla, a British MP - whose name now eludes me - decided to make a play for the Jewish vote. We will not, he said, allow this tragedy to be exploited by bigots or to increase anti-Semitism in this country. Or words to that effect.
We all know that Organised Jewry is a powerful entity, although only the very brave or the very foolish will admit so publicly. We all know that, in the words of Joseph Sobran, the mere charge of anti-Semitism means trouble. There is little doubt that the MP in question did too, and even less doubt that he was rewarded handsomely for this public display of bootlicking, but I couldn’t help thinking that this was a crassly insensitive thing for anyone, Jew or Gentile, to say at that particular point in time.
Even back in the early 80s, the terrible suffering of the Palestinian people had been thoroughly documented by both the anti-Zionist left and rogue elements in the Western media. After the massacres in the camps we were faced with upwards of two thousand totally innocent people dead, and the majority of Palestinians still living under military occupation, and in squalor, and all this creep could think about was condemning in advance a possible outbreak of synagogue desecrations and obscene graffiti.
Along with this Gentile MP, Jewish leaders have by and large adopted the same attitude throughout the second half of the 20th Century. Throughout history, Jewish outrages have been met with silence or token condemnation followed by howls of anti-Semitism and demands for further curbs on free speech and laws to protect this poor, persecuted, powerless minority. It is no exaggeration to say that throughout history Jews, and especially Jewish leaders, have been their own worst enemy.
This trait though is by no means peculiar to Jews, to some extent it is true of almost every racial, ethnic, or religious group, no less so Moslems, as well as police officers and sundry power brokers.
The horrific acts of mass murder of September 11, 2001, especially in New York, sent shock waves around the world. As many commentators have pointed out, the world is now a different place, and always will be. The reaction of the vast majority of the leaders of Islamic nations was typical of those of all Western and other leaders; even Iran and Syria condemned the attacks. The outrage was just too great, too shocking for them to do anything else, but sadly this was not the case with rank and file Moslems everywhere.
In the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the World Trade Center, we witnessed the equally horrific spectacle of so-called Moslems dancing in the streets. In Occupied Palestine, while Arafat donated blood in a symbolic gesture, lesser mortals handed out sweets or fired in the air in salute. Similar spectacles were witnessed in Pakistan, and there have been reliable reports of such obscene celebrations (minus the gunfire) from all over Europe, including Britain, and even within the United States itself.
It would be nice, or rather not quite so horrific, if this sort of obscenity were confined to the tiny lunatic fringe which can be found within Islam as within every religion or ideology. Sadly though this was not the case. Many of those celebrating this outrage do appear to have been young and impressionable, but not all of them.
By and large the reaction of the Western media and the Western establishment has been remarkably restrained. There are those, it is true, who out or ignorance or from baser motives, have attempted to portray Islam as a Trojan horse within Western civilisation, but this was clearly one of the objectives of the terrorists themselves, to sow distrust and fear between neighbours so as to radicalise Moslems in the polarisation of the Moslem and non-Moslem communities that would follow.
Unfortunately, the restraint of Western leaders has not been matched by those of the leaders of the Western Islamic establishments. After expressing shock and outrage, their reaction has been to call upon Western governments, particularly the British government, to strengthen the already Draconian race relations legislation to protect Moslems from the expected Islamophobic backlash.
Let us make no mistake about it, the recently coined word Islamophobia does have a factual basis, there is widespread ignorance of, if not prejudice against, the religion of Islam, though curiously and in contrast with most other prejudices, most of this is in the media and amongst the otherwise more educated members of Western society. And there have been isolated, though quite appalling, incidents of gratuitous violence against both Moslems and those perceived to be Moslems in the wake of the twin towers atrocity. These retaliations include murder (in the United States), and in Britain an attack on an Afghani mini-cab driver which left him paralysed from the neck down.
But deplorable though each and every one of these attacks may be, they are, unfortunately, to be expected, and have nothing whatsoever to do with Islamophobia or racism anymore than the ongoing reprisals between the two white tribes of Northern Ireland or the occasional attacks on Jews in Europe by other Islamic. extremists. These attacks are what has been called the hate that hate produced, a phrase coined after a 1959 telecast about Malcolm X.
Calls by Moslems for the further erosions of the free speech of their perceived enemies will bring only more hatred down on their heads. The race relations legislation in Britain has been largely the result of Jewish influence, wire-pulling and mischief-making. Jews can and do scream that such claims amount to rabid anti-Semitism, but an examination of the political record renders all such protestations academic. Organised Jewry themselves acknowledge that one of their own, Lord Lester, is the architect of this legislation.
The idea that a government - any government - can legislate against hate is in any case absurd. Does dragging extremists into court at the behest of Organised Jewry every time they open their mouths make them hate Jews, or anyone else, any less? If Islamic leaders take this route, they will become as hated as Jewish leaders, and rightly so. What then can and should they do?
Although condemnation of the twin towers atrocity has been forthcoming, it has not, in most cases, been loud enough, indeed most such condemnation has been more pragmatic than sincere.
Whatever the actual motives of Mohamed Atta and his fellow kamikaze murderers, this was an outrage that was perpetrated in the name of Islam. That cannot, must not, be tolerated.
Far more serious though is the existence of a real Trojan horse within the Islamic communities of the West. Granted that these people are no more Islamic than the IRA is Christian, (as at least one Islamic spokesman has pointed out), they are real and they are there. The evidence is overwhelming that the September 11th outrage was both well financed and extremely well planned.
Talk about sleeper cells operating in much the same way that IRA sleeper cells have operated in the past is not lurid speculation. Atta himself is known to have inquired about crop spraying aircraft, obviously with a view to using them to spread biological and/or chemical agents, and perhaps kill hundreds of thousands or even millions of innocent people, including Moslems. We know that others like him are out there; although we don’t know the actual resources they have, we have all seen at first hand exactly what they are capable of.
It is all too easy to portray a small group of dissidents, self-style freedom fighters, as David to the American Goliath. After all, Bin Laden is only one man, and he has the greatest super-power in history on the run. But the same perverted logic can be used in defence of any child murderer or serial killer at large. Would anyone in his right mind argue that a man who murders innocent people at random, perhaps women or children, or Moslems, is some sort of hero because he is one man pitted against the might of the FBI and an army of detectives and forensic scientists backed by virtually unlimited funding?
In any case, Bin Laden is certainly no pauper, rather he is wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice. Ironically, he was at one time a genuine freedom fighter, a man who put his life on the line defending an Islamic nation against the might of world communism. But what has he become now? If Bin Laden and his followers were genuinely concerned for the welfare of the Palestinian people and other Moslems, there are countless acts of simple humanity he and they could have performed. Did they?
How many of Bin Laden’s dollars have been used to found or fund hospitals or charities such as Medical Aid for Palestinians? Has he invested a cent in businesses or infrastructure in the Occupied Territories? Has he provided scholarships for impoverished Moslems? In the aftermath of the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan, Bin Laden could have used his not inconsiderable influence to lobby for the reform of the corrupt, debt-based financial system. Did he? Did he use his finance and influence for the benefit of the people of Afghanistan? Ironically, even as they were bombing that sad country, the damned Yankees were shipping millions of dollars of aid to its desperate people. Is it the United States or the Bin Ladens of this world who are the real Great Satans?
Bin Laden’s bequest to the world is Islamic terrorism rather than Islamic economics. Mohamed Atta and his fellow murderers had so little regard for human life that they sacrificed themselves for their evil cause. What do men who exhibit such a total lack of self-worth really care about any other human beings, be they Moslems or anything else? The twin towers atrocity had absolutely nothing to do with concern for the people of Palestine or for the people of anywhere else. And Mohamed Atta, his fellow murderers and their network, are responsible for every so-called Islamophobic incident and the current suffering of the people of Afghanistan, and of other Moslems and non-Moslems across the world in its wake. Atta and his team were not wide-eyed fanatics, but evil men. They were also cold, calculating, cunning and highly intelligent. They would have known that an atrocity of this magnitude could not be allowed to go unpunished or unavenged.
According to the October 2001 issue of Searchlight magazine, there were about 400 reports a year of anti-Moslem attacks in the United States. There were over 350 in the wake of September 11th ranging from verbal threats to murders. Moslem women have been targeted especially because of their high visibility. There have since been riots between Christians and Moslems in Nigeria which have left many dead, and many other fatalities. This too is the legacy of Mohamed Atta. Every death, every act of human suffering, every act of inhumanity perpetrated in the wake of the twin towers atrocity is traceable directly to the men who carried it out, and to those who financed, aided, abetted and encouraged them.
These men may call themselves Moslems, but their particular brand of Islam has absolutely nothing to do with that preached by the Prophet Muhammed, rather they share a common bond with Christian and Jewish extremists who exhibit a similar mentality. Just as the Christian Identity movement preaches that non-whites are mud people and that Jews are the spawn of the Devil, just as Zionist rabbis pervert Talmudic texts to justify the subjugation and oppression of the Palestinians, so do the followers of Osama Bin Laden dehumanise non-believers, and to a larger extent whites, Westerners, and particularly Americans, for no better reason than that these people exist.
The damage done by the twin towers atrocity goes far beyond America, far beyond the Islamic world. From now on, all Moslems everywhere will be treated with suspicion. Again, this has nothing to do with Islamophobia. A Westerner can no more recognise a terrorist than a woman can recognise a rapist. So as a Moslem you can expect to be met with the same fear and suspicion that a man might meet from a woman in a strange and isolated place. Don’t blame this on Islamophobia, don’t blame it on bigotry, or on prejudice; it is none of these things, it is self-preservation.
But there is more, already there is talk of further restrictions on civil liberties. This will take many forms. In the United States it was customary for travellers to turn up at the airport the same way they would turn up at a bus station in Britain. But not since September 11th. Now travel will be slower and more expensive. And if you have a brown skin, wear Arabic dress or carry a copy of the Koran, it may also be more bureaucratic. Don’t blame George W. Bush; blame Mohamed Atta.
If you want to send money abroad, expect to face a lot of embarrassing questions. If you carry a large amount of cash on you and are stopped in the street, don’t be surprised if it is confiscated and you spend several hours or days in a police cell before you can convince the authorities that you are a businessman rather than an Al-Qa’eda money launderer. Don’t complain to your neighbour; your incovenience is the price he pays for his safety.
Most Draconian of all is the proposed introduction of identity cards. Unlike identity cards in the past, these will be computerised and will log your every movement, your every transaction, even your every thought. Don’t complain to the ACLU; lawyers don’t want to be blown up by terrorists either.
The collateral damage done by the twin towers atrocity can never be repaired; thousands of your fellow human beings have been wiped off the face of the Earth, but the legacy of hatred can be overcome. September 11th took Western intelligence agencies totally by surprise, certainly the method of the attacks, but someone out there knew, and knows, where and when the next such attacks will come from. The Al-Qa’eda Network has now as good as admitted responsibility for the attacks, although their actual agents in the West remain largely anonymous. These maniacs, whoever they are, wherever they are, must be stopped before they can perpetrate another outrage in your name. They and their kind must be given no quarter by any Moslem; it is not a question of divided loyalties; no Moslem can serve both Islam and Bin Laden anymore than he can serve both Allah and Satan.
Unless and until the cancer of the Al-Qa’eda Network and other Islamic terrorist organisations are expunged from the face of the Earth, Moslems should not be surprised at rising incidents of Islamophobia, and any Moslem who gives these monsters aid and comfort in any way, manner, shape or form, brings the wrath of the righteous down on his head, and on the heads of his brother and sister Moslems worldwide.
Associate Member Islamic Party of Britain,
November 8, 2001
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