London Bridge Is Falling Down

"Who says you own Britain anyway? Britain belongs to Allah" - Muslim activist Anjem Choudary who praised the 9/11 attack as "magnificent".

In the June 2007 issue of Vainty Fair Christopher Hitchens revisited the neighborhood of his youth, Finsbury Park, London. He writes that it has now become one of the breeding grounds for a new phenomenon - the British jihadist - and he asks how did a nation move from cricket and fish-and-chips to burkas and shoe-bombers in a single generation? Hitchens goes on to say:

Until he was jailed last year on charges of soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred, a man known to the police of several countries as Abu Hamza al-Masri was the imam of the Finsbury Park Mosque. Overnight guests at his mosque's sleeping quarters have included Richard Reid, the man in whose honor we now all have to take off our shoes at the airport, and Zacarias Moussaoui, the missing team member of September 11, 2001. Other visitors included Ahmed Ressam, arrested for trying to blow up LAX for the millennium, and Nizar Trabelsi, a Tunisian who planned to don an explosive vest and penetrate the American Embassy in Paris. On July 7, 2005 ("7/7," as the British call it), a clutch of bombs exploded in London's transport system. It emerged that one of the suicide murderers had been influenced by the preachings of Abu Hamza, as had two of those attempting to replicate the mission two weeks later. Britain's former head of domestic intelligence, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller said "over 100,000 of our citizens consider the July 2005 attacks in London justified." I find myself haunted by a challenge that was offered on the BBC by a Muslim activist named Anjem Choudary: a man who has praised the 9/11 murders as "magnificent" and proclaimed that "Britain belongs to Allah." When asked if he might prefer to move to a country which practices Shari'a, he replied: "Who says you own Britain anyway?" A question that will have to be answered one way or another.

What Hitchens is saying should come as no surprise to anyone. In November 1995 the Electronic Telegraph World News reported that a British-educated economics lecturer, Ramadan Shallah, became the leader of the militant Islamic Jihad movement. In March 1996 the same organization reported that Britain had become the undisputed overseas fund-raising and educational headquarters for Hamas. In August 1997 an Israeli security chief flew to London to investigate claims that suicide bombings in Jerusalem were planned in Britain. This was following reports that the terrorists had entered Israel on British passports. Israeli officials were said to have become increasingly frustrated by what they saw as British foot-dragging in curbing the activities of Palestinian hard-liners and the Israeli government made repeated calls for action to be taken against militants, said to be operating freely in the British capital.

After the massacre in Luxor Jack Straw promised new laws to curb the activities of international terror organisations based in Britain. At that time Britain had become the international centre for Islamic militancy on a huge scale. More Arab newspapers were published in London than anywhere else in the world and the capital had become home to a bewildering variety of radical Islamic fundamentalist movements, many of which made no secret of their commitment to violence and terrorism to achieve their goals.

On February 21, 2001 months before the 911 attacks the NY Times reported: Spurred by growing international alarm about Osama bin Laden's militant networks, the police in Britain and Germany have recently arrested more than a dozen Islamic radicals. American officials say some of those arrested were plotting terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere. American and foreign officials said the arrests were part of an intensified effort to crack down on a network with ties to Mr. bin Laden.” The United States and several of its Arab allies have complained that Britain offers a haven to groups plotting violence in their countries.

After the London 7/7 attack Peter Bergen published an article in the July 8 2005 edition of The New York Times entitled: Our Ally, Our Problem. He wrote: As the shock waves from yesterday's terrorist attacks in London reverberate across the Atlantic, a grim truth should become increasingly clear: one of the greatest terrorist threats to the United States emanates not from domestic sleeper cells or, as is popularly imagined, from the graduates of Middle Eastern madrassas, but from some of the citizens of its closest ally, Britain. Richard C. Reid, the "shoe bomber" who tried to blow up an American Airlines jet flying between Paris and Miami in 2001, is British. So is Saajid Badat, who pled guilty in London four months ago to plotting to use a shoe bomb similar to Mr. Reid's to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight in late 2001. And Ahmed Omar Sheik, who orchestrated the 2002 kidnapping-murder of the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, is a British citizen of Pakistani descent who graduated from the London School of Economics.

Why have so many of these terrorists come from Britain? Many British Muslims are young and poorly integrated into society and therefore vulnerable to extremism. In fact, Muslims have the youngest age profile of any religious group in Britain; around a third are under the age of 16. The unemployment rate among British Muslims runs almost 10 percentage points above the national average of about 5 percent. In the case of 16- to 24-year-old Muslim men, the unemployment rate is 22 percent. Not surprisingly, polls of British Muslims show a considerable sense of anger. Eight out of 10 believe that the war on terrorism is a war on Islam, while a poll conducted last year, under the auspices of the Guardian newspaper, found a surprising 13 percent who said that further attacks by Al Qaeda or a similar organization on the United States would be justified. British authorities believe that between 300 and 600 British citizens were trained in Qaeda and Taliban camps in Afghanistan. For this reason, and because of Britain's relatively permissive asylum laws, Arab militants living in London sometimes jokingly refer to their hometown as Londonistan.

For more details see London Bridge Is Falling Down and A Muslim Britain.

Is the problem of muslim fundamentalism improving in Britain?

Posted May 22, 2007


Brian McKay said...

Doctors, teachers and businessmen in the Muslim communities here in London are apparently giving money to radical groups knowing that it is going to terrorism. Whether they are doing this out of fear or malice I do not know but it is extremely worrying. We saw these protection rackets in N. Ireland where those with the guns would demand money for their cause or else.

See Ex-Qaeda insider warns of fresh terror attacks on Britain's streets.


Roger Spenser said...

If we wish to define England in religious terms i.e. Christian or Muslim, then in my opinion it is definitely becoming a Muslim country based on who attends houses of worship.

However, most 'Christians' here would define themselves as secularists so the country is basically atheist paying lip service to Christianity at funerals, weddings, Christmas and Easter.

The problem is that the Muslim population will probably not agree to the rules of a secular society and therein lies future trouble.

Just my humble opinion.


Peter said...

The BBC had an item today on a poll of American Muslims conducted by Pew Research. One out of four Muslims in the USA said that suicide bombing was OK in some special circumstances. 50% thought their lives had become more difficult since 911. Over 70% believed that in the USA they could get ahead with hard work and economically Muslims were in the mainstream of American income levels.

On the whole American Muslims feel much more integrated into U.S. society compared with those in the UK. Only 40% of American Muslims said that they were Muslims first and U.S. citizens second. In the UK 80% of British Muslims said they were Muslims first and British second.

Take care,

James Carnaghan said...

There are definite problems on the horizon. Here is the UK we have religious education in school. You do not in the U.S. Take a look at what this means from this item in the Associated Press which said:

“Muslim educators in Britain's religious schools are worried by some lessons that are part of a new curriculum designed to steer children away from extremism. One lesson plan goes something like this: A group of Islamic extremists want to buy fertilizer that could be used to make a bomb. Should the shop keeper sell it to them? Or take Ahmad, whose friends want to attack a local supermarket in retaliation for the war in Iraq. Is it right for Ahmad to harm innocent Britons because their government invaded a Muslim country? Ten Muslim clerics have been teaching the lessons in six madrassas and a school in Bradford -- a religiously diverse city about 200 miles north of London. About 500 students have already completed the course, versions of which the communities department hopes to roll out nationally to some of Britain's 100,000 madrassa students.”


Duncan Clemens said...

In the USA they arrest and lock up suspected terrorists. Here we arrest, let them out requesting that the suspects stay around and let us know where they are and then .....

Well, today I read that three terrorism suspects now on the run in Britain had been planning to take part in attacks on soldiers in Iraq. Two of them are Algerians and the other is a British muslim.

Our Home Secretary, John Reid’ told parliment that the men, while not considered to be a 'direct threat' to the British public, were nonetheless 'dangerous.'

Go figure that one out!

The Algerians are related to a man jailed for life last month for plotting explosions in London with a giant fertilizer bomb.

Go figure that one out!

Altogether, six people have so far absconded under this ‘stay-at-home’ scheme,


Neil said...

The Site Institute has a video entitled “Confronting the War of Prisons – A Speech by Abu Laith al-Libi” in which Britain is prominently mentioned.

An article at the site states:

Abu Laith al-Libi, an al-Qaeda commander in Afghanistan, delivers a speech titled, “Confronting the War of Prisons”, in a video issued to jihadist forums today, Thursday, May 24, 2007. He argues that the enemy’s capturing of Muslims and incarcerating them is an “ancient Pharaonic tradition” stemming from their failure to argue, debate, and be enlightened by Islam. This tradition has been carried into the present day, whereby the multifarious enemy, the West and Arab rulers, have “abandoned the civilization, progress and advancement to which they pretend,” and gone beyond this action to dishonor Muslim women in prisons. Speaking from the perspective of Salafist-jihadi doctrine, Abu Laith states that it is incumbent upon Muslims to participate in jihad and work towards the release of their Muslim brothers, particularly Abu Qatada al-Filistini, who is being held in Britain. Following historic examples of the Prophet Muhammad ransoming or physically releasing Muslims from captivity, Abu Laith states: “Qaida al-Jihad Organization in the Land of Khorasan [al-Qaeda in Afghanistan] announces its readiness to receive any Muslim captive exchanged with any party by any party, whether he is from those with whom the prisons of the states of the Cross are choked, or one of those imprisoned in other states of infidelity and apostasy”. Though Abu Qatada is cited as “foremost” among these prisoners, Abu Laith goes on to pray that Allah rescue the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abd al-Rahman, Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, Sulaiman al-Alwaan, and Abu Mundhir al-Saa’idi. The release of Muslim prisoners in Britain, Abu Qatada al-Filistini chief among them, is also a demand made most recently by the Army of Islam [Jeish al-Islam], a Palestinian militant group, for the release of BBC reporter Alan Johnston who they allege to have captured.

I guess this means that Britain is in the cross hairs!


Brian McKay said...

The little guys get to kill themselves with the promise of virgins in heaven while those that are the intellectuals behind them get a couple of years in prison and a free trip home. This is from the International Herald Tribune on May 25.

A Muslim cleric named by the British government as a key influence on one of four men who carried out the deadly London transport bombings in 2005 was deported to Jamaica after being released from prison. Abdullah el-Faisal was sentenced to nine years in jail in 2003 after being convicted of incitement to murder and stirring racial hatred by urging followers to kill Hindus, Jews and Americans. Prosecutors said that in lectures and on audiotapes, the cleric also tried to recruit British youths for terrorist training. El-Faisal had his sentence cut to seven years on appeal, and became eligible for parole after serving half his jail term. He was deported immediately upon his release. In its official report on the attacks of July 7, 2005, Britain's Home Office said 19-year-old Jermaine Lindsay — one of four suicide bombers who killed 52 other people — was heavily influenced by el-Faisal's teachings.