Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

How The UK Threatens US Security; Part 2

 It is well-established that Britain contains a greater proportion of radical Islamists than any other Western country. These radicals have been allowed to preach openly and in many cases, to flout the law. Where European Muslims tend to be less contemptuous of the countries in which they live, Muslims in Britain are the least adjusted within Europe.

 A survey by Populus in July 2006 found that 7% of UK Muslims thought that, in some circumstances, it was justifiable to have suicide attacks against British civilians. 13% felt that the suicide bombers who killed 52 people on 7 July 2005 should be viewed as "martyrs". 16% thought the 7/7 attacks were wrong but happened for right reasons. 16% said that if a family member joined Al Qaeda they would be "indifferent".

 A poll in February 2006, carried out by ICM for the Sunday Telegraph found that 42% of Muslims polled wanted sharia law to be introduced in Britain, and 20% felt sympathy with the July 7 bombers' motives.

 In June 2006, a survey by Pew Global Attitudes produced some alarming results. As described in the Guardian: "the poll found that British Muslims represented a ‘notable exception’ in Europe, with far more negative views of westerners than Islamic minorities elsewhere on the continent. A significant majority viewed western populations as selfish, arrogant, greedy and immoral. Just over half said westerners were violent. While the overwhelming majority of European Muslims said westerners were respectful of women, fewer than half British Muslims agreed. Another startling result found that only 32% of Muslims in Britain had a favorable opinion of Jews, compared with 71% of French Muslims." Only 17% of British Muslims believed that Arabs were involved in the 9/11 attacks.

 The attitudes of Muslims in Britain have not improved and currently, the most radical views are to be found in the younger generation (age 16 to 24). On Monday, January 28, details of another poll were revealed. This poll had been carried out by Populus for the Policy Exchange, a right-wing think-tank. This showed that 37% of younger Muslims wanted to live under sharia law. Among those over 55, only 17% wanted to live under sharia. The full report, entitled Living Apart Together, can be found in pdf format here.

 One of the three authors of this report, Munira Mirza, has specifically blamed the current government (in power since 1996) for encouraging the increased separatism of Muslims, and particularly Muslim youth. She places the blame on Blair's policies of "multiculturalism". She said: "The emergence of a strong Muslim identity in Britain is, in part, a result of multicultural policies implemented since the 1980s, which have emphasized difference at the expense of shared national identity. Religiosity amongst younger Muslims is not about following their parents' cultural traditions, but rather, their interest in religion is more politicized. Islamist groups have gained influence at local and national level by playing the politics of identity and demanding for Muslims the 'right to be different'."

 Tracing the roots of Islamism in Britain, multiculturalism has certainly contributed to the current climate. But a strand of Islamism in Britain can be traced to a handful of individuals who gained prominence in 1989, long before "multiculturalism" became a real doctrine of government policy. They had been important within their own communities, but had been unheard of until February 14, 1989. This was when Ayatollah Khomeini announced his notorious fatwa against Salman Rushdie:

 "I inform the proud Muslim people of the world that the author of the Satanic Verses book which is against Islam, the Prophet and the Koran, and all those involved in its publication who were aware of its content, are sentenced to death. I ask all the Muslims to execute them wherever they find them."

 Two people were thrust into the limelight by the affair. Iqbal Sacranie was the spokesman for the UK Action Committee on Islamic Affairs. The day after the fatwa, he said of Rushdie: "Death, perhaps, is a bit too easy for him… his mind must be tormented for the rest of his life unless he asks for forgiveness to Almighty Allah."

 The UK Action Committee on Islamic Affairs had been formed the year previously, specifically to challenge Rushdie and his book. The group would later become the Muslim Council of Britain, and Sacranie would eventually become the MCB's secretary general.

 The other person to be given publicity from the Rushdie affair was Dr Kalim Siddiqui, a previously unknown scholar, who had worked at the Guardian as a sub-editor since 1964. As a student in Pakistan, he had been involved in a group related to Hizb ut-Tahrir, which sought to establish a Caliphate. He had arrived in Britain in 1954. Siddiqui had been in Tehran airport at the time of Khomeini's fatwa. He had been consulted by Mohammad Khatami, who would later become president of Iran in 1997. At that time, Khatami was the Minister of Islamic Guidance. Siddiqui told Khatami: "Oh Rushdie? Very bad man", even though he had read only a few pages of the book. The message was relayed to Khomeini, and the fatwa was born.

 Siddiqui had founded the Muslim Institute in London in 1974, which encouraged the formation of political Islam. Siddiqui had been respected as an intellectual in Iran and other Islamic countries. He became famous for his support of the fatwa. He openly stated that Rushdie should die, and was filmed saying as much, to rapturous applause from Muslim followers. But neither Siddiqui, nor any other supporters of the fatwa, were charged with incitement to murder.

 Many Muslims found the Rushdie affair gave them a power and influence they had never known, and political Islam in Britain was born. In October 1988 Syed Pasha of the Union of Muslim Organizations petitioned prime minister Margaret Thatcher to have the book banned. Thatcher refused to comply. Last August, during a discussion on terrorism and extremism in the Muslim community, Pasha urged Ruth Kelly, the Communities minister, to allow Muslims to have sharia law. He justified it by saying: "They should understand our problems then we will understand their problems."

 In December 1988, 7,000 Muslims had gathered to burn the book in Bolton, northern England. On January 28, 1989, led by individuals such as Iqbal Sacranie, 8,000 Muslims had gathered in Hyde Park, demanding redress for the publication of Rushdie's book. Some calls by Muslim leaders were threatening. The head of the Muslim Youth Movement of Great Britain said: "I would welcome the opportunity to kill him myself if he was in an Islamic country." Sayed Abdul Quddus, a Muslim leader in Bradford, said: "It is Islamic law. He must die." Mohammed Ismail Janjua, of Dudley mosque in the Midlands, said: "Ninety-nine per cent of Muslims would be prepared to kill him."

Muslims in Britain had been politically silent until the Rushdie affair, and no-one had seen them as a threat. They were viewed as socially backward, perhaps, refusing to integrate, but not threatening. In 1985, I had satirized Ayatollah Khomeini in a drawing (pictured), angered by his inhumane punishments. In March 1989, angered by the fatwa, I arranged to have the picture sold at a London auction. Whereas I previously had no problems in expressing myself through art, by March 1989 my perceptions had changed. Made fearful by the new phenomenon of British radical Islam, I insisted that the picture be sold anonymously.

 Empowered by engendering fear in others, the Muslims who had protested against Rushdie went on to form political pressure groups, demanding rights which went beyond those of citizenship, which they already possessed. In July 1991, Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator of the Satanic Verses was stabbed to death. In the same month Ettore Capriolo, the Italian translator of the Satanic verses, was seriously injured in a stabbing attack. In 1992, Kalim Siddiqui, who had helped create the fatwa against Rushdie, founded the Muslim Parliament. He died of a heart attack on April 18, 1996. A year later, Tony Blair gained a landslide election victory.

 Multiculturalism had been rife in local councils throughout Britain's inner cities since the 1980s, where leftists promoted it as an alternative to the policies of Mrs Thatcher. I worked for organizations funded by the London Borough of Hackney and the Inner London Education Authority during the 1980s, where multiculturalism was promoted without question.

 With Blair in power, the policies which had thrived in inner cities became embraced by government. In September last year the Communities Secretary, Ruth Kelly, even stated that she wanted to see more Muslims wearing headscarves on British television, even though Muslims account for only 3% of the population, and Muslim women wearing headscarves represent an even smaller number.

 In November of 1997, the same year that Blair came to power, the MCB was formed. As it claimed to represent 400 Muslim organizations and mosques throughout Britain, Blair's government has courted this group. A month before the terrorist attacks of 7/7, Iqbal Sacranie was knighted. Blair agreed with the MCB's suggestions to introduce a law outlawing criticism of Islam, which failed to become law. In June 2006, the government caved in to MCB pressure and abandoned its plans to outlaw forced marriages, even though these abuse the rights of 300 British Muslim girls every year.

 Multiculturalism allowed groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir and Al-Muhajiroun to thrive, and though members of these groups have called for revolution and some have urged murder and terrorism, most have escaped prosecution. Individuals such as Abdullah el-Faisal and Abu Hamza openly preached hate and murder for years in Britain under Tony Blair until they were jailed. Faisal was jailed for soliciting murder on February 24, 2003. Hamza was sentenced to seven years' jail for soliciting murder on February 7, 2006.

 The worst political move made by Blair was his introduction of the Human Rights Act of 1998. This enshrined into British law the details of the European Convention of Human Rights, which Britain and other members of the Council of Europe had signed in 1950. What had formerly been a "gentleman's agreement" was now binding, and this legislation has proved to the biggest obstacle to preventing terrorism
 In 2005, following 7/7. the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, found himself in increasing difficulties attempting to deport terrorists. Because Article 3 of the ECHR states that no person should be subjected to torture, he tried to get affidavits from Muslim governments that they would not torture suspects on their return. Clarke had detained some extreme Islamists such as Abu Qatada, in August 2005, along with several Algerians suspected of involvement in a plot to attack Strasbour Christmaas market, which had been reputedly hatched by Abu Doha, who is also suspected of the LA airport Millennium Bombing plot.

 In May 2006, even though Jordan had signed an affidavit to the effect that it would not subject Qatada to torture, lawyers for the Islamist argued that this was not legally binding. Qatada remains in jail in Britain.

 Clarke was sacked in May, but his successor John Reid has had similar trouble as a result of the 1998 Human Rights Act. In June 2006,  Mr Justice Sullivan, a High Court judge, ruled that "Control Orders" imposed on five Iraqis and one Briton were in denial of their rights under ECHR terms. Article 5 of the convention states that no-one shall be deprived of their liberties unless tried by a "competent court" or subjected to other tightly-prescribed circumstances. Control Orders are effectively curfews, where individuals must be at home during certain hours.

 In 2000, nine Muslim terrorists in Afghanistan hijacked a plane carrying 173 passengers. The terrorists had AK-47 assault rifles and grenades and forced the plane to fly to Britain. For four days they kept the passengers hostage, threatening to kill some of them, and also threatening to blow up the Boeing 727.

 The nine Muslim terrorists were jailed for five years for hijacking, possessing guns and explosives, and false imprisonment. By September 2004, the legal fees of the hijackers had amounted to $8 million, paid for by British taxpayers. Because of the Human Rights Act, and Article 3 of the ECHR, Justice Sullivan ruled on May 10 2006 that the nine terrorists were free to stay in Britain indefinitely.

 Daniel Pipes has argued that since the Rushdie affair of 1989, Islamists have been increasing and accelerating their responses to perceived "attacks" upon their articles of faith.

 In Britain, the roots of political Islam found fertile ground with the Rushdie affair. As one political Muslim, Rana Kabbani, has written: "It was the Rushdie controversy that forced us into the open."

 Thatcher gave no ground to the emerging Islamism on her doorstep. During the 1980s many Muslims were becoming radicalized around the globe, flocking to Afghanistan to fight a jihad against Soviets. Here Osama bin Laden came to prominence. Funded with Saudi money, the fighters went on to Chechnya, Kosovo, Bosnia. On September 27, 1996, the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, castrating and hanging the former president, Mohammed Najibullah, from a crane. A new era of Islamism had started. But for the authorities in Britain, the extent of the rampant and globalized Islamism developing on their own soil was not fully recognized until July 2005.

 By this time they had already stood idly by while Abu Hamza and others had encouraged Muslims to fight and kill non-Muslims. Al-Muhajiroun had sent hundreds of young Britons to fight coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Hamza's followers included terrorists such as Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid, as well as the Muslim terrorists of 7/7. Islamists from the MCB, who had formerly called for punishment of Rushdie, and in 1996 had urged the government to allow Osama bin Laden to come to Britain, were feted by Blair's government, and even allowed to dictate aspects of policy.

 In the concluding part three of this article, I will show that even though 7/7 alarmed the British authorities, the apathy and negligence which allowed that horror to take place are still continuing. Instead of condemning Islamism, the Labour government, with its historic roots in leftism, has been actively encouraging it.

>>Continued Part 3 here

Adrian Morgan is a British based writer and artist who has written for Western Resistance since its inception. He also writes for Spero News, Family Security Matters and He has previously contributed to various publications, including the Guardian and New Scientist and is a former Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Society.

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