|Islamism Multiculturalism and the Jews|
|By Professor Robert S. Wistrich|
On 11 September, 2002, one year to the day after the Al-Qaida assault on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon, an extraordinary meeting was held at the Finsbury Park Mosque in North London, to “celebrate” the first anniversary of the massacre. A thousand British Muslims, protected by a large force of the London Metropolitan Police, gathered together to learn about this “Towering Day in History.” The gathering was chaired by Egyptian-born Abu Hamza al-Masri, who at the time still presided over the Finsbury mosque (he is now behind bars serving a seven-year sentence for complicity in murder and “racial incitement” against Jews); the star speaker was a Syrian-born exile, Sheikh Omar bin Bakri Mohammed – then head of the Al-Muhajiroun (The Emigrants), a radical and antisemitic Islamist group established in London, committed to the overthrow of “infidel” regimes and the establishment of sharia law world-wide.
Omar Bin Bakri was finally expelled from Britain last year but the threat from jihadi terrorism has only increased. London, has been transformed in recent years into an international hub for the recruitment, promotion and financing of global terrorism and radical Islamism. Londonistan –as the French call it- has become a safe haven for jihadi hate-mongering and British-born, British-bred suicide bombers of the kind who killed 52 innocent civilians in London’s underground in July 2005. There are estimated to be about a thousand supporters of Al-Qaida currently living in Great Britain. Scotland Yard and the security services have a record 34 terrorist cases involving 99 defendants awaiting trial. A further 70 cases are under investigation. The scale of the present threat to the U.K. was dramatically underlined in August 2006 when two dozen British-born Muslim suspects were arrested in an Al-Qaida linked conspiracy to blow up five transatlantic airliners, a plot comparable in its ambition to 9/11.
Furthermore, Islamic militancy in the U.K. is public and often shocking in its aggressiveness. In February 2006 in a demonstration in London I myself saw a placard “Be Prepared for the Real Holocaust!”, held up by a young Muslim woman wearing a niqab. There were other banners with macabre words like: “Allah will destroy the Terrorist State of Israel.” In Hyde Park, young British Muslims had a chilling message for the E.U.: Here are two rather frightening examples: “Europe you will pay, your Extermination is on its way,” or no less disgusting – “Europe is the cancer. Islam is the answer.” Instead of addressing the gravity of such violent language it has become fashionable to pretend that Asian Muslims are the victims of British racism and “Islamophobia.” This is an empty claim. The extreme Right in Britain is very weak and prejudice against Islam is in fact remarkably restrained given the real threat posed by Islamist terror cells. British society has in fact provided a degree of religious freedom and economic opportunity for Muslims they hardly enjoyed in their countries of origin.
The British authorities have, for their part, bent over backwards to accommodate aberrant and even criminal behavior. Only recently did this policy change. But the liberal media have constantly criticized the get-tough policy and the legal system has to some extent paralyzed it. The British Left with its sycophancy towards radical Islam has also made matters much worse. The antisemitism, anti-feminism, homophobia and relentless hatred for the secular West manifested by the Islamists is usually ignored or trivialized by the Left. The common loathing for America and Israel seems to outweigh any ideological differences between Islamists and Marxists. For left-wing British MPs like George Galloway, Israel is the real villain and Hassan Nasrallah is a “hero.” Then there is London’s radical Mayor, Ken Livingstone, who fawns over Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradhawi – a homophobic, misogynist, antisemitic bigot – as if he were the last word in Islamic progressivism; and there are the British academics (some of them Jews) who insist that Israel is a “racist, apartheid State” far worse than South Africa –hence it should be crippled by sanctions and ultimately dismantled!
Multicultural Britain, especially its liberal elites, show little understanding for Israel –increasingly seen as an aggressive, neo-colonial State, relying purely on military force and American largesse, to crush the weaker Palestinians. In an age of secular universalist “post-nationalism,” Israel is perceived as an “anachronism,” an ethnocentric nation-state whose insistence on its Jewishness is often presented as if it were racist. The same intellectuals and artists, journalists and academics, who vilify Israel for its alleged religious exclusivism, are extremely careful not to criticize Muslim fundamentalism –despite its violence, intimidatory tactics, repression of women and racist abuse of Jews. They abhor any attempt to link Islam and terrorism; they fail to question Muslim attitudes to democracy or to deal with difficult issues like the limited loyalty of British Muslims to the country they live in. At the same time, the mainstream British media still refuse to recognize that Islamists want to destroy the West and Israel, to impose Sharia law and re-establish the medieval Caliphate throughout the world. They simply do not want to acknowledge the reality of jihad (holy war) –hence the desperate efforts to sanitize the Islamist agenda.
Very rarely is reference made in British publications to the subject of Muslim antisemitism and the threat it poses to Anglo-Jewry. Even to raise the subject is interpreted by many as a provocative or “Islamophobic” action. The implication is that Muslims in Britain –like Palestinians in the Middle East- are immune from normal standards of criticism and not required to take responsibility for their actions. In the name of cultural diversity, Judaism and Christianity may be vilified but the reverse is forbidden. In other words, freedom of speech in a one-way street. Muslim leaders openly preach hatred for Western democracy, secularism, Jews, gays, feminists and “Kaffirs” (infidels) in general, but criticism of Islam may have deadly results for those who engage in it as events in France, Holland and Denmark have all too clearly shown in recent years.
The fear of offending Islam, driven by political correctness, cowardice, passivity and self-deception, has had serious consequences for the security of British and West European Jews. The report of the U.K. All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism, published in September 2006 noted the phenomenon of “Islamist antisemitism” but treated it rather tamely. In my own testimony I warned that this was a key issue. Unfortunately the parliamentary inquiry, though it did a good job in many respects, glossed over the growing resonance of antisemitic views among UK Muslims. No less than 40% of British Muslims believe today that the Jewish community is a legitimate target, “as part of the ongoing struggle for justice in the Middle East”; no less than 46% think that there is a Judeo-masonic conspiracy to control the British media and politics; and more than half of British Muslims agree that Jews had “too much influence over the direction of U.K. foreign policy.” These are alarming figures. They reflect a highly toxic mix of ignorance, bigotry and jihadist zeal, reinforced by the unrelenting hostility in parts of the British media (including the BBC) towards Israel.
The liberal-leftist British media not only bashes Israel; it exaggerates “Islamophobia” while downplaying the seriousness of antisemitism. Figures recently compiled by the British police show that Jews are four times more likely to be attacked because of their religion than Muslims. Yet there are Jews in Britain who deliberately ignore such facts, insist that Israel is the problem and suggest that antisemitism is a “Zionist” invention. Their “dissent” receives accolades from the “quality” media in Britain, who love to set Jew against Jew –usually praising those who denounce Israel as “courageous non-conformists” while those who defend it are deemed to be complicit in oppression of the Palestinians. This hypocritical charade has added a new and rather squalid footnote to the long history of “wars between the Jews” (milhamot ha-yehudim) that have always accompanied outbreaks of antisemitism.