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The Truth about Londonistan By: Aaron Hanscom
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, January 18, 2007

Critics of radical Islam just don’t grasp the concept of complexity. Such, at least, is the view of British journalist David Selbourne, who ended his recent piece in the British Spectator (“Apocalypse on the US blogosphere”) with the following reproach: “The true complexity of things is being given short shrift by ‘experts’ and by vox pop alike: after all, London is no more ‘Londonistan’ than Israel is a ‘cancer’ and America the ‘Great Satan’.” 

Selbourne was specifically referring to Melanie Phillip’s book Londonistan. The book details how Islamist extremism has found a hospitable home in Britain. While Selbourne, author of the book The Losing Battle with Islam, doesn’t deny that the West faces a serious threat from radical Islam, he seems more bothered by the rhetoric of Western analysts than that of the jihadists. Clive Davis of the London Times is another serious journalist who recognizes the dangers of Islamist extremism but cares little for the “apocalyptic” style of Phillips or the “bleakly apocalyptic rhetoric” of Bruce Bawer and Claire Berlinksi, two American writers who have also written books about the threats facing Europe. 

So the question naturally arises: Should the warnings in these books be dismissed as right-wing hysteria, or is the danger in Europe so great as to warrant the charged language? Put another way, is "Londonistan" just a catchy title for a book, or is the Islamification of Britain already well under way? 

The facts paint the truest—and most alarming—picture. Recent undercover investigations by British media outlets have revealed plenty of apocalyptic rhetoric, emanating primarily from supposedly moderate mosques.  In a Channel 4 program airing this week called Dispatches: Undercover Mosque, clerics advocating the replacement of British law with Shari’a law are plentiful. In front of a group of Muslims at Sparkbrook mosque, for example, Dr. Ijaz Mian says, “We have to rule ourselves and we have to rule the others.” Sparbrook, it must be noted, is run by the UK Islamic Mission, an organization that Tony Blair has said “is extremely valued by the government for its multi-faith and multicultural activities” and which runs 45 mosques in Britain. Londonistan, anyone?

And there’s no shortage of additional evidence. The documentary program also recorded the activities inside Green Lane mosque in Birmingham, where one cleric explains that “Allah has created the woman deficient” and another advises that if a girl “doesn't wear hijab, we hit her.”  Precocious children aren’t the only ones with something to fear. According to a Green Lane cleric: “The time is fast approaching where the tables are going to turn and the Muslims are going to be in the position of being uppermost in strength and, when that happens, people won't get killed - unjustly.”

The Muslim Council of Britain accused Channel 4 of the “continuing demonization of British Muslims and the risible attempt at promoting sectarianism among British Muslims.”  The tactics of the radicals portrayed on the program were less problematic to the organization.

In another investigation, British tabloid The People discovered on internet sites British-born Muslim clerics inciting hatred against their own country.  In one speech, a radical named Abu Waleed says, “One day we hope to implement Shari’a law over Downing Street and Washington itself."  The young cleric, Abu Muwahid, also has Downing Street on his mind when he tells a cheering crowd, “One day the black flag of Islam is going to be over 10 Downing Street, whether Tony Blair likes it or not."  To his eager followers he asks: “What role are you going to play? Are you going to be one of those people who watch Osama bin Laden or the Mujahideen or the (inaudible) in the UK fulfilling their duty? You need to play an active role." 

Anjem Choudary of Essex is recorded criticizing Muslims who fly the cross of St George on their cars in support of Britain’s soccer team because it “is an act of kufr {when a Muslim does something wrong} to wear a cross."  But Muslims aren’t the only people who are now refraining from flying the flag.  Islamic protests have forced the cable companies NTL, Heathrow airport, and the Drivers and Vehicles Licensing Agency to ban the flag out of fear. 

Using anti-British propaganda to influence impressionable young people is not confined to the mosques of Britain.  Last year the British government warned of Islamist groups recruiting in British universities.  According to Bill Rammell, the higher education minister, students are being “groomed” by radicals posing as regular students.  The Sunday Times quoted Sheikh Musa Admani, an imam, saying radical groups were adept at avoiding campus bans and joining conventional organizations.  This followed a leaked Whitehall dossier commissioned by Tony Blair after the Madrid train bombings, which said: “Extremists are known to target schools and colleges where young people may be very inquisitive but less challenging and more susceptible to extremist reasoning/arguments.” 

In a 20-page booklet issued by the government in 2006 to advise campus officials how to resist Islamist infiltration, several scenarios based on real events were described.  One scenario had a member of a college library staff observing students watching “somebody making a homemade explosive device” on the internet.  Other scenarios on campus included a speech given by a cleric who justifies attacks against British civilians and the taking over of an Islamic prayer room.  The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (Fosis), which represents 90,000 Muslims students in Britain, was not appreciative of this effort by the government to warn universities about the threat of Islamist extremism. “Demonizing Muslims is unacceptable and dangerous whether in educational institutions or in communities,” a statement put out by Fosis declared. 

British prisons are also grooming potential terrorists.  The most famous aspiring terrorist is shoe bomber Richard Reid, who was radicalized inside Feltham young offenders’ institution.  Lord Carlile, the independent watchdog on the government’s anti-terror laws, recently commented on the radicalization by imams of youths in prison.  The Prison Officers’ Association has also warned of “dangerous and highly capable” prisoners, many of whom are affiliated with Al-Qaeda, who dedicate their time in prison to recruiting others to their cause.  Unfortunately, the prison service admits that there is no strategy in place to tackle these Al-Qaeda operatives.  Time and money are limited after all, and jails are already spending thousands of pounds on color-coded kitchen tools for Muslims and rebuilding toilets to face Mecca. 

Because Britain is beholden to the tenets of multiculturalism and diversity, British Muslims have long realized that they can get away with almost anything.  This was no more evident than at the 2006 Islamist demonstrations outside the Danish embassy during the Mohammed cartoon controversy.  Muslims protestors held placards with such messages as “Britain you will pay - 7/7 is on its way” and "Whoever insults a prophet, kill him.” Omar Khayam arrived at the event wearing what resembled a suicide bomber’s vest.  

But it is the bizarre conclusion to these demonstrations that should give pause to those who counsel a more “complex” attitude about the dangers of Islamic extremism in Britain. While the Islamists freely threatened murder against unbelievers, the only two people arrested at the protests were two men who were staging a counter-demonstration.

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Aaron Hanscom is a freelance writer in Los Angeles.

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