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The Unholy Alliance Turns on Its Own By: Melanie Phillips
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, April 26, 2005


As ye sow, shall ye reap. George Galloway is a far-Left former Labour member of the British Parliament, who was expelled from the Labour Party 18 months ago for reportedly urging Arab armies in Iraq to attack British troops. Now the Islamists he has long courted are threatening Galloway.

An enthusiast for Saddam Hussein, Galloway once flew to Baghdad and told the doubtless gratified dictator, “Sir, I salute your courage, strength and indefatigability.” He has continued in this enlightened vein, vouchsafing that Saddam's foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, was a “political prisoner” who should be released.

 

Having been thrown out of the Labour Party, Galloway founded a new political group called “Respect,” which is dominated by the Socialist Workers Party, which ran the antiwar movement in Britain. The SWP has gotten into bed with radical Islam, notably the Muslim Association of Britain, which is effectively the British wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.

 

Galloway has ridden this motley coalition straight into the current British general election campaign, seeking to harness the monumentally disaffected Muslim vote to give his old party a bloody nose. Under Respect’s banner, he is fighting the parliamentary seat of Bethnal Green and Bow, in the heart of London’s East End. This run-down area has always played host to immigrants. It was where many Jews settled when they arrived in London early in the 20th century. Now, more than half of its electors are Muslim. And they are furious with Tony Blair over the war in Iraq.

 

This has placed at risk the parliamentary career of the sitting MP, Oona King, who has earned the undying enmity of her Muslim constituents by supporting the war. King herself, however, would appear to have something in common with her tormentors: Despite being half-Jewish and half-black, she once infamously compared the Palestinians in Gaza to the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto. Bigotry, it seems, can make common cause between enemies, at least when the Jews are their common target.

 

King’s Muslim opponents seem to take the view that “my enemy’s enemy is my enemy.” Such are the fratricidal and conflicting emotions that flourish along the axis between the Left and radical Islam. The contest in Bethnal Green and Bow now lies between the unspeakable and the unelectable.

 

Recently, there was a remembrance ceremony in the area to commemorate the deaths of 134 people in one block of flats — of whom the vast majority were Jews — in the last V2 missile attack of the Second World War. Young Muslims threw vegetables and eggs at those attending the ceremony, including King. These detractors subsequently expressed violent prejudice towards the Jews mourning their war dead.

 

Since then, King has had more eggs thrown at her and has had her tires slashed. The situation has been growing increasingly dangerous, with fears being expressed that someone might get killed.

And much of the blame is being pinned on George Galloway. King has claimed members of Respect had told local Muslims not to vote for her, because she is Jewish. Respect vehemently denied this claim and promptly threatened to sue her for libel, claiming it had “a long history of fighting anti-Semitism” – which, given its association with the Hamas-supporters of the MAB, was certainly an original boast.

 

Apart from the disputed issue of King’s abused ethnicity, there can be little doubt that Galloway has indeed contributed to the increasingly ugly climate in Bethnal Green and Bow. Telling Muslims that Tony Blair was waging war on their community has whipped some of the most dangerously unstable and paranoid young men in the country into a frenzy.

 

And having done so, he then found to his outrage that they turned their violent rage upon him. Recently, he was forced to flee for his life from some of these very same Islamists, who threatened to string him up as a false prophet. While he was electioneering in the constituency, a gang of 30 fanatics, who claim voting is un-Islamic, surrounded him and his supporters. They said they were angry at his attempt to woo Muslim voters; that they were “setting up the gallows” for Galloway; and that any Muslim who voted for his party would face a “sentence of death.” After a fight broke out between the two groups, Galloway was forced to hide in his car in a back alley until the violence calmed down.

 

But his problems did not end there. The upstanding democrats of the militant group Hizb-ut-Tahrir, who demonstrate their commitment to moderation through their attempts to turn Great Britain into an Islamic state, declared they would sue the car-cowering politician for libel for accusing them of having instigated the attack. The Islamists said: “Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain is an Islamic intellectual and political entity that seeks to change people’s thoughts solely through intelligent discussion and debate” — a claim nearly as reassuring as Respect’s “long history of fighting anti-Semitism.” It is thought that the attack was carried out, not by Hizb ut-Tahrir, but by a group called the “Saviour Sect,” which only a few hours before had disrupted a meeting in London’s Central Mosque called by the mainstream Muslim Council of Britain, and levelled charges of apostasy against the Muslim Council of Britain for urging Muslims to vote.

 

 “Gorgeous” George Galloway has not taken all this in the collegiate spirit in which it was clearly intended. He is said to have been badly shaken and very worried by the fact the people in whom he has done so much to foment violent and irrational hatred have now turned that hatred upon him.

 

So shaken is he that within 24 hours he was saying to Ms. King how sorry he was for what had happened to her. For her part, she said that although they disagreed about many things, they didn’t want to be violent towards each other. To this touching rapprochement, the mob on the hustings booed.

 

It couldn't have happened to a nicer pair. The simple lesson for George Galloway and other appeasenik politicians is: there’s no appeasing bigotry once that beast is roused. What this event means for the future of once-gentle, tolerant, democratic Britain is quite another matter.

Melanie Phillips is a British social commentator and author and a columnist for the Daily Mail. Her articles can be found on her website, www.melaniephillips.com.


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