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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

May 05, 2003

Britain: Nourishing Vipers

Imagine adopting a child out of the gutter and granting him as good a life as anyone can hope for. Imagine that in short order, this adoptee informs you point blank that he intends to force his ways on you, and kill you if you don't accept.

This is no script for an absurd melodrama; it is, in fact, what the Islamists have been doing, and are doing, all over Europe. Britain is the most recent case to demonstrate this script. Following is what the British Telegraph reports in an article entitled, " We have made a paradise for terrorists in our own backyard", May 4, 2003:
Over the past decade, Britain has given refuge to a host of Islamic fundamentalists wanted for terrorism in countries around the world. Before the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in 2001, the governments of France, India, Turkey, Israel, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Saudi Arabia had all lodged protests about Britain's protection of, and refusal to extradite, known terrorists. Those protests had no effect.

Men such as Abu Qatadar - who instructed both Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, and Zacharias Moussaoui, now awaiting trial in America for his part in planning the attacks of September 11 - were allowed to remain in Britain, preaching, and often organising, terror. Qatadar arrived here nearly a decade ago claiming that he was fleeing political persecution. He was a known advocate of suicide bombings, and was wanted in Jordan for involvement in a campaign of terror. He was granted asylum in Britain.
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Britain has become the headquarters of choice for extremist Islamic preachers, who now have a network of organisations dedicated to sowing pure hatred: hatred of the West, of democracy, and of the values of tolerance and freedom - the very values that give them the freedom to operate here. "Your task against the infidel," says one video distributed by the fundamentalists, "is to kill their children, take their women, destroy their homes."

Successive governments have been warned in the plainest possible terms about the dangers posed by men such as Abu Qatadar, Omar Bakri (who says he "believes in the principle of establishing Islamic law . . . even if this leads to the death of all mankind") and Abu Hamza (the one-eyed sheikh who lost his hand in an explosion, and whom the Yemeni government wants for bomb attacks carried out there). Why were the warnings so resolutely ignored? For resolutely ignored they were.
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[T]he Government has proscribed al-Qaeda, and made membership of it an arrestable offence, but it is still perfectly legal to belong to al-Muhajiroun - the organisation to which Asif Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif belonged, and which has an ideology at least as militant as al-Qaeda's.
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[T]he Home Office is still very reluctant to extradite terrorist suspects. Bashir Nafi, who lectures on Islamic history at Birkbeck College, is wanted by US authorities for "conspiracy to murder, maim or injure persons outside the United States". The evidence against him includes transcripts of his telephone calls, in which he allegedly discusses the finances of an organisation whose goal is to create "terror, instability and panic", and which has planned suicide bombings. Mr Nafi has not been extradited from Britain. He has not even been arrested.

The Government has allowed legal complexities to tie up the process of extradition for years. Khalid al Fawwaz has been wanted by the US for his part in the bombing of its embassy in Kenya. The wrangle over whether or not to extradite him to the US had been going on for over four years. He has only just exhausted the appeals process (at a cost of £428,000 - funded by British tax-payers). The Home Secretary, however, has still not decided whether or not he will permit his extradition to America. Despite David Blunkett's allegedly "draconian" Anti-Terrorism Act, the old habits which encourage terrorists to stay and recruit here remain.
It's time for the Western democracies to realize that they have been nourishing vipers in their bosom and change their ways. Abandoning the infamous Roadmap would be a good first step.