Wednesday, July 27, 2005
But what are the facts? Take two things that are now public knowledge. Jean Charles de Menezes was wearing a thick, padded jacket on a warm day when he was pursued. Wrong. He was wearing a jean jacket. He jumped the ticket barrier to enter Stockwell station where he was shot. Wrong, he used his train ticket like any normal passenger.
Why were different versions fed to the press?
Take the possibility that he was carying a bomb. His pursuers followed him on to the number 2 bus that he caught to go to the tube station. There were, by all accounts, more than ten armed pursuants who followd him from the block of flats where he emerged. Why, if they feared a human bomb that they had to shoot him five times in the head when he was pinned down in the train, did they allow him to board a bus to travel to the tube station?
As I've said, terrorism is abhorrent business. No one, Muslim, Christian or Jew, has the right to kill innocent civilians in the name of a cause. But in this spate of terror attacks, Muslims are bearing the burden of blame kore than any other people. And they are not helped by the public utterances of influential people, Blair included. Today he spoke of an "alliance of faiths" to counter the Wolfowitzian clash of civilisations. But only days ago he claimed loudly and clearly that the terrible events were done in the name of Islam. What kind of image was he trying to portray?
A man, a new convert to Islam, was thrown off a train for reading the Koran. Mosques are being attacked and forced to close during non-prayer hours. This morning, on BBC Television, someone speaking about the arrests of suspects done early this morning, said that "Muslim looking men" were taken away.
The tendency of governments is to over-react, and it is the role of parliamentarians in a democracy to keep them in check. But in the present mood, there's a resounding silence from them all, with probably one exception, the much-vilified George Galloway, who is now already being treated by the media as a nutter. The same media that will not miss an opportunity to place the mad figure of Omar Bakri Hamzah on the front page as some spokesperson of the Muslim community.
Blair is adamant that there is no connection between these attacks with the war in Iraq, just as he was certain that there were Weapons of Mass Destruction there. Is terrorism in this way ever justified? NEVER. But its root causes have to be looked into. And is it disloyal to ask if all those people who are taking the blame really behind these acts that are terrifying us all? Of the causes, someone a few years ago said that if there was no hope left, it was understandable that people turned themselves into human bombs. She was immediately attacked even if it was clear that she wasn't advocating the practice but merely trying to go into the head of those who do.
And that person was Cherie Booth Blair.
Today someone said from faraway Kuala Lumpur, that in this fight against terrorism we should not lose sight of our basic human rights. And who could this person be?
Why, stand up again, Cherie Booth Blair.
§ Blair denies row with wife over terror laws.
§ I name the four powers who are behind the al-Qaeda conspiracy.
Sound of Silence
Monday, July 25, 2005
This woman was among a group of Muslims from Colchester, Luton and Leicester who gathered at Marble Arch in Central London Sunday 24th July to show solidarity with Londoners against the recent bomb attacks. Many passing vehicles sounded their horns in support.
The demonstration was privately organised by a group of British Muslims to dissociate themselves from the recent spate of bombings in London that took more than fifty lives. Many of the demonstrators — comprising men, women and children as well as non-Muslim well-wishers — carried placards saying, "Not In Our Name." Earlier in the day, Dr Zaki Badawi, a member of the Council of Mosques, said in a television interview that his Council was also planning to bring out Muslims in protest against the recent terrorist attacks in London.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Jean Charles de Menezes who'd lived in the slum district of Sao Paolo, Brazil, came to London three years ago to work as an electrician. Friends say he spoke excellent English.
He was pursued by an armed plainclothes surveillance team (some say as many as 20) as soon as he emerged from an address that police were watching. He was wearing a thick padded jacket on a warm day. This could have sealed his fate.
Witnesses say that he jumped the ticket barrier when challenged and pursued and tripped at the door of a tube train with his pursuers close behind him. They pinned him down while one fired five shots into his head with an automatic weapon.
On the afternoon of the incident, London's Police chief said that form information he had, the dead man was connected to the bombings.
Now we know it has all been a tragic mistake.
Why did the plain-clothes terrorist squad shoot five times when he was already pinned down? Why did he run?
One newspaper report yesterday said that the plain-clothes men were a new terrorist squad that received training from Israeli experts. The police have since expressed regret over the incident. Mayor Ken Livingstone and many Londoners have expressed the view that blame for his death lay with those who started their terror campaign in London.
But why did Menezes run? He'd lived in a rough slum area in Rio where, if purused by plain-clothes men with guns, one's first instinct would be to run. Stockwell is on the rough edge of London. The other sad thing about this is, if the dead had been a young Muslim, then there'd be no questions at all about his guilt.
Today, in foul weather, Muslims in Britain are gathering in Hyde Park in a "Not In Our Name" demonstration. These are times of lunacy when people are ready to apportion blame. The profile of Islam has been raised, not least by the media and by supposedly reasonable men — Blair included — who mouth the gratuitous formula of Ilsam not being a violent religion, and yet say it out loud in another breath that this is terror in the name of Islam. Menezes paid with his life because he was mistaken for an "Asian" (shorthand for Pakistani or Indian). These are tough times for everyone, not least for Muslims, in London.
The fact is, though many terrible, dastardly acts have had fingermarks of Mulsims or Islam, there are many who'd gain from the tarnishing of Islam for their own gains. The press will always find Muslim weirdos and so-called "clerics" who'll produce soundbites that they need for their own purpose. But the fact is, on 7-7 at least five Muslims perished among the fifty-two who died. In general, Muslims are appalled by the murder and mayhem committed in their name, and yet the media and many public figures keep urging them to accept responsibility (i.e. admit guilt).
It is an odd time indeed when we react to the death and the mayhem around us by throwing all caution to the wind in favour of the knee-jerk tactics of the dictator Musharraf and the Israeli hit-team.
Now, to be a Muslim in London is a heavy burden. But well, some may argue, in an extension of the argument of Ken Livingstone and all those 'cool-headed' people who've written to all those internet forums, blame this on those terrorist bombers, who are all Muslims, each and everyone. Q.E.D.
Dead In London
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Eyewitnesses have all said that he tripped and was held down, though one version in the Guardian newspaper today says that he had tried to take some one hostage. This is a new unsubstantiated line. Nothing about this was heard yesterday. According to press reports, fed by the police no doubt, they had been following him from a suspected address, then stalked him to the train station. When challenged, the man jumped over the ticket barrier and tried to board a tran when he tripped, with the plain clothes pursuers in hot pursuit.
In their excitement to churn out what was fed out to them yesterday, the media seemed to have lost their judgment and accepted the new gung-ho role of security services without question. Judge, jury and executioner went out with blazing guns yesterday and took out the life of a man.
The first hint that there was something wrong was when a police statement said he was not connected to the four attempts to set up bombs in the public transport across London yesterday. None of the press asked why this was so, why he was shot after he was caught, and who those men were who shot him down, or why, or what evidence they got from him.
Muslims are as alarmed by what's happening in London as are other residents. All the incidents that took place were in predominantly Muslims areas. Dogs were taken into the East London Mosque yesterday before Friday prayers because of a bomb scare, which proved unfounded.
And the most bizarre thing to top it all was the sight of Musharraf lecturing London on how to bring down the jackboot. You and your laws and your human rights, he said, talking to Blair from his Pakistani residence.
Brave New world we're in.
Five Shots That Killed Britain
Thursday, July 21, 2005
The explosions occurred in the Shepherd's Bush Underground Station in the West, Warren Street in the North central, Oval in the South, and another one on the 26 bus in Hackney in the East End of the City. From available reports only one person was injured. The explosions occured around 1.00pm.
Prime Minister Blair's statement due at 2.30pm was cancelled because of an incident in Downing Street, where an Asian looking man was arested and taken away in handcuffs by armed police. He reappeared at about 3.45 in a joint press conference with the Australian Prime Minister.
These things are done to scare people, Blair said.
In another incident near the Wrren Street station, at the University College Hospital, armed police earlier entered the building which is still cordoned off. Unconfirmed reports say that a man seen running from the Warren Street station was earlier seen entering the building.
Eye-witneses reported seeing smoke from the trains. The bus-explosion was said to be minor, but it shattered all windows in the bus. It is understood that 'dummy' nail bombs were found at the scenes, leading to speculation that they were placed there by copy-cats who had no connection whatsoever with the incidents on 7-7, or that the perpetrators were trying to send a message.
At 3.50 the Police Commissioner told Londoners that the situation was under control, though five tube lines remain closed. He said there was another failed attempt on the City & Metropolitan Line.
Two Weeks Later...
Monday, July 18, 2005
Oh to be Muslim in England now that terrorism's here.
It's a disorienting time to be a Muslim. Parties who are purporting to be protecting them are also openly attacking them. Now it's non-English speaking Muslim clerics who are preaching hate that are the focus of attention. But the greatest damage is done by the mantras of 'oooh, they were such friendly lads' that are found on all the pages of newspapers. Then, they posed with rucksacks on their backs, and went on to do the dastardly deeds. Now, all Muslims are suspect no matter how much they smile or pretend to be good, or help old ladies across street. They are just a crazed lot (even the uncrazed 'Sir' Zaki Badawi, a liberal former Imam of the Regent's Park Mosque, very much a favourite hate-figure of the radical young, was barred from entering those United States).
There are many confusing signals since 7-7. One Mr Jones came out first, off the No. 30 bus, he said. This was before people started to talk about 'Islamic' bombers, but Mr Jones was already saying that he was irritated by an olive-skinned man who kept fidgeting with his rucksack in a crowded bus. Ah, olive-skinned, unmistakably a Mediterranean Muslim lad.
It was a mad, sad, bad day in London town, with many baffling aspects. The alleged bombers it turned out, bought return tickets in Luton. They left their houses, and being good Muslims in quest of virgins, and martyrdom and Jihad, never said a word to their parents or wives before they left. Yet they carried identity documents, which, reminiscent of another time, were undamaged. They took a rented car, they'd been to the world's hot spots (one even once went to the House of Parliament) and they were regulars at Mosques. One even went to the same mosque as the shoe bomber, and another used to work in a Muslim bookshop.
One, said another report, became so obsessed with praying and the Qur'an that he couldn't live a day without. Oh dearie me then, it's a dangerous religion, is it not? A horrible woman who appeared on Radio 4's Question Time sounded it all for us: They are harking to a mythical time when women were oppressed. I'm sorry I missed her name — but she was American — because I spent too much time trying to figure that out. And then, she said (effectively) they're all mad anyway, try reading all those reports from their press as exposed at the Memri website. Now I've blogged about Memri before, a website notorious for its excitable 'translations' of Arabic press reports, and it originates in er, Israel. But the gist of all this is that it's not Palestine, or Chechnya, or Bosnia, or Afghanistan or Iraq that's getting the goat of these crazed Mussulman, but just their sheer hate, envy, bile, and their irrepressible urge to pull us down.
Ann Widdicombe MP, who once famously called the out-going Conservative leader Michael Howard of 'having something of the night about him', asked today, on British TV, how could they claim to be pained by Palestine (fill in your own troubled Muslim land here)? They're not even there, they're here. Now it's hard to beat reasoning like that.
But what was it they said about Muslims being in semi-denial? Just as many are in denial that Palestinians are being oppressed, that they're not a nation of terrorists just because they're fighting back a brutal oppression, that the walls are being built to destroy totally their lives, that their lands are being taken by force?
But it was a sad, tragic day for Britain. It was a day when many innocent people lost their lives, and they are to be mourned, and please God it will not happen again. And then I have to go further here. Looking at those young lads with rucksacks on their backs, I couldn't help feeling a little something tugging in the heart. Those poor, poor souls, all duped. Who did the duping — mad mullah, sinister preachers, false flag raisers — I don't know, but they have, tragically, been duped, and they paid with their lives, and the lives of others for that.
They're saying now that they're having to pass new legislation to make it illegal to incite hatred, I'll support that one hundred percent. And I hear that it'll also make it illegal to visit extremist web sites. Er, I'm not too sure if I'm for that. These past years I've been having my share of the giggle visiting them, and the more extremist and triumphalist they are (the Muslim ones I mean), the more amusing they became and the more suspicious I got. And of course, they'll be increasing surveillance of Mosques and madrasahs too. Now I think I can better that. I'll suggest to the Imams of Mosques and ordinary Muslims do their bit of infiltration too, and get behind all those people who're recruiting their young lads. Who's behind them, what visible means do they have, of support?
Piping The Pied Piper
Thursday, July 14, 2005
He was a very nice man,
A regular kinda guy.
Played cricket on the green,
He wouldn't hurt a fly,
Helped in his dad's shop
But always with a smile.
Then he met the local beard
with the sinister eye...
His clothes came from Top Shop
He preferred jeans to salwar.
He taught in a primary school
And drove the family car
Last year he made the trip
To the town of Peshawar
Then he started going to the Mosque
From the break of fajr
We never could have thought
He'd be going this way
He was a decent chap
Who knew the time of day
He wasn't a political
animal as you say.
Then he met a funny chap
Who taught him how to pray.
He was quite a bright lad
And a friend of mine too
Only yesterday I saw him
He asked me, "How are you?"
Who'd thought he'd do that
He was not yet twenty-two.
Then he met the maulvi
And they spoke only Urdu.
* * *
She wore the hijab, she wore a string of pearl
She wore the stiletto, always good for a giggle
She died while going to work, with all the other people
A good little lady, a British Muslim girl.
A Regular Kind Of Guy
Monday, July 11, 2005
In his daily life Pak Agus was deputy General Manager of an Indonesian Bank in the metropolis. I say was because he is now on his way home to Indonesia after having done his stint. On the morning of that fateful day he was returning to his office to tie up some loose ends, to say goodbye to his office mates. He took to the bus becasue of incidents — power surges — in the Underground. It was the red No. 30 bus from Hackney. He sat on the top deck, raised his handphone to call his office, then, the next thing he knew, his handphone flew from his hand. When he looked up, the sky was clear from where he sat, and all was quiet around him. The eerie quiet that follows a traumatic burst. There was no one around him in the seats, and bodies were strewn about the floor. He realised he had been in the centre of a terrible force, the roof of the 30 bus had been ripped open.
Pak Agus is a gentle Muslim man who could've been torn apart by what almost everyone — Blair included — is now calling the Islamic Bomb, as if a tool of death, this satanic burst, the searing blast is capable of having a faith. He clambered down the ripped-open bus and walked down to the pavement, then later he was interviewed by a BBC person. What they found remarkable about Pak Agus was his unnerving calm.
If Pak Agus had died he would have been killed by a device that everyone, almost, now says to be the work of mad Muslims. Some of Pak Agus's co-religionists died earlier that morning, in the Kings's cross underground station, in the Aldgate heartland of Bengali Muslims, and in the Edgware Road tube station. One Muslim woman who died was used as an icon by the popular media. She was unhijabed, she sometimes wore a skirt, and she was dubbed a typical Muslim of Britain. Maybe the press wasn't aware of it, but in their haste to judgment, they had made callous stereotypes of who was a British Muslim and who wasn't.
Many died that morning, people who sat near Pak Agus (very close to the centre of the blast), many more elsewhere in the bowels of a tube station. It is feared now that as many as 100 could've died in King's Corss, that tragic station that had suffered a devastating fire in the eighties, with many dead, that still has scars from this expeience.It was a sad, tragic day once again on 7/7. There were tears and fears in that triangle of devastation that resounded to the deathly blast made by dastardly persons unknown.
In the Edgware Road, a Muslim woman — a Malaysian — looked down from her flat to the scene of carnage in the station. She was close to tears as she watched helplessly the mayhem. For the second time she was touched by an incident that was beyond her whim, as she looked aghast at men and women fleeing in panic and traumatised by the destruction. Flashback to 9-11, the same woman (who wears a hejab) was out to dump a bag of rubbish into the bin when she was abused by a respectable looking man on his way to his office, in words the mildest of which was "Bloody Muslim!" She was a woman, a Muslim, and an ordinary person. If you cut her she'd have bled, (when she saw men and women cut up and bleeding on the morning of 7-7, she cried). So she looked aghast at her tormentor the office-worker man, said nothing to him except with pathetic eyes she looked back in the face of an accusation. This time though, it came to a touching end. The man was so moved and so touched by remorse by what he'd done that he came back to hug her, and even carried her bag of rubbish for her to the bin.
Many on the morning of 7-7 and after weren't so lucky. Mosques were hurled with bricks, women in hejab, abused; an Egyptian boy at Heathrow who went to bid his brother farewell was pulled aside by policemen with guns, was handcuffed, and asked what the heck he was doing with a plane ticket in his hand. He managed to free his hands, showed them to the policeman, who said to him, "I could've shot you as a terrorist.". Happily, he went home that night a free man that night.
Pak Agus is now preparing to go home to his native Indonesia where literally thousands died in the tsunami, and he is still a calm person. A quiet Muslim, a practising one with counterparts in the hundreds and thousands and millions all over the earth, never seeking to do harm, ever outraged by the troubles of fellow Muslims in other parts of the earth, but always hoping for peaceful resolution. A man so removed from the wild men image that the world has associated with the Muslim.
He was just going to his office, Pak Agus said. When he left the house that morning, as always, he was in ablution (wudhu'), and when he sat in the bus, as always, quietly he was doing his incantations (zikr). A man who lives and practises what he believes: a different image from the emergng stereotype of the 'Islamic man'.
Man On The Hackney Omnibus
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Even Blair took a trip along this line, Blair who read the Qur'an twice before the invasion of Iraq. This is the work of fanatical Islam, he emphasised, as did most others who spoke. This hysterical note of the Prime Minister contrasted with the tone of another Blair, the Commissioner of Police, who refused to attach the name of Islam to this terrorism.
At least three organisations have already claimed responsiblity for the dastardly acts, and even the name of that Abu Mus'ab character has been brought in in one news report I heard. Three cuckoo websites made a claim on the internet and you took it all from them? These are the hallmarks of the al-Q and their band of men, they said. What band of men? What hallmarks? Simultaneous bombing? Bombs exploding on a bus? Has it all been forgotten? Bombs exploded on a bus in the Aldwych, hardly a mile from the scene of the 7/7 bomb attack in Tavistock Square, during the height of the IRA attacks in London. Bombs exploded almost everywhere you could move on Bloody Sunday in Ireland. And the almost simultaneous triggering of the explosions, does it point to the adapt hands of those desperado Islamic terrorists, or did it open possibilities to an even wider band of professional men and women?
Who stands to gain from chaos, terror, blood and death in central London? How many flase flag incidents already have taken place in the history of disinformation? Such are the skills of the al-Q that at any moment when the tide's gone low, when fortunes are dwindling for their opponents, they come in with an outrage so big that their opponents are revived by their barbarism. Is the al-Q mad, bad, plain daft or what? Who are they in any case that to the West they seem to be speaking for all of Islam?
The world is such that I treat any Muslim organisation with suspicion, be it al-Q or Ansar al-Islam, or Hamas or Hezbollah, not because there are people in there who lack sincerity in their quest, but because it's common knowledge that these organisations are heavily infiltrated, as are many so-called Islamic websites on the net. According to former MI6 agent David Shayler, in 1996 the security outfit he was working for even financed al-Qaeda. Just look at any desperado, any would-be scarificial bomber that you've seen, you'll see among them men who drink at the bar before going out on a mission, former petty criminals who've taken the cudgels of Islam and are going out on bombing missions. In a sermon in a mosque in West London last Friday, the guest Imam asked the question (though his conclusions may differ from mine): all these Abus, the Abu this and Abu that, and there's even one, he said, who went to him with the boastful name of Abu Maut...who are these people? Why are they all here trying to sow dissension in this country that has given them protection?
I became an Abu sceptic myself when one Abu Q, a Muslim 'learned man' who posed for a publicity photograph with his bird's nest beard that glinted on his chin as he sat before a shelf of Islamic tomes (ah, a semiotic haven), turned out to be a man who'd once offered his services to MI6.
This is a time for sadness and regret, and more than at any other, eyes have to be kept open. I say so in the belief that in Islam peace is better than war, persuasion is better than force, and in the belief that if you kill one person unlawfully, it's as if you've killed the whole of mankind. In 1454, the Rabbi Yitzhak Sarfati said to his followers, "Is it not better for you to live under Muslims than under Christians? Here every man may dwell at pace under his own vine and fig tree, here you are alowed to wear the most precious garments." What's happened since?
What's happened since is that Islam has been under siege from without and within, and is it not time for Muslims to show outrage at what's been done in their name, by people from inside and out?
This Sunday morning, the BBC, in its spirit of quiet contemplation, wheeled in that peace-loving dove named Benjamin, the one with Netanyahu as his family name, member of a government out there that was born of terrorism. Within minutes of his appearance he'd already unravelled his bag of tricks, and I've jotted some of them down:
islamist, radical islam, wake up to this threat, they're mad, absolutely mad, but there's a method to their madness, 1990s rise of political Islam, growth of this fantasy ideology, this extraordinary craziness, that attack is not for what we do, but for what we are...This was just minutes after the opposition leader Michael Howard mouthed this much-touted terrorist's reason: "These are people out to destroy our civilisation."
Never mind Afghanistan or Chechnya or Bosnia or Palestine, here is the reason, all packaged for you to carry in your pocket, the mother of all disinformania.
§ Going home to al-Qaeda.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
"It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." — Sherlock HolmesThis is a sad, mad day for London. Suddenly it's 9-11 all over again, and this time it's across the pond. People went out to work, some came back dead. Any death diminishes everyone, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu or people of unbelief.
It is in the interest of scientifc investigation that when anything happens all possible venues must be explored befor one comes to any conclusion. "These are people who have ambitons to destroy our democracy.," says the Home Secretary of Britain. They rolled into the TV studios many professors, many 'experts' in terrorism and even Bush. And they were all confifdent in their conclusion, that the al-Q was behind it.
These attacks have all the hallmarks of the al-Qaeda, said everyone. Blair, experts say the attacks are Islamic, says Yahoo news headline.
Whilst all the evidence are being sifted, they already all have the evidence. These things happen when the Iraq occupation is going badly, when Bush is isolated in the G8 meeting in Scotland, when even Blair is turning against Bush on the environment.
How could anyone be so sure?
Muslims are in the frontline of this terrible act. One of the bombs on the train went off in an area with a large Muslim population, and Muslims themselves were at risk. How could everyone who ought to know better be so sure of who to blame?
And, as the article at this link asks, who stands to gain?
§ Joint Statement from the Muslim Council of Britain and British & Irish Churches
§ Statement from ADC
§ Unknown group claims London attack in Qaeda's name