Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Gunpowder, Treason & Plot

Commentary by Martin Kelly
September 22, 2002

“Remember, remember the 5th of November, Gunpowder, Treason and Plot” goes the nursery rhyme about the Catesby Gang’s attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605 and restore Catholicism as the established church. It’s comforting to know we’ve moved away from a world where terrorism is perpetrated by bearded religious bigots with a funny taste in hats. No Susan Sontag or Camp X-Ray for those boys, they were racked and hung as quickly as possible. The legend is that Guy Fawkes got such a going over by the authorities that he had to be helped up the steps of the gibbet, caught by the vigilance of a security guard and proof of the fact that it helps for everyone to keep their eyes open. In fairness to Guy he had packed so much gunpowder into the cellar that it was hard not to notice, like Al-Muhajiroun supporters taking flying lessons in Arizona.
Al- Muhajiroun, the current brigade of Her Majesty’s Holy Warriors were on parade at the Finsbury Park mosque in London last Wednesday. They were holding a meeting entitled, “September 11th: A Towering Day in History”, which had been advertised by a pamphlet showing the North Tower of the World Trade Centre on fire and a hijacked aircraft banking to attack the South Tower. The headline on the pamphlet read, “Remember, remember the 11th of September”. Apart from desktop publishing, the 2002 class have other tools in the kitbox; they’ve got the Home Office, the Department of Social Security and multiculturalism on their side.
Addressing the meeting were a trio of well-known activists whose shared Napoleonic delusion is that they are going to turn the UK into an Islamic state. The first is the leader, or “spiritual leader” of Al-Muhajiroun, Omar Bakri Mohammed. A Syrian, Bakri is so radical that even the Saudis kicked him out – in 1986. His application for asylum was refused, but instead he holds the status of having “indefinite leave to remain”. He now has six children, receives £300 a week in state benefits and resides in a council house. God is Great! The second is Yasser al-Siri. An Egyptian, Al-Siri is a convicted child killer. In 1993 he was convicted in his absence of involvement in a plot to assassinate a former Egyptian Prime Minister that ended in the death of a girl of 14. Because the UK abolished the death penalty in 1966, we aren’t prepared to extradite him. The UK used to complain that the USA took too long to extradite IRA suspects. I suppose the Egyptians now know how we felt. Al-Siri was also acquitted earlier this year of providing a letter of introduction for the assassins of Ahmad Shah Massoud on September 9th last year. He runs the Islamic Observatory Centre in North London. Not for nothing does the French Secret Service refer to the UK’s capital as “Londonistan”. Al-Siri is another recipient of Her Majesty’s benevolent dole.
The third is Mustafa Kamel, nom de guerre Abu Hamza al-Masri, Imam of Finsbury Park, British citizen, FBI terror suspect and former peepshow bouncer. Finsbury Park is unfortunately famous as the mosque at which those solid citizens Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui worshipped. The High Court in London has issued an injunction restraining Hamza from preaching. However, such is the ethnic squeamishness of the Metropolitan Police that they have not enforced it, enabling Hamza to engage in contempt of court every time he gets into the pulpit. Hamza is wanted for questioning in Yemen in relation to terror activities. The FBI wishes to extradite him to answer questions about his relationship with alleged Al Qa’eda spotter James Ujaama. Muzzy’s a regular guy. Apparently, his congregation contains the highest number of Egyptian and Jordanian intelligence agents of any mosque in the country.
Of course, the ultimate aim of the Finsbury Park Gang, like the Catesby Gang all those years ago, is to foment sedition and civil war. These men aren’t shakedown artists, they are deadly serious revolutionaries. One on Camp X-Ray’s British residents is Feroz Abassi, a Ugandan-born Londoner and another Finsbury Park regular. Another three are from the town of Tipton in the West Midlands, and are all Al-Muhajiroun affiliates. The “Tipton Taliban” (as the British press have jokingly described them) provide a perfect prism of not only how difficult it is to recruit potential terrorists with the correct mindset, but also how difficult it is for the British mindset to understand the nature of the threat they really pose. The lads have been asking how their favourite soccer teams, Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion, have been playing. They don’t understand that if Bakri and Hamza had their way, there wouldn’t be a Man U or WBA. On the other hand, the British don’t really understand that, if said sincerely, the words “Long Live Osama! Death to the Great Satan!” are just as menacing in a flat West Midlands accent as they are in that of any other accent represented in X-Ray.
The prelude to the September 11th meeting was held at the Euston Park Hotel at the end of August. Bakri and Hamza scheduled a news conference at which they said they were going to declare a fatwa. The media turned up and found that the boys wanted to charge a fee of £30 for admission. In a unique display of solidarity, Her Majesty’s Press declined. Bakri was later seen wandering down Euston Road, muttering that there wouldn’t be a fatwa that day. The Saudis must have got out of the charity business.
The September 11 meeting itself was poorly attended, heavily policed and boycotted by the other British Nazis, the British National Party. How we’ve moved on from the 1940’s, when we have two competing sets of fascist ideologies shouting at each other in streets that fascists levelled with bombs for years. It’s sometimes easy to forget just who won the Second World War. Of course, the vast majority of British Muslims deplore Bakri and Hamza. Finsbury Park is the only mosque in the country that has gone radical. However, Bakri and Hamza have made such a noise and their followers have behaved so badly that the whole community is terrified of being tarred with the same brush. They are the ones who have to live in the council districts of the North of England where the BNP has made an electoral impact, in an anti-multicultural backlash.
Ultimately, Bakri and Hamza are a pair of sinister, dangerous twisters who wrap themselves in the cloak of religion in order to pursue their own vision of power. We make the mistake of not taking them seriously enough. If they say they want to keep the UK’s nuclear deterrent after they’ve achieved their goal, we would know how truly uncommitted to peace they really are. They may aspire to lead an Islamic version of Sinn Fein, which abused the democratic process while its leadership was elbow deep in organising murder. We have seen the likes of Bakri and Hamza before. In 1605, to be precise.