Concerns have been raised that in the huge pro-Palestinian demonstrations over the Hamas-Israel battle, the police have taken hardly any action against unlawful calls for the destruction of Israel, murder of Jews and Islamic holy war. One reason could be that the forces of law and order have themselves been compromised.
Attiq Malik, the chairman of the London Muslim Communities Forum, who was invited into the Metropolitan Police operations room last month to observe the police response to the demonstrations, had led chants of “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” at a pro-Palestinian rally in 2021 and has also railed against “global censorship by the Zionists”. The Met has now severed its relationship with him.
The Crown Prosecution Service has been accused of dragging its heels over providing operational guidance for the police about the demonstrations. Last week the House of Lords was told that Mohammed Kozbar, a member of the prosecutors’ “scrutiny panel” on hate crime, had publicly praised the founder of Hamas as “the master of the martyrs of the resistance”.
None of this would surprise anyone who has been paying attention to the way Britain has handled Islamic extremism, or Islamism, over the past few decades.
Back in 2006, I published my book Londonistan, which charted how the political and security establishment, reinforced by the courts, had systematically appeased Islamic extremism to put the nation at risk. In the 1990s, the British state entered into what was called a “covenant of security” with Britain’s Islamists. This was an unspoken agreement that if the British authorities left them alone there would be no blood on the streets.
As Islamist radicalisation increased, so did the appeasement. The authorities tried to buy off the extremists by supporting the Palestinians against Israel, challenging not Islamist ideology but Islamophobia and, most lethal of all, recruiting “non-violent religious extremists” into the heart of government to combat the violent ones. The radicals were treated as clowns, freedom fighters or crazy primitives engaged in incomprehensible feuds.
The British establishment couldn’t understand religious fanaticism. It wouldn’t accept that Islam fused theology and political power. It still doesn’t understand what it has allowed to grow within its own society.
Islamic religious authorities are calling Muslims across the world to holy war. A few days ago the Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars announced a fatwa, or authoritative decree, “underscoring the duty to support Palestine on religious, political, legal, and ethical grounds” and calling for “rapid and effective action by Islamic governments and their official military forces to halt the Zionist aggression”.
The Egyptian news site Youm7 has reported that a fatwa issued by Al Azhar university in Cairo (known as “Islam’s Vatican”) has declared: “The term ‘civilians’ does not apply to the Zionist settlers of the occupied land. Rather, they are occupiers of the land, usurpers of rights, deviators from the straight path embodied by the prophets.” This fatwa puts supreme religious authority behind a statement intended to reach all Muslims that every Israeli Jew is an enemy combatant and a legitimate target for attack.
For Islamists, Jews and “Zionists” are interchangeable. From the moment the Hamas atrocities became known, imams and other preachers in a number of British mosques were recorded inciting the faithful against “the filth of the Jews”, to “curse the Jews and the children of Israel … tear them apart and destroy their homes” and to pray for victory to the “mujahideen” or jihadi holy warriors.
For Islamic extremists, the war against the Jews is intimately connected to the war against the West. From the intellectual father of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sayyid Qutb, to Osama bin Laden, Hamas and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, such fanatics believe Islam must wage war to the death against western modernity — and that behind western modernity are the Jews, the supposed fount of global evil. Of course, many Muslims in Britain are horrified by this and have nothing to do with extremism. An ICM poll this year suggested 4 per cent of British Muslims would sympathise with a terrorist act and 83 per cent would condemn it.
Nevertheless, the Islamist challenge to the West is causing difficulties across Europe. In Germany, Muslims on the anti-Israel demonstrations were recorded saying that they will become the majority, abolish the German constitution and replace it with sharia. “We are ordered to occupy Germany,” said one. These demonstrations aren’t just a protest about “Palestine”. Fuelled by exultation over the murder of Israeli Jews, they represent an ecstatic escalation of the intended subjugation of the West.
What can be done? For starters the government should ban the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizb ut-Tahrir and Iran’s Islamic Republican Guards Corps. It should arrest the preachers spewing anti-Jewish incitement, shut down those mosques and deport foreign extremists. Such measures would produce instant cries of “Islamophobia” and would be blocked by human rights lawyers.
There’s the rub. As others have said, if a liberal society refuses to take the illiberal measures that may become necessary to protect its liberal precepts, it will be destroyed. Britain and the West are about to test that baleful idea.