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Islamists in London....Or "Terror on the Dole"

Discussion in 'Legal' started by hillbilly, Apr 22, 2004.

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  1. hillbilly

    hillbilly Member

    Jul 10, 2003

    Terror on the dole
    By David Cohen, Evening Standard
    20 April 2004
    Four young British Muslims in their twenties - a social worker, an IT specialist, a security guard and a financial adviser - occupy a table at a fast-food chicken restaurant in Luton. Perched on their plastic chairs, wolfing down their dinner, they seem just ordinary young men. Yet out of their mouths pour heated words of revolution.

    "As far as I'm concerned, when they bomb London, the bigger the better," says Abdul Haq, the social worker. "I know it's going to happen because Sheikh bin Laden said so. Like Bali, like Turkey, like Madrid - I pray for it, I look forward to the day."

    "Pass the brown sauce, brother," says Abu Malaahim, the IT specialist, devouring his chicken and chips.

    "I agree with you, brother," says Abu Yusuf, the earnest-looking financial adviser sitting opposite. "I would like to see the Mujahideen coming into London and killing thousands, whether with nuclear weapons or germ warfare. And if they need a safehouse, they can stay in mine - and if they need some fertiliser [for a bomb], I'll tell them where to get it."

    His friend, Abu Musa, the security guard, smiles radiantly. "It will be a day of joy for me," he adds, speaking with a slight lisp.

    As they talk, a man with a bushy beard, dressed in a jacket emblazoned with the word "Jihad", stands and watches over them, handing around cups of steaming hot coffee. His real name is Ishtiaq Alamgir, but he goes by his adopted name, Sayful Islam, meaning "Sword of Islam". He is the 24-year-old leader of the Luton branch of al-Muhajiroun, an extremist Muslim group with about 800 members countrywide, who regard Osama bin Laden as their hero.

    Until recently, nobody took the fanatical beliefs of al-Muhajiroun too seriously, believing that a British-based group so brazenly "out there" could not be involved in something as "underground" as terrorism. The group is led by the exiled Saudi, Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammad, from his base in north London. Yesterday, in a magazine article, Bakri warned that several radical groups are poised to strike in London.

    For all its inflammatory rhetoric, al-Muhajiroun has never been linked to actual violence. Yet, with the discovery last month of half-a-tonne of ammonium nitrate fertiliser - the same explosive ingredient used in the Bali and Turkey terror attacks - and with the arrest of eight young British Muslims in London and the South-East, including six in Luton, extremist groups such as al-Muhajiroun are under the spotlight like never before.

    Detectives fear that the "enemy within", the homegrown extremists leading apparently normal lives in suburbia, now pose the greatest threat to security in Britain. Sayful and his friends fit this "homegrown" profile: three were born here, two came as young children from Pakistan; all were educated in local Luton schools; and they grew up in families of full employment - one of their fathers is a retired local businessman, two are engineers, and two worked in the local Vauxhall car plant.

    The question is: how worried should we be? Is al-Muhajiroun nothing more than a repository for disaffected Muslim youths who have adopted an extreme interpretation of Islam - perhaps to cock a snook at the white establishment - but who are essentially posturing? Or does the group also perform a more sinister function, sucking in alienated young men and brainwashing the more impressionable into becoming future suicide bombers?

    Although none of the arrested Muslims - aged 17 to 32 - appear to be current al-Muhajiroun members, rumours have circulated of informal links to the group. Moreover, parents of the arrested men have spoken anxiously of the "radicalising influence" of al-Muhajiroun militants who " corrupt" their children at mosques.

    Nowhere has this public confrontation between radicals and moderates been more apparent than in Luton, which has the highest density of Muslims in the South-East - 28,000 out of a total population of 140,000 - and has long been regarded as a hotbed of extremism.

    Sayful Islam, for one, is particularly proud of his contribution to Luton's hardline reputation. His exploits include covering the town with " Magnificent 19" posters glorifying the 11 September suicide bombers. "When I joined al-Muhajiroun four years ago, there were five local members," he says. "Now there are more than 50 and hundreds more support us."

    The strange thing is that four years ago, Sayful Islam was a jeans-clad student completing his degree in business economics at Middlesex University in Hendon, north London.

    The son of a British Rail engineer who came to this country from Pakistan, Sayful grew up in a moderate, middle-class Muslim family in Luton. At the local Denbigh High School, he is remembered as one of the smartest kids, and was selected to attend a science masterclass at Cambridge University. He would go on to marry, have two children and find work as an accountant for the Inland Revenue in Luton. He was thoroughly uninterested in politics.

    THEN he met Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammad at a local event. Within two years, he had swapped his decently paid job as an accountant for an unpaid one as a political agitator. What turned him into an extremist? And how far is he prepared to go to achieve his aims?

    Prior to seeing the group at the fastfood restaurant, Sayful meets me at his semi-detached rented home in Bury Park, Luton's Muslim neighbourhood. He no longer works, even though he is able-bodied, he admits, preferring instead to claim housing benefit and jobseeker's allowance. He smiles sheepishly and says the irony is not lost on him that the British state is supporting him financially, even as he plots to "overthrow it".

    "I made a decision that I wanted to follow what Islam really said," Sayful begins, sitting on his sofa in his thowb (a traditional robe) and bare feet. "I went to listen to all the local imams, but I found their portrayal of Islam was too secularised. When I heard Sheikh Omar [the leader] of al-Muhajiroun speak, it was pure Islam, with no compromise. I found that appealing.

    "At the same time," continues Sayful, "wars were happening in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Afghanistan. People were being oppressed simply because they were Muslim. Although I had never experienced racism in the UK, it opened the eyes of a lot of Muslims, including mine."

    But it was the events of 11 September that crystallised Sayful's worldview. "When I watched those planes go into the Twin Towers, I felt elated," he says. "That magnificent action split the world into two camps: you were either with Islam and al Qaeda, or with the enemy. I decided to quit my job and commit myself full-time to al-Muhajiroun." Now he does not consider himself British. "I am a Muslim living in Britain, and I give my allegiance only to Allah."

    According to Sayful, the aim of al-Muhajiroun ("the immigrants") is nothing less than Khilafah - "the worldwide domination of Islam". The way to achieve this, he says, is by Jihad, led by Bin Laden. "I support him 100 per cent."

    Does that support extend to violent acts of terrorism in the UK?

    "Yes," he replies, unequivocally. "When a bomb attack happens here, I won't be against it, even if it kills my own children. Islam is clear: Muslims living in lands that are occupied have the right to attack their invaders.

    "Britain became a legitimate target when it sent troops to Iraq. But it is against Islam for me to engage personally in acts of terrorism in the UK because I live here. According to Islam, I have a covenant of security with the UK, as long as they allow us Muslims to live here in peace."

    HE USES the phrase "covenant of security" constantly. He attempts to explain. "If we want to engage in terrorism, we would have to leave the country," he says. "It is against Islam to do otherwise." Such a course of action, he says, he is not prepared to undertake. This is why, Sayful claims, it is consistent, and not cowardly, for him to espouse the rhetoric of terrorism, the "martyrdom-operations", while simultaneouslylimiting himself to nonviolentactions such as leafletting outside Luton town hall.

    He denies any link between al-Muhajiroun and the Muslims arrested in the recent police raids. But, as I later discover at the fastfood restaurant, not everyone attaching themselves, however loosely, to al-Muhajiroun draws the same line. Two members of the group - Abu Yusuf, the financial adviser, and Abu Musa, the security guard - scorn al-Muhajiroun as "too moderate".

    "I am freelance," says Abu Yusuf, fixing me with his piercing brown eyes. What does that mean? I ask.

    "The difference between us and those two," interjects Abu Malaahim, pointing to Musa and Yusuf, "is that us lot do a verbal thing, [but] those brothers actually want to do a physical thing."

    Referring to the latest truce offered by Bin Laden, and Britain's scathing rejection of it, Abu Malaahim adds: "He tried to make a peace deal. When terrorism happens, you will only have yourselves to blame."

    How far are you prepared to go? I ask.

    "You want to know how far I will go," says Abu Musa, his high-pitched lisp rising an octave. "When Allah said in the Koran 'kill and be killed', that's what I want. I want a martyr operation, where I kill my enemy."

    Are you saying, I probe, that you are looking to kill people yourself ? "Yes," Abu Musa says, "to kill and to be killed." He emphasises each word.

    What's stopped you doing it? "As you know from watching the news," intones Abu Yusuf, "there are brothers who do leave the country and do it." He is referring to the four Muslims from Luton who died fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the two British Muslims, said to have had ties to al-Muhajiroun, who last April left to become suicide bombers in Israel. "In-shallah [ Godwilling], there will be a time to go."

    It is hard to know whether Musa and Yusuf are deadly serious or just pumped full of misguided, youthful bravado. Though I see coldness - even ruthlessness - in their eyes, I sense no malice. Both young men agree, perhaps foolishly, to be quoted using their real names, though they decline photographs - thus illustrating their uncertainty of which way to jump.

    Muhammad Sulaiman, president of the Islamic Cultural Society, the largest of the 14 mosques in Luton, dismisses al-Muhajiroun as "verbal diarrhoea".

    "They are an extreme Right-wing group - the Muslim version of the BNP," he says disdainfully. "They think Muslims should dominate, just like the BNP thinks whites should dominate. They use Islam as a vehicle to promote their distorted beliefs, particularly to unemployed young bloods who are vulnerable."

    ALTHOUGH unemployment in Luton is just six per cent, the rate among Muslim youths is estimated at 25 per cent. "They are no more representative of our Muslim community than the BNP are of the white community."

    Sulaiman insists that Sayful Islam and his crew are not welcome at the mosque. He cannot prevent them praying there, but he will never give them a platform. "I've told Sayful to bugger off and ejected him many times," he says brusquely. "Even Sayful's father, who I know well, thinks his son has been brainwashed."

    But Sayful and his friends laugh at the idea that they are local pariahs. "The mosques say one thing to the public, and something else to us. Let's just say that the face you see and the face we see are two different faces," says Abdul Haq. "Believe me," adds Musa, "behind closed doors, there are no moderate Muslims."

    They also mock the idea that they are attracted to al-Muhajiroun because they have suffered alienation from white society. "Do we look like scum?" they ask. "Do we look illiterate?"

    As they call for the bill, Abu Malaahim flicks open his 3G mobile phone and, with a satisfied grin, displays the image, downloaded from the internet, of an American Humvee burning in Iraq.

    Abu Yusuf says: "That's nothing. I downloaded the picture of the four burnt Americans hanging from the bridge." It's oneupmanship, al-Muhajiroun style.

    Sayful, the only married one in the group, prepares to go home to his wife and children. Before he departs, he says he has a message to deliver.

    "I want to warn that the police raids - if repeated - could create a bad situation.

    "Islam is not like Christianity, where they turn the other cheek. If they raid our homes, it could lead to the covenant of security being broken.

    "Islam allows us to retaliate. That would include" - he tugs his "Jihad" coat tight against the night air - "by violent means."
  2. longeyes

    longeyes member

    Dec 25, 2002
    True West...Hotel California
    /insert sound of whistling past the graveyard/
  3. Quartus

    Quartus Member

    Jan 13, 2003
    Coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

    No, not the terrorists. They're here already.

    I'm talking about the terror.
  4. trapperjohn

    trapperjohn Member

    Apr 14, 2004
    scary times.

    Wait.don't we just have to be tolerant?:rolleyes:
  5. hillbilly

    hillbilly Member

    Jul 10, 2003
    I have sent the above article to the editor of a local paper and to several other folks who think the same way.

    These folks cling to the classic Romantic outlook that people are basically good, and that only severe circumstances drive people to do bad things.

    These folks think that the only reason fundamentalist Muslims turn to terror is because they are in bad straights...they turn to terror because they are hungry, naked, without jobs, with no real hope for the future.

    These folks think that if the mean old stingy, greedy West would just feed, clothe, educate, and employ Islamists there would be no terror.

    These folks shake their heads and wag their tongues at the US.....silly old US, dropping mean old bombs on poor people when we should be giving them food, clothing, education, and jobs instead.

    I wonder what these folks think when they read this article.

    Here are four young Islamists who have been fed, clothed, educated, and employed by the West. They have college educations, professional jobs, and families. And all four are praying to Allah for a nuclear or biological attack on the city in which they currently live.

    I wonder because so far, none of the people I have emailed this news article to have responded to it yet. At least not the people who argue that terror is caused because poor people live in poverty created by the bad policies of evil, arrogant, greedy Western Civilization.

    Yep, feeding, clothing, educating and employing these guys really worked, didn't it?

    These young Islamists even have Euro-socialist universal health care, which is one of the Holy Grails for leftists in the US.

    Apparently, fundamentalist Islam trumps even Euro-socialist universal health care.

  6. armoredman

    armoredman Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    proud to be in AZ
    Add it that England is now registering swords, well, these guys can virtually do what they want to the unarmed sheeple....:mad:
  7. Mr. Bombastic

    Mr. Bombastic Member

    Apr 10, 2003
    The United Kingdom Of Great Britain And Northern I
    I don't think that's true actually. No blades of any type are registered. You might be confusing us with Oz. I'm not saying it'll 'never' happen, but if it was happening now, I would probably have heard something about it.

    Besides, as it stands, it wouldn't matter if all firearms were immediately legalised, because self defence itself is all but illegal.

    Sorry for the off topic post btw.
  8. 7.62FullMetalJacket

    7.62FullMetalJacket Member

    Sep 9, 2003
    Cedar City, Utah

    I am really bothered by having to say this, but the truth hurts. Britain will allow this to continue until the bombs start going off. I hope they will not turn yellow like Spain.

    Yes, tolerance of the "religion of peace" is the answer. It might escape some that these young men were happy until they linked up with the "religious leader."

    UBL offered peace????????? Who exactly is UBL to offer anything? Oh yeah, we have taken Arafat seriously for 40 years. Negotiations with terrorists works real well :rolleyes: .
  9. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    High up in the Rockies
    Can't we.....can't we all.. just get along?

    I believe it was the great British statesman/philosopher Edmund Burke who said:

    "There is, however, a line, beyond which tolerance ceases to be a virtue."
  10. Quartus

    Quartus Member

    Jan 13, 2003

  11. WT

    WT Member

    Jun 11, 2003
    Sounds like the British SAS and Special Branch have some candidates for Rule 556.
  12. Iain

    Iain Member

    Jul 26, 2003
    Sums them up.
  13. fish2xs

    fish2xs Member

    Feb 27, 2003
    Peoples Republic of Massachusetts
    Brutal. I have read in more than one place that the unarmed Jihad of
    Islam is immigration.

    >>These folks think that the only reason fundamentalist Muslims turn to
    >>terror is because they are in bad straights.

    I am coming to the conclusion that the far left refuses to accept
    that some people are just a-h's, unless they have an 'R' after
    their name.

    Ever wonder what happens to the virgin-seeking 'martyrs'?

  14. Gary H

    Gary H Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Some leftist on this board will want us to understand their pain, which, of course, is our fault.
  15. feedthehogs

    feedthehogs Member

    Jan 8, 2003
    As a non-muslim I have not been able to get a conversation going with these radical extremist factions. They look with hate in their eyes at me the infidel.

    Just like alot of minority groups have done, the members of that group have to denounce the actions of the exremist factions.

    If the peaceful Muslim people don't want to be grouped in with the extremists then they better be coming out and denouncing the radical side with a vengence. I really have not seen or heard much of this going on.

    Pretty soon the "don't group us all together" slogans won't work after a few more attacks around the world.

    Discussions in our local shooting group is quite disturbing at times at the sheer hate toward anyone who looks middle eastern.

    What say you peaceful true followers of the Muslim faith, where's your voices these days?

    Is the silence in actuality support for your extremist brothers?
  16. Mr Kablammo

    Mr Kablammo Member

    Jan 3, 2003
    You should have seen the things were being posted on the BBS that was hosted by Al-Muhajiroun and Sheik OBM prior to 9-11. I remember, in particular, after Clinton 'retaliated' for the African Embassy Bombings the group in Tempe, AZ posted a message taunting the FBI. It said something like "We will not quit until the banner of the Prophet flies over the White House", with a graphic. I called the FBI to complain and the agent was rather blase. IIRC, I did a print and mailed with a complaint. Stupidly, I did not keep a copy.

    AM persons also sued Northwest Airlines after being removed from a flight. They were jiggling the cockpit door and asking strange questions. The well known group CAIR put out an action alert to protest the removal and arrests. The lawsuit was thrown out. Stupidly, I did not make a print of the CAIR action alert.

    Sheikh OBM also put a 'Death Fatwa' on Putin and some other world leader, I forget who. He is also on record as saying something like it would be OK to kill half the people in the world as long as you-know-who came out on top. IIRC, OBM has also said something like 'if a Jew is in Moslem territory can capture him like a cow'. But, it might have been Sheikh Hamza of the Finsbury Park Masjid who said that.

    There was a lot of controversy on the board with Hizb-ut-Tahir types.
    Sigh, if you knew where to look, you could see this stuff coming a long way off. And things will get worse before they get better: viz, Iran, Pakistan, etc.
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