‘Population Bomb’

This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.

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A week after an Al-Qaeda plot to destroy at least five transatlantic airliners simultaneously was foiled, British intelligence considers that an attack is “likely.” Security at Heathrow and all other British airports is at unprecedented levels, causing misery for tourists and business travelers.

The political aftershocks reverberate. Police continue to question some two dozen suspects, all Muslim. Forensic investigations, which are concentrated in a district of London called Walthamstow, have already shown that this was a sophisticated, international conspiracy which, like those that led to the 7/7 London bombings last year, received training and orders from Pakistan but was essentially home-grown and included white, middle-class converts to Islam.

Once again, the British Muslim community has come under scrutiny — and its largely self-appointed leaders don’t respond well to criticism. The mere mention of passenger profiling, which would mainly focus on young Muslim men who fit the terrorist profile, met with accusations of racial discrimination from Britain’s most senior Muslim policeman, who told an expert from the Manhattan Institute that it would amount to a new offense of “travelling while Asian.” An allergic reaction greets even the gentlest hints that not enough is being done to prevent the radicalization of Muslim youth or to improve co-operation with the police.

Instead, there is a concerted attempt by Muslim leaders — aided and abetted by the opposition parties — to shift the blame for the growth of Islamic terrorism in Britain onto Tony Blair’s participation in the war on terror. The term “foreign policy” has become a code-word in the political lexicon, used as a catch-all excuse for the “alienation” of young Muslims which supposedly “drives them to terrorism.”

This is an ultimatum to the effect that, unless Britain abandons its support for America and Israel, or for the elected governments in Iraq and Afghanistan, then it cannot expect Muslims to refrain from blowing up airliners, trains, or buses. Mr. Blair, not Islam, is the Frankenstein who has created the monster of terrorism. If the British want the terror to stop, they had better follow the Spanish example and change their government, or at least their prime minister.

There is a word for this sinister logic — it is blackmail. A classic case was the open letter to Mr. Blair that appeared in whole-page advertisements two days after the security alert, signed by most of the country’s Muslim politicians and organizations. Entitled, “Protect civilians wherever they are,” the letter equated victims of Islamist terrorism in the West with Lebanese or Palestinian casualties in conflicts with Israel. Claiming that “the debacle of Iraq and now the failure to do more to secure an immediate end to the attacks on civilians in the Middle East” had put “civilians at increased risk both in Britain and abroad,” the authors warned Mr. Blair to “change our foreign policy to show the world that we value the lives of civilians wherever they live and whatever their religion.” The subtext here, spelt out in an article by Inayat Bunglawala, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, is that “the West regards the spilling of Muslim blood as being of little importance.”

As a response to one of the most evil conspiracies ever to be hatched, this and other statements by Muslim leaders were not just inadequate, but alarming. The mere suggestion that British foreign policy may be influenced by threats of terrorism, and that the Islamic tail might be wagging the British dog, is deeply damaging.

Meanwhile, the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, gave an interview to Mike Wallace of CBS this week which was anything but reassuring. When Mr. Wallace interrupted a rant to ask about the Iranian missiles used by Hezbollah against Israel, Mr. Ahmadinejad briefly dropped his guard and snapped, “Are you a Zionist agent or a journalist?” The interviewer, nonplussed, replied that he was a journalist. “That is not journalism,” hissed the former hostage-taker. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, journalism is part of the jihad against the West. In the Iranian press, Iran’s nuclear ambitions are pacific. “The bomb is a thing of the past,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said.

But there are reasons to think that Mr. Ahmadinejad’s apocalypse may be a thing of the future — even imminent. In his letter to President Bush last May, he claimed that “those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems.” Since then we have seen a fullscale assault on Israel. The ceasefire in Lebanon, even if Hezbollah does not break it, merely indicates that the jihad will change front.

According to Bernard Lewis and other experts, the date of August 22 has a special significance for Mr. Ahmadinejad. He has designated this as the day to deliver his definitive response on the nuclear issue. But it is also the anniversary of Mohammad’s “Night Journey” from Mecca to Jerusalem, accompanied by the Angel Gabriel. The section of the Koran that bears this title includes a reminder to the Israelites that God has twice punished them by destroying the Temple in Jerusalem. The fear is that an attack on Jerusalem, or perhaps Tel Aviv, may be planned for August 22.

Professor Lewis believes that Mr. Ahmadinejad and other Islamists like him do not accept the logic of mutual assured destruction that kept the peace during the Cold War, and has also deterred India and Pakistan from nuclear warfare. Such Islamists believe that the deaths of Muslims, even on a colossal scale, in the course of jihad are no obstacle to the destruction of Israel and the ultimate conquest of the West. Muslims who die in a nuclear conflict would have the privileges of martyrdom without the struggle, “Allah will know his own.” Convinced as they are that the downfall of the “House of War” (i.e. non-Muslims) is nigh, they will do whatever is necessary to overwhelm Israel with a second Holocaust.

It is not the West that regards the spilling of Muslim blood as of little importance, but the Muslims themselves. The Islamists are eager to turn the Palestinians, the Lebanese, the Iranians, the Iraqis, the Afghans, and indeed the entire Muslim world into a “population bomb” (the hideous phrase of Sheikh Qaradawi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood). Is this what the privileged Muslims of the West want for themselves and their children? And if not, why are they making common cause with those who do?


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