uploaded : Thursday 18th Jun 2009 at 00:52
by : Carol Gould
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In Great Britain we have a lot of Muslim commentators. I have no objection to this and most of them are eloquent and erudite.
Rageh Omaar is one of these; I am old enough to remember him bursting upon the scene on BBC in 1992: a beautiful Somali-born reporter who set many a female heart aflutter. As we say in network television, the camera loves him. He left the BBC to work full-time for al-Jazeera English channel in London.
Just before the June speech in Cairo by President Obama Omaar penned an opinion piece in Londonís íEvening Standardí entitled, 'How Britain blew its chance with the Muslim World.' His premise is that Britain 'should stand shoulder to shoulder with Obama as he faces the Muslim world afresh.' Omaar goes on to say that Great Britain ought to have used the Obama victory to 'remake itself in the eyes of the Muslim world.'
Oh, please. Do I want to kowtow to a host of backward nations whose attitudes to women and to religious minorities are medieval? Omaar refers to the 'animosity and mistakes of recent years.' Just whose animosity are we talking about? Much as I mercilessly criticise Britain in my new book, íDonít Tread on Me,í I find it incomprehensible that Rageh Omaar believes íNo other country is as implicated in the most glaring schisms between the West and the Muslim world precipitated by George W Bush as the UK.'
This is laughable on two levels: 1) The pandering to terrorists and the proliferation of extremist British Muslim websites and groups that incite hatred of 'Zionazis' is out of control: if anything, Britain has bent over backwards in the era of multiculturalism to make even the most vile of imams welcome in our green and pleasant land, some of whom would be
regarded as dangerous radicals even in their own countries of origin;
2) Britain has a dynamic and flourishing Muslim community very possibly unmatched anywhere in the West. There are Muslim spokespeople on radio, television, the print media, in politics as high as the House of Lords and in academia and believe me, they are ubiquitous. When BBC broadcaster Yasmin Alibhai-Brown did not eulogise our beloved Queen Mother when she died I was offended but realised this is a dynamic democracy and Yasmin is entitled to her opinion. Imagine if I went on Saudi telly and bashed one of the RoyalsÖ
Where, Mr Omaar, in the Muslim world that you see as so hard done-by, could non-Muslim demonstrators screech anti-government slogans in public squares and hold up incendiary posters without being carted off to an abbatoir for humans? Daniel Pearl tried to 'reach out' to Muslims and was chopped up. Dora Bloch was murdered in Uganda for being Jewish. Ed Dyer, a British music festival attendee in Mali, was beheaded in May by 'al Qaeda in Africa' because they do not like radical imam Abu Qatada being locked up in the UK. As this editorial goes to press we wait to hear the fate of new kidnap victims in the Yemen.
Rageh Omaar says that the July 7th 2005 bombs and other foiled plots were inspired by Muslim rage over British foreign policy. So, when Britain does not do things to make diaspora Burmese, Venezuelans, Chinese or Sudanese in London happy it is OK for them to blow up our buses? Omaar says that Obama has taken a firm stand against Israeli settlement building and that had Gordon Brown done the same 'Britainís interests' would have been served. Is this a veiled threat to Britainís security? Hello? Is anyone listening?
Omaar says that standing up to Israel means Britainís security is improved and limits the opportunity 'British-born jihadists have in using Muslim disaffection at British foreign policy as a primary tool for radicalising young Britons.' Why should there be ONE jihadist in Britain? Hindus have lived in the UK for decades but where are their radicals? When Jews are murdered around the world is this a valid excuse for young Anglo-Jews to become violent radicals? In Mumbai the Chabad rabbi and his family were brutally tortured to death; have any young Jewish men gone out to attack Muslims in the East End?
What does he mean when he keeps repeating that it is high time for Britain to be 'improving our image in the Muslim world?' A nation with umpteen theatres, symphony orchestras and opera and ballet companies; total equality for women; gay and transvestite bars; newspapers and a press that is free and energetic is supposed to 'improve its image' to mullahs and dictators? What the hell is going on here?
Rageh Omaar tells us that Britain is 'still associated with the original crime.' If this isnít some kind of Freudian form of negative transference I donít know what is. The 'original crime?' When 9/11 happened Israel had already endured a year of unmitigated violence in the al Aqsa Intifadah (I am one of a handful of people who actually believe it was cack-assed for the world to be offended by Ariel Sharon going to the Temple Mount. How many Jews went nuts and rioted and killed when Arafat and Ahmadinejad toured New York?); before 9/11 there were no British 'crimes' I can ascertain that would have provoked the attack. Original crime?
Omaar refers to Foreign Secretary David Milibandís failure to reach out to the Muslim world when Obama came into office, and his missing an opportunity for a 'new start.' A new start? How about the Muslim nations making a 'new start' and letting Christians worship and thrive as they wish, as Christian Britain allows Muslims and other faiths to thrive and worship on our soil? How about a 'new start' in the Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Somalia and Jew-free ( and almost Christian-free) Libya and Pakistan? How about a new start for political dissidents in Egypt and Syria?
I suggest Mr Omaar, instead of telling us that he fears ďit is too late' look to his fellow Muslims and ask why a British schoolteacher in Sudan nearly lost her life because she suggested the kids name a teddy bear Mohammed. It is a fact that the Muslim world sees the Coalition invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and the Israeli attack on Hamas in Gaza as a series of giant crimes perpetrated by the Crusader West aided and abetted by the Great Zionist-loving Satan America. Rageh Omaar says the Tories have a 'burning desire to rid themselves of the stigma' of having voted for the invasions. He says the recent Obama speech in Cairo will go a long way to healing these wounds. He rejoices in the idea that Obamaís words will be written about and celebrated 'from Casablanca to Calcutta, Dar es Salaam to Dubai.'
Can Rageh therefore explain why during the pre-Sharon, pre-Rumsfeld, pre-Cheney peaceful time of the Clinton presidency the American embassies in that very same Dar es Salaam and Nairobi were blown to smithereens by Muslims? What had the USA done to deserve the carnage these atrocities engendered? What had Buddhists done to the Taliban to make them destroy the ancient Bamiyan statues in Afghanistan?
And lest we forget, Rageh Omaar, that had it not been for the tens of thousands of American, Canadian and British men of valour slaughtered on the beaches of Normandy sixty-five years ago, there would be no newspaper for your opinions, just a Thousand Year Reich. Those soldiers died so that Muslims can march in freedom in London calling for Jihad. Their sacrifice is no 'original crime' but the gift of absolute liberty, something Ragehís world needs to start cultivating.
Enough of my rage. Rageh Omaar needs to know that no matter how much 'reaching out ' is done there will always be jihad and mayhem and Jew-baiting and persecution of Christians. He needs to get to work on his own people before accusing Britain of committing 'the original crime.'
This article first appeared on Pajamas Media in a contractual 48-hour embargo arrangement:
Carol Gould is the London-based, Philadelphia-born author of Donít Tread on Me: Anti-Americanism Abroad, Spitfire Girls, and A Room at Camp Pickett, a play about her motherís experiences as a WAC in World War II; she has just completed films about black GIs and GI babies. Carol has been a panelist on BBC's Any Questions?, hosted by Jonathan Dimbleby, and is a commentator on Sky News, Press TV, the BBC World Service, and Five Live and writes for Pajamas Media and CurrentViewpoint.
The link to the original Rageh Omaar editorial: