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The Anti-War Movement and Muslim Extremism
Last uploaded : Friday 15th Sep 2006 at 01:39
Contributed by : Simon Waldman


The failed terror plots following the 7 July attacks in London have again highlighted the problem Britain is facing with the home-grown suicide bomber. Six percent of British Muslims, according to a YouGov poll commissioned by the Daily Telegraph, insist the 7 July London bombings were justified. A further 56 percent said that they understand why some might want to behave this way. Although it has been generally recognised that the radicalisation process comes from extremist elements within the Muslim community, the role of the leftist anti-war movement has been understated.

The Stop the War coalition was formed on 21 September 2001 following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. They oppose the war on terror but openly support the Palestinian Intifada. They have organised numerous large scale protest marches across the United Kingdom. The London demonstration just before the war in Iraq on 15 February 2003 attracted around one million people, possibly the largest public demonstration in British history. The coalition comprises of affiliates from mainly far left groups such as the Socialist Workers Party, Communist Party of Britain, Respect and the International Socialist Resistance in addition to trade union representatives. Other affiliates include the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), Campaign for Nuclear Disarmaments (CND) and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

The stated aim of the Stop the War coalition is to stop the war on terrorism that America and her allies are engaged in. But their activities have attracted Islamist extremists and become a de facto open forum for Islamo Fascism. It is no secret that groups such as Hizb ut Tahir and the now disbanded al-Mujaharoun were present at the coalition’s rallies. Their Radical Islamist propaganda and mindset remains relatively unchallenged by the anti-war movement. Some have even encouraged it. In July 2004 the London Mayor and outspoken anti-war critic Ken Livingstone embraced the Muslim Brotherhood cleric Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a militant homophobe and advocate of suicide bombing. He was hailed by the mayor as a “moderate” and received the red carpet treatment when he visited London.

Along with the usual declarations that President Bush and Prime Minister Blair are terrorists, it is very common to see at anti-war demonstrations extremist Muslims angrily chanting slogans such as “Bush, Blair you will pay, Hezbollah is on the way”. Some cry “Jihad, Jihad” while carrying banners that equate Israel, Britain and the United States with Nazi Germany. Some carry home-made placards that feature pictures of dead children decorated with blood red baby hand prints containing the warning that “Israel will pay with blood”. Some Muslim parents think it appropriate to dress their children with the green headband sported by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip. Some Muslim boys mask their faces with kaffiahs, the Arab head dress famously worn by the late Yasser Arafat, holding official Socialist Worker Party placards declaring President Bush the “World’s #1 terrorist”.

Extremist rhetoric is made to appear acceptable at the protests because some politicians, usually from the parliamentary left, such as Tony Benn MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Respect MP George Galloway and Ken Livingstone, enthusiastically participate. On 3 August 2006, at an official Stop the War coalition demonstration protesting Israel’s war against Hezbollah, George Galloway declared that Hezbollah is not a terrorist organisation and that Hassan Nasrallah is the real leader of the Arab people. He then gave a blood curdling cry of “victory to the resistance” which was met with cries of “Allah Akbar” (God is great). At the same protest the Islamic Human Rights Commission gave out banners and T-shirts declaring “we are all Hezbollah now”. Indeed.

By pandering to Islamo Fascism, the left has obtained political clout in both the electoral process and on the streets. George Galloway’s election campaign in the 2005 general election managed to out seat Oona King, one of the few black (and Jewish) MPs in the United Kingdom. Galloway’s political campaign was marked by outbreaks of scuffles, threats and vandalism perpetrated by anti-war protesters.

With democracy and freedom of speech comes responsibility. While freedom of speech and the engagement in the political process should be encouraged, allowing protesters to incite violence is not only unlawful, it is irresponsible. The anti-war movement has chosen potential political capital over responsibility. Its unwillingness to stop Islamist extremism at their demonstrations has given the perception to Muslim youth that violence is legitimate.

Simon A. Waldman is the former National Secretary of the Zionist youth movement Betar-Tagar UK.


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