Just in time for the one-year anniversary of 7/7, a poll conducted for The Times of London indicates that 13 percent of British Muslims believe that the four Islamic suicide bombers who murdered 52 people in London last July should be regarded as "martyrs."
With a Muslim population in Britain estimated at 1.6 million, this means that some 208,000 British Muslims regard these killers with what can only be described as a worshipful attitude. Which is despicable. But Mother England, it seems, is home to an awful lot of despicable people.
One of them, surely, is Anjem Choudary, who made related news this week. Choudary is a former leader of Al Mujahiroun -- a defunct, jihad-inciting group, whose venomous pronouncements on Islamic supremacy have earned him a strange prominence in the British media. He refuses to condemn the 7/7 attacks, says Muslims shouldn't help police combat jihad terror, and advocates sharia (Islamic law) for Britain. During a BBC "Newsnight" appearance this year, the host asked Choudary why he didn't simply move to a sharia state like Iran.
"Who says you own Britain, anyway?" Choudary replied. "Britain belongs to Allah. The whole world belongs to Allah. ... If I go to the jungle, I'm not going to live like the animals, I'm going to propagate a superior way of life. Islam is a superior way of life."
In a way, the 39-year-old Essex man was just found guilty of a charge connected to propagating that "superior way of life." It all started last February when Choudary organized a march on the Danish Embassy in London to protest Muhammad cartoons first published in a Danish newspaper. This wasn't one of those anti-Danish protests in which people were killed -- hundreds died around the Islamic world in this year's Days of Cartoon Rage -- but it was definitely murder-minded. "Behead Those Who Insult Islam," said one placard. "Slay Those Who Insult Islam," said another. "Kill Those Who Insult Islam," and (for variety) "Butcher Those Who Mock Islam," said others. Hundreds of demonstrators marched through London, praising the 7/7 killers, or calling for the murder of journalists who publish Mohammed cartoons.
And the police stood by.
More accurately, they made sure the protest went off smoothly, as the Times Online reported. "People who tried to snatch away (the placards) were held back by police," the newspaper said. "Several members of the public tackled senior police officers guarding the protesters, demanding to know why they allowed banners that praised the 'Magnificent 19' -- the terrorists who hijacked the aircrafts used on Sept. 11, 2001 -- and others threatening further attacks on London."
Why, indeed. The "Newsnight" show on which Choudary subsequently appeared included news footage of an English bobby vigorously silencing such a citizen, described as a van driver, who, according to the televised report, had angrily criticized the Muslim protesters. It is tragically enlightening.
"Listen to me, listen to me," said the policeman, shaking his finger at the van driver. "They have a right to protest. You let them do it. You say things like that you'll get them riled and I end up in (trouble). You say one more thing like that, mate, and you'll get yourself nicked (arrested) and I am not kidding you, d'you understand me?"
Van driver: "They can do whatever they want and I can't?"
Policeman: "They've got their way of doing it. The way you did it was wrong. You've got one second to get back in your van and get out of here."
Van driver: (bitter) "Freedom of speech."
This vignette wasn't law and order in action. It was desperate, craven appeasement. As the bobby put it, "You say things like that, you'll get them riled." And we mustn't get them riled. Let Choudary and his band of thugs praise mass killings, threaten more attacks and advocate murder by beheading on London streets in broad daylight -- but don't get them riled.
Still, Choudary did end up in a British court of law, and this week a British judge handed down a verdict. Choudary has been found guilty of ... staging a demonstration without giving the required six days' written notice.
Tsk, tsk. That'll be $1,400 in fines, please -- easy enough to pay since Choudary, the Online Sun reports, receives more than twice that per month in government handouts. All of which makes Pax Britannica seem quite cheap at the price.