By Farrukh Dhondy
May 27, 2017
“Take no pride in the wind
Of reputation — it flounders,
It’s a tempter, a teaser
A vain erection
— From god to tyrant
From Khadi Boli to Hyperbole by Bachchoo
The investigation into the massacre of innocents in Manchester has yielded and will continue to produce facts about the network of terror behind it. The police within 24 hours identified the suicide bomber as Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old Libyan, and subsequently arrested six people in Manchester and interrogated, as well as arrested, Abedi’s family in Libya.
The bomb Abedi detonated was an amateur but sophisticated effort. His friends and colleagues testify that he was too stupid to have put it together, which points to a network of terrorists.
The reactions from politicians have been predictable. Theresa May, in keeping with her “strong and stable” electioneering stance, has raised the terror-threat level to “critical”. This means soldiers will be deployed, not on the streets of UK cities but to protect places such as Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament. This will free the police force to guard places where the public gather, such as the two stadiums, which will see national matches of football and rugby in the next few days.
Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour colleague Andy Burnham, the newly elected mayor of Manchester, have called for “unity”, which is elementary code for “don’t go attacking random brown faces in some misconceived act of public revenge”. The media is naturally intent on insisting that the Salafi, Wahhabi or merely Internet-violence-pornography instigation behind this murdering evil is not representative of Islam and not attributable to the beliefs of the three-and-a-half million Muslims who live in Britain.
Nevertheless, there has been wide discussion as to what, if anything, to do about the 3,500 individuals who are on the registers of the security services as having connections or being influenced by the death-cults. And then there are between 500 and 1,000 British individuals who are known to the security services as having voluntarily journeyed to Syria to join ISIS and have returned to this country.
Some of these may be disillusioned individuals who went there through some deviant ideals and have returned with these shattered. Some women, it is known, who went to Syria as “Jihadi brides” and were widowed and presumably rejected by other death-cultists, have returned to Britain. Still others have fled Syria or Iraq because they anticipate the imminent collapse of Al Big-daddy and his Islamist death cult army.
The ones on the register who are deemed dangerous are those who may have returned having imbibed the skills of do-it-yourself weapon-making and are still apostles of random murder. Abedi, who returned from Libya a few days before he perpetrated this atrocity, had almost certainly journeyed to Syria or Iraq from Libya before returning to Manchester.
It’s also reported that Abedi’s friends and relatives expressed their concerns to MI5, the internal secret service agency, about his braggart views and his avowed allegiance to ISIS.
This is not to say with any certainty that the agencies could have anticipated and prevented his final act. Keeping track of the movements of all those who express extremist views is well-nigh impossible, though in recent cases the intelligence agencies have been able to track and arrest several potential terrorists.
It is difficult in Britain to convict people for their allegiances or opinions. These have to manifest themselves as threats to the public, incitement to hatred, or in some way cross the line between freedom of thought and expression and being a threat to others. After years of propagating hatred in this country, advocate Anjem Choudary was charged and jailed last year for crossing this line when he was finally found guilty of propaganda that broke the law.
Minutes after the carnage of Manchester, the political parties of Britain suspended their campaigns for the general election scheduled for June 8. The campaigns have resumed now and the events in Manchester will inevitably have some bearing on the way people vote.
Ms May has made the drastic reduction of immigration to this country a central tenet of her appeal, promising to reduce immigration from hundreds to tens of thousands. The Tories, when Ms May was home minister and now under Ms May as PM, adopted a shamefully negative policy towards the refugee crisis that hit Europe. As home secretary she promised but failed to reduce immigration, but sections of the electorate won’t notice. The mere promise, together with the tough line on refugees from Syria and Africa (including people who arrive in Europe via Libya), will play well electorally with people who see immigrants and refugees as potential bombers.
It is futile to tell these sections of the British population, some of them working class, some of them well-heeled xenophobes, that the originating root of Jihadism isn’t the free movement of labour or the influx of refugees. It was and is an ideological perversity that has entered Europe initially through the agency of preachers and institutions financed by the aggressively state-sponsored Wahhabism of Saudi Arabia.
When perverse ideologies are backed by billions of dollars, they are likely to spread in insidious ways. Deviant religious views, such as those of Satanists or some black-magic cults haven’t had the century-long backing of rich oil-revenues and haven’t consequently spread poison throughout the world.
The genie of ISIS has now turned against the evil Saudi uncle that conjured it from the oil-lamp and has become its rival in fundamentalist Islamism.
Donald Trump and Ms May have declared themselves against ISIS but their recent sales of billions of dollars of armaments to Saudi Arabia and alliance with it will result in devastation for thousands, even now in Yemen and perhaps in yet unacknowledged ways for more British children.
The sections of the British electorate who attribute terror to immigration are not those who can or will appreciate the source of this upheaval in the Islamic world and consequently in Europe and on 9/11 in New York.