Yesterday (as you all will know by now), Westminster was the victim of an attack reminiscent of events in Nice last July, which saw pedestrians mowed down by a truck.
Similarly, the London attacker ran over pedestrians in a car, before crashing and exiting the vehicle, stabbing a police officer to death and subsequently being shot by armed officers.
As I begin to write, just five minutes ago Theresa May confirmed in parliament that the attacker had been previously known to MI5 as a ‘peripheral figure’ related to Islamic extremism.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, took five hours to respond to news of the attack, for which he has received just condemnation.
However, I’d like to take a look at the Mayor’s comments yesterday evening and this morning with regard to the attack and his position on the perpetrators of such things.
Khan responded, first and foremost, by saying that “Londoners will not be cowed by terror”, and on this point I believe he is right; London has shown extraordinary resilience in the face of these attacks, in the past and more recently (despite Khan’s lack lustre leadership), and has demonstrated that business in the capital will not cease for fear of onslaught.
Khan also commented: “London is the greatest city in the world and we stand together in the face of those who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life.”
However, the way of life you may be thinking of may differ somewhat from that which Sadiq Khan is talking about.
Khan was the recipient of heavy criticism for his link to segregation during the Brexit voting last year, when he was photographed speaking at a remain rally at which the women were all veiled, and stood in a distinct group behind the men.
Khan was also accused, almost a year ago, of following two IS supporters on Twitter, and has been filmed calling moderate Muslims “Uncle Toms” (a derogatory term used to describe people as subservient and one related to race baiting), in a clear dismissal of the liberal values held by some Muslims in the UK.
During Prime Ministers Question Time last April, Khan was accused by (then Prime Minister) David Cameron of sharing a platform with yet another IS supporter:
“The leader of the Labour party is saying it is disgraceful. Let me tell him, Suliman Gani – the honourable member for Tooting [Sadiq Khan] has appeared on a platform with him nine times. This man supports IS [Islamic State]. I think they are shouting down this point because they don’t want to hear the truth.”
Whether Gani supports or supported IS remains to be seen, but either way he is a well known radical preacher of Islam – and not exactly a proponent of the London way of life in the classical sense.
Sadiq Khan made another interesting comment which is deserving of attention last night, when he described attacks like yesterday’s as “part and parcel” of city life.
What a life! What a thing to tacitly accept!
To be sure, terror attacks are not a part of the contemporary world which are to be accepted as inevitable: quite the opposite.
What is necessary in the avoidance of future attacks in the same vein, is the same thing distinctly absent from the discussion of which the Mayor’s normalising comments are just a microcosm: a discussion of why this happened.
If yesterday’s events were an IRA attack or enacted by a Communist group (remember, two of the top five terror organisations in the world are Communist groups and not so long ago the IRA was a serious domestic threat), I believe there would be widespread discussion of not only any recent violence to stem from those ideologies, but probably a myriad of fingers pointing at the bloody history of the Troubles, or the USSR.
Certainly, questions of motives and beliefs would be raised more readily than they are in the case of Islam.
Yes, what is required to solve the problem of Islamic terror is a discussion of what it is in Islam and the surrounding culture that gives rise to such violence – not just in the Western world, but the Islamic world itself.
It is a discussion which must encompass and highlight apologists like Sadiq Khan who refuse to link their religion to the violence it emits, but are proud to see it praised for the most basic acts of morality.
It must include the likes of Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, Numan Kurtulmus, who has said he plans to flood Europe with 15,000 migrants per month as a sort of human ammunition.
The discussion requires Angela Merkel of Germany and Isabella Lövin of Sweden to come clean with their crime statistics (neither country publish the number of convictions or prison population by ethnicity or country of origin for fear of public backlash against immigration policies).
Perhaps most vitally of all, in terms of attacks upon Western countries, it requires the Muslim community to look at itself and say “how did this happen? Why is this happening?”, and address the problems in it’s backyard.
The narrative that the violence and the religion are in no way linked, other than in a state of ideological perversion is dying a long deserved death.
A recent CNRS poll in France found that, of a sample group of 7,000 Muslim girls aged between 14-16, 24% refused to condemn the Charlie Hebdo killings and 21% would not condemn the Bataclan theater massacre.
33% in the survey agreed that it was acceptable to participate in violence for the sake of Islam – that’s a full third.
Of course, the French media quickly attempted to shut things down, Newspaper Le Monde saying such figures would “open a Pandora’s box” amid concerns directed towards far right movements on the continent.
The irony is that far right movements have historically festered where there is censorship or where these conversations are suppressed – and Europe in the twenty-first century is no exception to this rule.
The liberal media and leftist governments are doomed to fail in their task of avoiding the conversation at all costs: we are having it whether they like it or not.
There will come a point at which these attacks (not to mention the other issues Islam brings with it wherever it goes, in Asia, Africa or Europe) will no longer be tolerated.
If the Islamic community does not condemn the violence, the rape, the denigration and xenophobia before such a point is reached: they will be sure to have lost their voice in the discussion for a long time, if not for good.