- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 10, 2005

Almost certainly al Qaeda or one of its allies murdered and maimed random, defenseless civilians in London last Thursday. According to the BBC, “al Qala’a,” an Islamist Web site used as a conduit by al Qaeda in the past, carried a claim of responsibility that read, in part: “Rejoice, for it is time to take revenge against the British Zionist Crusader government in retaliation for the massacres Britain is committing in Iraq and Afghanistan. The heroic mujahideen have carried out a blessed raid in London.”

People who can use a word like “blessed” to describe men, women and children being blown to pieces or having their eyes gouged out by flying glass or losing limbs are not just barbarous, they are twisted. Theirs is a perversion of mind and spirit that almost defies imagination. But, fortunately, they are also not very smart.

By committing such atrocities, the Islamists manage to stiffen whatever small residue of resolve remains in flaccid Western civilization. Before the vicious attacks on London civilians, the G-8 conference in Scotland focused primarily on global warming, poverty in Africa, and economic matters. But now the leaders of the industrial giants will inevitably turn their attention to the war on terror.

The Islamists could make huge strides in their campaign to undermine Western societies if they used any tactic other than terror. And, in fact, in Great Britain, they have made incredible progress by playing upon Britain’s overindulgence of any minority complaint. Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes keeps a running chronicle of British abjectness on his Web site (Danielpipes.org).

c Example 1: The University of Leicester NHS [National Health Service] Trust is considering removal of Gideon Bibles from its hospital rooms, out of concern their presence might “offend” non-Christian patients.

• Example 2: Mr. Pipes quotes the Sunday Times to the effect that the Inland Revenue, Britain’s equivalent of our Internal Revenue Service, “is considering recognizing polygamy for some religious groups for tax purposes. Officials have agreed to examine ‘family friendly’ representations from Muslims who take up to four wives under sharia, the laws derived from the Koran. Existing rules allow only one wife for inheritance tax purposes. The Revenue has been asked to relax this so that a husband’s estate can be divided tax-free between [sic] several wives.”

• Example 3: The warden at Belmarsh Prison, temporary quarters of Abu Hamza Al-Masri, the Islamist leader charged with crimes ranging from inciting racial hatred to murder, plans to spend $3 million on a mosque for the prison. The facility already maintains a multidenominational chapel. But this is unacceptable to the Muslim inmates, some of whom are suspected al Qaeda members, because it displays crosses.

And speaking of Al-Masri, the British taxpayer has been most generous to the accused terrorist who blew off his own hand and lost an eye making a bomb.

• Example 4: Al-Masri plans to sue the British government for the 200 pounds a week in welfare he says he is owed for almost three years. This would complement the other benefits he receives. Mr. Pipes reports al-Masri receives a rent-free 500 pounds-a-month house in which his wife and eight children live; 2 million pounds of taxpayer funds to pay for his now-seven-year legal battle against deportation; special help in jail to bathe, dress and eat due to his disabilities, as well as a personal nurse who visits him daily; and a new hook.

• Example 5: A pizzeria in Scotland applied for a permit to put tables on the sidewalk outside its restaurant. This met with angry resistance from two Muslim charities who said the plan was “offensive” because alcohol would be served out doors.

If the Islamists had but the patience to play upon the guilt-ridden West’s weakness, they might have their victory in a few decades. Leaning over backward has become so common in the West that its enemies could reasonably wonder whether any spine remained at all. Brutal attacks like that in London snap us back to reality and remind all but the most weak-minded Europeans and Americans that appeasement is nothing less than slow surrender.

Mona Charen is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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