- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 14, 2005

LONDON. — Well, in less than a week it appears the British authorities got them. But what are they? The BBC last week edited out the word “terrorist” in its coverage of July 7’s subway and bus bombings in favor of the word “bombers.”The BBC believed the word would be less offensive to certain aggrieved British groups.

Yes, terrorists have feelings too. Now that the men who committed these grisly crimes appear to be Islamicists with terrorist sympathies and suicidal intent, can we call them terrorists? Can we call them Muslim terrorists? Can we call them Muslim suicide bombers and terrorists?

London was stalwart and inspiring last week. In the aftermath of the, dare I say, terrorist attacks, the Londoners went about their business, vowing to apprehend the criminals and otherwise carrying on just as they had during the War whose victory they celebrated on the weekend — German sensibilities be damned. But the longer I am in London, the more I discover unsettling undercurrents within the government and among elites. One applies politically correct rules to news coverage. Another outlaws free speech related to the treatment of Islamofascism and the bloody consequences of Islamofascism.

One of the first concerns of some after the bombing was about “backlash.” Frankly I did not know at first to what the term was supposed to refer. Did it refer to overreaction by government, say, London exerting some sort of pressure against foreign countries that harbor terrorists? Did it refer to increased police action against the citizenry? No, it referred to hooligans attacking Muslims, which had not happened yet and so far has not, save for a few broken windows at a mosque. That sort of thing is deplorable, but why was violence against Muslims among the first concerns of British elites? The answer is that local Muslims have orchestrated this concern.

They have been very effective. As Mark Steyn pointed out in the Daily Telegraph, “In most circumstances it would be regarded as appallingly bad taste to deflect attention from an actual ‘hate crime’ [last week’s bombings] by scaremongering about a nonexistent one.” Yet apparently this has been going on for some time, and now Prime Minister Tony Blair is hustling through Parliament a so-called Racial and Religious Hatred Bill. If passed it would send a person to jail for seven years if accused and convicted of authoring words found offensive by aggrieved religious and racial groups, for instance, I suppose, aggrieved terrorists. Opponents argue that would protect Satanists and other unusual believers.

How would it affect another journalist writing recently in a British paper, Charles Moore, former editor of the Sunday Telegraph and London’s Spectator? Recently he quoted a Saudi imam welcomed to Britain by Mohammed Abdul Bari of the East London Mosque. The Rev. imam a couple of years back in Mecca described Jews as “scum of the Earth,” “rats of the world,” “monkeys and pigs who should be annihilated.”

When the imam is criticized by the likes of Mr. Moore, Abdul Bari furiously defends him. Mr. Moore went on to quote the local Muslim Weekly’s Sheikh Abdalqadir as-Sufi writing that parliamentary democracy in Britain must be replaced by “a new civilization based on the worship of Allah,” and he described the leader of the Tory Party as “an illegal Jewish immigrant from Romania.” He also referred to the “near-demented Judaic banking elite.”

In his trenchant article noting that Islam has yet to come up with a Mohandas Gandhi or a Martin Luther King, Mr. Moore criticized another visitor to London welcomed by London’s left-wing mayor, Ken Livingstone. The visitor, a world renowned spiritual leader, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, supports suicide bombing in Israel, whipping homosexuals and killing Americans in Iraq, civilians and soldiers alike. Research such as this could land Mr. Moore in a British calaboose if the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill is passed.

In the West, certain groups have a knack for capturing the moral high ground and ending debate. When the feminists and the homosexual rights groups did this, mischief ensued but nothing more damaging. If Islam’s apologists for terror accomplish this feat, the world is in for more than mischief. London will be in for more carnage, and America too.

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is the founder and editor in chief of the American Spectator, a contributing editor to the New York Sun, and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. His latest book is “Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.”

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