He arrived in Europe with great fanfare: an inspiring young leader from a foreign land who spoke with passion about change and social justice. And Europe answered the call, taking him to her bosom. He is, after all, every bit a “citizen of the world,” seizing on the bright promise of international tribunals to overcome the imperialist Anglo-American unilateralism of the past. And no one is more certain that dealing with terrorism through the maze of judicial processes is far preferable to George Bush’s cowboy-style militancy.
He’s not Barack Obama, though.
He is Mustafa Kamel Mustafa: Egyptian by birth, Briton by dubious marriage, and better known as Abu Hamza al-Masri. Shorn of an eye and armed with a curled prosthesis where his right hand once was — one of those unfortunate “mine-clearing accidents” in Afghanistan — he is the jihad’s very own “Captain Hook.”
He is the kind of terrorist who has customarily been killed, captured or otherwise neutralized on President Bush’s watch.
He is the kind of terrorist who would snicker and live to fight another day … and another … and another, if a President Obama were to make good on his promise to “restore America’s image in the world” — i.e., prostrate ourselves in the futile hope that the planet’s barbarians and parasites will like us better. Just look where that approach has gotten Great Britain.
According to American officials, Abu Hamza is responsible for the 1998 abduction by Yemeni jihadists of 16 Western tourists (including two Americans), four of whom were killed when the terrorists used them as human shields during a rescue attempt.
He sent emissaries to Oregon to establish a jihadist camp at which trainees were instructed on how to slit their victims’ throats, hijack trucks, and construct bombs and poisons.
He used his position as imam of London’s infamous Finsbury Park Mosque to recruit Muslims for jihadist training in Afghanistan — the same type of training undergone by the 9/11 hijackers, the 1998 American embassy bombers, the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, and countless other Muslim militants.
He has been under indictment by the Justice Department since 2004 for conspiring to support terrorists, and to kidnap, kill, and maim Americans. He has also, for years, been wanted in Yemen for the 1998 hostage-taking operation, which he facilitated from London.
And there’s the rub: The maestro conducts from today’s United Kingdom.
The U.K. has not only put out the welcome mat for jihadists of other nations. It gives them uncontested space to radicalize other disgruntled Muslims. It swaddles them in the majesty of British civil rights (that would be the liberties forged by the people they are sworn to vanquish). It runs interference for them against the nations on which they prey. It denies Islam could possibly have anything to do with Islamic terrorism. And when all else fails, being a paragon of the post-sovereign order, it punts to the “international community,” whose tribunals — under the laughable banner of “human rights” — are even more indulgent of those pledged to kill as many humans as possible.
In Abu Hamza’s case, the U.S. has been trying to navigate the labyrinth of British extradition for four years. But the Brits — even as they demanded the return from Guantanamo Bay of non-British enemy combatants who had previously resided in the U.K. — have declined to send him here for trial.
Think that’s a product of fear that he’ll be consigned to Cowboy Bush’s Gitmo torture chamber? Guess again. We are still waiting, a decade later, for England to extradite a number of al-Qaeda operatives who, in 1998, bombed the U.S. embassies in Africa.
The blunt fact is British authorities were allowing their laws to shield jihadists from American justice before there ever was a 9/11, a Bush administration, a Gitmo, or a military commission trial process. The United States, moreover, has solemnly committed that Abu Hamza will not be sent to Gitmo and will not face that bane of European sensibilities, the death penalty. We just want him for one of those regular old civilian trials — the full flower of due process that Bush-bashers so profess to love. And still they have resisted sending him.