On Wednesday, two young Muslims butchered a serving British soldier in the London district of Woolwich in the early afternoon in front of bystanders. Shouts of “Allahu Akhbar” were heard. One of the murderers was caught on film, holding a weapon, his hands dripping blood. He said to the camera, “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you.” In the light of what he had just done, his calmness could only signify ideological certainty that he had committed a good deed and was about to publicize it. Making no attempt to escape, both killers waited until the police arrived and overpowered the murderers with a minimum of force.
The IRA also murdered serving British soldiers. In this very same week, as it happens, an IRA man has been arrested in connection with the murder of four soldiers back in 1982. Recognition of IRA ideology has been the key to dealing with it and in the end defeating it.
People have no difficulty recognizing that these Muslims killers also have an ideology. Interviewed by the media, witnesses of the murder and others who live in Woolwich expressed anxiety about what the repercussions might be. Many Muslims in the country were also anxious, for fear of reprisals. Imams and Muslims prominent in the community repudiated the murder even as congregations were gathering in case mosques were attacked. Sure enough, members of the English Defence League took to the streets – the EDL, about 20,000 strong, openly resents and opposes Muslims.
The authorities evidently dread a future confrontation between the EDL and the Muslims. Their response is to contend that Islam forbids killing and therefore bombings on the subway or murder in Woolwich have nothing at all to do with Islam. Prime Minister David Cameron showed how to obscure reality by declaring that “there is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly terrible act.” The murder in Woolwich is “solely and purely the responsibility of the individuals involved,” as though they were deranged rather than fulfilling what they think is an Islamic obligation. His advice to “stand up to these people whoever they are” supposes that they might be anybody, and not Muslims at all.
This misrepresentation verges on apologetics. People on the street know otherwise. In the immediate aftermath of the Woolwich barbarity, the EDL has attracted 60,000 new subscribers and could easily develop into a quasi-patriotic, quasi-fascist mass-movement. Refusing to admit that Islam is more ideology than faith, the authorities are unwittingly bringing about the show-down that so greatly scares them.