Occasionally you get glimpses of how things really are, and Frances Guy has given us just such a glimpse. She has been the British Ambassador in Lebanon since 2006, and is said to have a lot of Middle East experience. Her employers, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, had up on their website this week her extraordinary obituary of Sheikh Muhammad Fadlallah, a Shia cleric and former guiding spirit of Hezbollah, Iran’s armed militia and proxy in Lebanon. The title of her obituary tells all: “The Passing of a Decent Man.” She writes, “The world needs more men like him willing to reach out across faiths.” He was a man she most respected, she burbles.
This decent man, this man to be respected, was a mass-murderer. In 1983, Fadlallah was responsible for sending Hezbollah members in trucks loaded with explosives into the barracks in Beirut of American and French troops come to keep the peace there. Almost 300 of these soldiers were killed. Fadlallah has always praised suicide bombing and hostage-taking. As for his willingness to reach out across faiths, this decent man worthy of Mrs. Guy’s respect consistently preached the extermination of Jews, praised suicide bombing, and denied the Holocaust. How a British diplomat comes to toady to prejudice and blood-lust ought to be a major scandal. Instead of firing this Ambassador, the Foreign Office is merely tut-tutting.
By coincidence, a judicial travesty unfolding at the same moment involves two convicted Islamist terrorists currently serving sentences in British jails. One of them is Abu Hamza, the cleric whose arms were blown off and fitted instead with hooks. He is wanted in the United States on charges of terrorism in Yemen. He and the other prisoner have appealed to the European Court of Human Rights against extradition orders on the grounds that they might face a life sentence without parole, and this would be a breach of their rights. They are playing one jurisdiction off against another in a lawyers’ paradise that amounts to making a mockery of justice. Instead of throwing out this flagrant abuse, the Court wants more time to examine the implications. The terrorists may well be released at the end of their present sentences before they can be extradited to face other grave charges.
I think it may have been Sadiq el-Azm, a Syrian and a philosopher, who first formulated the choice that is currently working itself out: either Islam Europeanizes or Europe Islamizes. Ambassador Guy and the European Court are helping to bring on a future in which neither of them will have any role at all.