Abu Hamza is the fellow who says he was careless with a bomb in Afghanistan and so has hooks instead of arms. In his mosque in London’s Finsbury Park he used to preach terrorism. Young Muslims who followed him were victims just as much as non-Muslims they killed. Serving a prison sentence at present, he is also wanted on a charge of murder in the United States. The extradition process is proving interminable, and that is a current mystery.
In that same death-dealing mosque, Ken Livingstone has just preached, as part of the Jummah prayer according to the Daily Telegraph (as though that term needs no further explanation). He has made himself a public figure as a lifelong Communist of the Trotskyite persuasion. The thrust on this occasion is very different. A former mayor of London, he is standing again for that office against the incumbent and Conservative mayor Boris Johnson. His intention, he promises, is to educate the mass of Londoners in Islam. The city should be “a beacon that demonstrates the meaning of the words of the Prophet.” These words, he went on, are “an agenda for all humanity,” and he’d like to make sure that every non-Muslim in London gets that message.
The mayoral election is only a few weeks off, but electioneering can’t really account for this performance. Even the total Muslim vote (which he won’t obtain) is certain to be far outweighed by the number of non-Muslims he has outraged. He often catches himself in contradictions of this sort. Speaking in favor of homosexuality not long ago, for instance, he invited Sheikh Qaradawi, spokesman of the Muslim Brotherhood, to share a platform with him. This famous old bigot wants to put homosexuals to death and all of a sudden that didn’t trouble Livingstone. He is a foremost example of that weird current stereotype, the hard-core Leftist who promotes with apparent sincerity an Islam hostile to everything he claims to believe. Communists in the past were like that. The likes of Anthony Blunt and Kim Philby worked to build a Soviet society that they either shunned or sometimes had to live in unhappily. Leftists take up the Muslim cause but couldn’t possibly live with the beliefs and values that go with it. Here’s a real mystery. Explanations, please.