Politics & Policy

Are We Serious?

The one-armed cleric preaches tolerance . . . for jihad.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece appears in the February 13, 2006, issue of National Review.

Abu Hamza is the most famous of Britain’s many incendiary imams, a household name thanks to the tabloids’ anointing him as “Hooky”–he lost his hands in a, um, “accident” in Afghanistan a few years back. Currently on trial in London for nine counts of soliciting to murder plus various other charges, he’s retained the services of the eminent Queen’s Counsel Edward Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald opened the case for the defense by arguing, according to the Daily Telegraph, that “Hamza was urging his followers not to murder British people but to fight in holy wars where Muslims were being killed in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Palestine. Asked if he had ever intended to urge or incite murder, Hamza replied: ‘In the context of murder, no. In the context of fighting, yes.’ “

Hmm. Hamza wants to see a Caliph installed in Downing Street and to have Muslims “control the whole Earth.”

And, of course, wanting Muslims to control the whole Earth is not against the law, nor, as his counsel argued, is advocating the more robust methods of bringing it about. As the Times of London reported: “Edward Fitzgerald, QC, for the defense, said that Abu Hamza’s interpretation of the Koran was that it imposed an obligation on Muslims to do jihad and fight in the defense of their religion. He said that the Crown case against the former imam of Finsbury Park Mosque was ’simplistic in the extreme.’ He added: ‘It is said he was preaching murder, but he was actually preaching from the Koran itself.’”

Well, it’s ingenious, and who’s to say it won’t work? If the Koran permit, you must acquit. . . .

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Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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