When readers on the National Review 50th anniversary cruise round the British Isles woke up one morning to find themselves anchored just off Waterford, several of them commented to me that the view looked almost too perfectly Irish. Waterford is the oldest city in the country, and the surrounding 40 shades of Kilkenny green on a beautiful summer’s morn made it appear like the opening shot of a Disney movie about a cute leprachaun.
But looks can be deceptive. My former colleagues at The Irish Times report:
THE KNOCK ON THE DOOR of Ali Charaf Damache’s Waterford home came on the morning of March 9th last year. Within hours, news of the arrests of Damache and six others detained during searches of 10 addresses in Waterford and Cork had rippled across the world. The four men and three women were held in relation to an alleged plot to kill Lars Vilks, a Swedish cartoonist who had depicted the prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog. Adding to the intrigue was the fact that two female converts from the US, including one Colleen R LaRose, who used the internet pseudonym Jihad Jane, were being linked to the alleged plot.
I was at a Danish Free Press Society conference with Lars Vilks in Copenhagen last year. He’s an old secular Euroleftie who thinks he should be able to do the same jokes about Islam as he does about everything else. He came home one evening to find the jihad boys had firebombed his kitchen. As they escaped across the snowy field heady with the thrill of their glorious victory, they noticed that they’d accidentally set their clothes on fire, and, after some effort to extinguish them, were forced to discard their smoking trousers. Unfortunately, in abandoning their pants and scampering off through the icy night in their jihadist BVDs, they neglected to remove the charred driver’s licenses and other identifying documentation, from which police were able easily to track them down. Muslim terrorists are all Yosemite Ahmeds – until one of them succeeds.
Lars Vilks takes all this in good humor. Nevertheless, it is still faintly stunning to me that you can find within a population the size of Waterford and Cork seven Muslims willing to participate in a plot to kill a Swedish artist. Even at the height of the Irish “Troubles”, you’d have been hard put to find seven residents of Waterford willing to participate in a plot to kill, say, a British cabinet minister.
But things are different now:
Damache allegedly sent a message to Khalid, asking him to recruit online ‘some brothers that can travel freely . . . with EU passports.’