September 11, 2005 | National Review Online

This Is “Tackling Extremism”?

Blair’s post 7/7 committees may do more to disarm England than militancy.

After the 7/7 bombing attacks by Islamo-fascists that killed scores of Londoners, British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced with great fanfare that he would create a Home Office task force of committees to “tackle extremism.” The purpose, he asserted, was to confront “head on” the rise of radicalism among young Muslims.

How is it working out so far?

Well, first came the word that an invitation to participate in the effort had been extended to the media secretary for the Muslim Council of Britain, Inayat Bunglawala, known for his anti-Semitism, who refers to Osama bin Laden as a “freedom fighter,” and describes Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman (“the blind sheikh” behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing conspiracy) as “courageous.”

Next to join the team was Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss professor (and grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood) who has praised jihadists attacking Israeli and American forces. Ramadan has just recently landed on his feet in England (where he has been appointed to teach at St Anthony's College at Oxford) after being banned from the United States and France.

Last week it was announced that coming aboard would be Yusuf Islam, better known as the pop singer Cat Stevens, who has become a “peace activist” since converting to Islam in the late 1970s — and an unusual one in that his appearance on a watch list due to what U.S. officials (according to Fox News) called “alleged associations with possible terrorists” caused a trans-Atlantic flight on which he was a passenger to be diverted last year.

Now comes the latest, from Sunday's Times of London:

ADVISERS appointed by Tony Blair after the London bombings are proposing to scrap the Jewish Holocaust Memorial Day because it is regarded as offensive to Muslims. They want to replace it with a Genocide Day that would recognise the mass murder of Muslims in Palestine, Chechnya and Bosnia as well as people of other faiths. The draft proposals have been prepared by committees appointed by Blair to tackle extremism….

What is the reasoning? How would it possibly advance the cause of suppressing militancy to suppress memory of the atrocity that is central to the 20th Century history of Europe and to the grandeur of Britain's singularly heroic role in that history? Why, by preventing Muslims from feeling “hurt and excluded,” of course. The Times of London elaborates (and this has to be read in detail because no description would do it justice):

The committees argue that the special status of Holocaust Memorial Day fuels extremists' sense of alienation because it “excludes” Muslims. A member of one of the committees, made up of Muslims, said it gave the impression that “western lives have more value than non-western lives”. That perception needed to be changed. “One way of doing that is if the government were to sponsor a national Genocide Memorial Day.

“The very name Holocaust Memorial Day sounds too exclusive to many young Muslims. It sends out the wrong signals: that the lives of one people are to be remembered more than others. It's a grievance that extremists are able to exploit.”

The recommendation, drawn up by four committees including those dealing with imams and mosques, and Islamaphobia and policing, has the backing of Sir Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain. He said: “The message of the Holocaust was 'never again', and for that message to have practical effect on the world community it has to be inclusive. We can never have double standards in terms of human life. Muslims feel hurt and excluded that their lives are not equally valuable to those lives lost in the Holocaust time.”

Ibrahim Hewitt, chairman of the charity Interpal, said: “There are 500 Palestinian towns and villages that have been wiped out over the years. That's pretty genocidal to me.”

If all this were not stunning enough, the Times adds in the briefest of asides that Blair's extremism tacklers will also lodge objection to the prime minister's proposal to ban the noxious Hizb ut-Tahrir organization. This militant group is barred throughout much of the Islamic world. Nonetheless, Blair's very helpful advisers contend it should be keep its wide berth in England because, they claim, it does not advocate violence in or against the U.K.

Here's how the Heritage Foundation described Hizb ut-Tahrir in a 2003 study:

Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami (Islamic Party of Liberation) is an emerging threat to American interests in Central and South Asia and the Middle East. It is a clandestine, cadre-operated, radical Islamist political organization that operates in 40 countries around the world, with headquarters apparently in London. Its proclaimed goal is jihad against America and the overthrow of existing political regimes and their replacement with a Caliphate (Khilafah in Arabic), a theocratic dictatorship based on the Shari'a (religious Islamic law). The model for Hizb is the “righteous” Caliphate, a militaristic Islamic state that existed in the 7th and 8th centuries under Mohammad and his first four successors, known as the “righteous Caliphs.”…

Hizb explicitly rejects democracy…. Yet some regional observers have called for the legitimization of Hizb and its integration into the existing political model. [Footnote omitted] In doing so, they ignore the obvious — Hizb's goal is to smash the existing state apparatus, not to become a player within it.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reported last week that the 7/7 attacks appear only to have strengthened the resolve of those in Blair's government hell-bent on a strategy of “engagement” with militant Islam — gripped by the delusion that such cross-pollination will eventually transform the jihadists rather than sustain the alarming transformation of England itself. Thus they are moving toward approval of a visa allowing the reentry of Shiekh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an influential Mulsim Brotherhood cleric (and a trustee of the Oxford University Center for Islamic Studies) who supports suicide bombers in Iraq and Israel, the stoning of homosexuals, wife-beating, female genital mutilation, and other charming aspects of the Islamist agenda.

It's a good thing the Brits are only “tackling” extremism. Who knows what they would do if they decided to start promoting it?

Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.