This morning, John Humphrys interviewed [go for the 8.10 interview] Abu Izzadeen, who heckled John Reid a couple of days ago.
There’s a tradition among mainstream media interviewers of going soft on extremists, whether from the BNP or Islamist groups or brutal dictatorships. I believe the theory is that, by conveying distaste in your tone and giving these people relatively free rein to spout their stuff, you’ll give them enough rope to hang themselves; listeners/viewers will see how awful their arguments are.
So it was in this case; and that theory does work to a degree. But as I listened to this guy, whose self-confidence was in inverse proportion to his intellect and his decency, I longed for some of the forensic cross-examination that Humphrys wouldn’t have hesitated to inflict on, say, a Lib Dem pensions spokesperson.
Izzadeen repeatedly refused to condemn or endorse 9/11 or 7/7, bleating instead that it wasn’t his place to talk about justification. But he was more than happy to froth about the unjustified ‘crusading’ mass murder of Muslims – he could have been torn apart on this inconsistency.
Or his insistence that he wouldn’t seek to promote his Islamist views in the UK through democratic means, because he believes in sharia – rule by the law of god – whereas democracy is rule through the actions of man. But by that logic, any means that he might use to promote his version of sharia would necessarily involve human action and human decision. Another weak spot that wasn’t probed.
Perhaps most of all, he said many, many times that Bush and Blair were engaged in a war against Muslims. What baffles me about claims that the West is utterly against Islam and seeks to destroy Muslims is this: we have an unbelievable amount of firepower at our disposal. We could nuke Damascus, Tehran, Beirut, Baghdad, Riyadh, Mecca, Medina, Islamabad, and carpet-bomb any number of other places. None of the countries concerned could retaliate in kind: Pakistan’s nukes can’t be fired at long enough ranges.
The death toll could easily run to tens of millions, never mind the paltry 100,000 often quoted for Iraq. And we wouldn’t have to worry about exposing ground troops to risk. At the same time, we could introduce internment or even martial law against all the Muslims living in Western countries. So: if this is a war against Islam, why don’t we exploit that fact that we can very easily inflict vastly more damage on the enemy? Why don’t we just nuke the Muslims?
Because, and if you’re in any doubt, I suggest you read this a couple of times, we don’t want to; because it’s not a war against Islam.
Because people like Izzadeen need to be able to sell the lie that Islam is their exclusive property, so that they can define friend and foe, so that they can be treated as spokesmen, so that they can surf the wave of martyrdom chic without the inconvenience of having to blow themselves up. They’re armchair terrorists.