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Posted Online on Sunday 24, July 2005 01:13 IST

Britons Joining Israeli Army as Bad as Fighting for Hamas, Says London Mayor 

By M. Ghazali Khan

At a time when British Muslim organisations and individuals, despite their unreserved condemnation of London blasts - now known as 7/7 - are facing intense pressure from all corners to share (read accept) the blame of the tragedy, one of the most sane voices among politicians, Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, replying to a question on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme said that the intervention by Western governments might have been the motivating factor behind these attacks. “I think you've just had 80 years of western intervention into predominantly Arab lands because of the western need for oil….

"We've propped up unsavoury governments, we've overthrown ones we didn't consider sympathetic.

"And I think the particular problem we have at the moment is that in the 1980s... the Americans recruited and trained Osama Bin Laden, taught him how to kill, to make bombs, and set him off to kill the Russians and drive them out of Afghanistan.

"They didn't give any thought to the fact that once he'd done that he might turn on his creators."

Mr Livingstone also denounced "those governments which use indiscriminate slaughter to advance their foreign policy, as we have occasionally seen with the Israeli government bombing areas from which a terrorist group will have come, irrespective of the casualties it inflicts, women, children and men".

He went on, "Under foreign occupation and denied the right to vote, denied the right to run your own affairs, often denied the right to work for three generations, I suspect that if it had happened here in England, we would have produced a lot of suicide bombers ourselves."
This is not the first time that Mr Livingstone has expressed such clear and fair views. In the past he has come under attack by pro Zionist lobby for his vocal criticism of Israel and for welcoming Egyptian scholar Yusuf Al-Qaradawi in London Assembly. In response to a question in an another programme on Channel4 News programme Mr Livingstone went as far as saying that if a Briton went to Israel, joined the army and killed the Palestinians it is never reported but if a Muslim went to fight against Israel it is widely reported by the media. The Mayor condemned both of them though.

Implying the undue coverage given to Hizb-ut-Tahrir and Al-Muhajiroun, Mr Livingstone criticised a section of the media for giving too much publicity to certain figures who, he said, were "totally unrepresentative" of British Muslims. Muslims in Britain are sceptical about genuineness of these two groups. The general perception is that over the years extremists who propagated hatred worked with impunity while several innocent Muslims have been questioned. (See Milli Gazette 16- 31 May 2004)

Apart from Ken Livingstone, many other politicians, including the known anti-war MP George Galloway, have linked London bombing with Britain’s foreign policy, an argument rejected by Prime Minister Tony Blair.  Calling it a “twisted logic” Mr Blair said that terrorists "will always have their reasons for acting". He said that before Iraq it was Afghanistan, before Afghanistan it was Palestine. Borrowing George Bush’s phrases he said that it was an attack, “On our way of life”.  However the fact that no sooner the news of 7/7 was flashed than the Prime Minister blamed Muslims for the tragedy is a clear indication that somewhere in his heart he admits that his foreign policy has contributed in strengthening the fringe elements in attracting new recruits in their so called jihad.

Since 7/7 a number of attacks on Muslims and mosques have been reported including a 48 year old man of Pakistani descent being beaten by a white gang.

The alleged perpetrators of 7/7, three of them of Pakistani descent, are reported to have led normal lives and were not known to have any association with any extremist groups. Their family members, friends and colleagues find it hard to believe that they would have been involved in such acts. They are said to have travelled last year to Karachi and it is being alleged that they were indoctrinated there.

While they are being referred to as suicide bombers, police has refused to confirm that this was a case of suicide bombing. The fact that the bombers had bought return tickets and that they had paid for parking their cars before departing for London has raised suspicions on suicide bombing theory. In the meanwhile several conspiracy theories are spreading.

Muslim leaders who met with Prime Minister Tony Blair on Wednesday have demanded an enquiry into what might have motivated the bombers. Until any truth comes out and until a definite proof is revealed, second attempt to repeat 7/7 on 23 July has created even more confusion and has brought Muslim community under greater pressure notwithstanding the fact that Muslim scholars in UK have asked Muslims not to regard the bombers as martyrs, “in any sense” while another section of u’lema has said that the bombers will go to hell.

Whatever the truth there are clear indications that in days ahead UK, especially London, is going to become a police state and thanks to fringe elements, Muslims will remain to be the target of these draconian laws.
As these lines are being written news has arrived that Police has shot dead an Asian looking man at Stockwell tube station in south London.

See also:

:: "Muslim Community is the Double Victim," Rabi Hershl Glick

:: London Bombing: Hackney Muslims to Set up Task Force with partners

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