- Were terror attacks like this simply something that the British public would have to get used to, as the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, had suggested? What if the public did not want to get used to them?
- That the UK authorities allowed the "Al-Quds Day" march to proceed through the streets of London and for Palestine Expo to assemble such an array of speakers just down the road from one of this year's terror attacks, suggests that all that has happened this year in Britain is extremely very far from "enough".
- So, rather than expecting resilience, the British people will have to be prepared to accept still more terror — and doubtless more pointless platitudes to follow each attack — as surely as they have followed all the attacks before.
On June 3, Britain underwent its third Islamist terror assault in just ten weeks. Following on from a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena and a car- and knife-attack in Westminster, the London Bridge attacks seemed as if they might finally tip Britain into recognising the full reality of Islamist terror.
The attackers that night on London Bridge behaved as such attackers have before, in France, Germany and Israel. They used a van to ram into pedestrians, and then leapt from the vehicle and began to stab passers-by at random. Chasing across London Bridge and into the popular Borough Market, eye-witnesses recorded that the three men, as they slit the throats of Londoners and tourists, shouted "This is for Allah."
A day later, British Prime Minister Theresa May made another appearance on the steps of Downing Street, to comment on the latest atrocity. In what appeared to have become a prime ministerial tradition, she stressed that the terrorists were following the "evil ideology of Islamist extremism", which she described as "a perversion of Islam". All this was no more than she had said after the Manchester and Westminster attacks, and almost exactly what her predecessor, David Cameron, had said from the same place after the slaughter of Drummer Lee Rigby on the streets of London in 2013, as well as after the countless ISIS executions and atrocities in Syria in the months that followed.
Yet Prime Minister May's speech did include one new element. She used her speech on June 4 to go slightly farther than she had previously done. There had been "far too much tolerance of extremism" in the UK, she said, before adding, "Enough is enough".
It was a strong statement, and seemed to sum up an increasingly disturbed public mood. Were attacks like this simply something that the British public would have to get used to, as the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, had suggested? What if the public did not want to get used to them? As with one of Tony Blair's statements after the July 7, 2005 London transport attacks — "The rules of the game are changing" — Theresa May's statement seemed full of promise. Perhaps it suggested that finally a British politician was going to get a grip on the problem.
Yet now that we are nearly two months on from her comments, it is worth noting that to date there are no signs that "enough" has been "enough".
Consider just two highly visible signs that what Britain has gone through this year has been, in fact, no wake-up call at all, and that instead, whatever might have been learned has been absorbed into the to-and-fro of political events, passing like any other transient news story.
Nearly two months on from British Prime Minister Theresa May's comments, following the Westminster terror attack, that there is "far too much tolerance of extremism" in the UK and that "Enough is enough", it is worth noting that what Britain has gone through this year has been, in fact, no wake-up call at all, and that to date there are no signs that "enough" has been "enough". (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
The first was an event that took place only a fortnight after Theresa May's claim that something had changed in the UK. This was the annual "Al-Quds Day" march in London, organised by the badly misnamed Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC). Apart from organising an annual "Islamophobe of the Year" award — an award which two years ago they gave to the slaughtered staff of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo — this Khomeinist group's main public activity each year is an "Al Quds Day" in London. The day allows a range of anti-Semites and anti-Israel extremists to congregate in central London, wave Hezbollah flags and call for the destruction of the Jewish state, Israel.
As Hezbollah is a terrorist group, and any distinction between a "military" and "diplomatic" wing of the group exists solely in the minds of a few people in the British Foreign Office, waving the flag of Hezbollah in public is waving the flag of a terrorist group. If the rules of the game were indeed changing after the followers of a Hezbollah-like creed had slaughtered citizens on a bridge in London, then the promotion of a terrorist group in the same city only days later would not have gone ahead. Nor would the speeches from the "Al Quds Day" platform have been allowed to be completed without arrests being made. The speeches to the 1,000-strong crowd included the most lurid imaginable claims.
These included a speech by the chairman of the IHRC, Nazim Ali. Mr Ali used his time before the public to make a connection between the horrific fire in a tower-block in West London days before the march and the Jewish state. According to Mr Ali, the roughly 80 victims of the fire at Grenfell Tower "were murdered by Theresa May's cronies, many of which are supporters of Zionist ideology." He went on:
"Let us not forget that some of the biggest corporations who were supporting the Conservative Party are Zionists. They are responsible for the murder of the people in Grenfell, in those towers in Grenfell, the Zionist supporters of the Tory party… It is the Zionists who give money to the Tory party, to kill people in high rise blocks… Careful, careful, careful of those rabbis who belong to the Board of Deputies [of British Jews], who have got blood on their hands."
Does Mrs. May regard this as "enough"?
The same question arises over another event, held in the very heart of Westminster only a couple of weeks later. On the weekend of July 8-9, the Queen Elizabeth II Centre (right opposite Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament) was host to a "Palestine Expo" event. This occasion was advertised as "the biggest social, cultural and entertainment event on Palestine to ever take place in Europe".
Speakers included Tariq Ramadan, the dauphin of the Muslim Brotherhood, who used his speech to try to minimise the violence of the terrorist group Hamas. Ramadan used his speech to pour scorn on the idea that the knife and vehicle attacks carried out by Hamas, and those people inspired by its Islamist message in the Middle East, have any connection at all to the knife and vehicle attacks such as the one which had recently claimed the lives of four people crossing Westminster Bridge, as well as that of a policeman at the gates of Parliament. The site of the slaughter was just opposite the conference centre in which Ramadan was speaking:
"As if al-Qaeda is exactly like Hamas and the Palestinian resistance. By saying that they are all terrorists, that's exactly the game. And we are saying we condemn terrorism. But there is a legitimate resistance to your state terrorism."
Other speakers at the Palestine Expo event included the South African preacher Ebrahim Bham. Among his own previous gems is his claim from earlier this year regarding people who are not Muslims: "They are like animals! No, they are worse than animals!"
All of this took place in the weeks immediately after Theresa May said that "enough was enough." That the UK authorities allowed the Al-Quds march to proceed through the streets of London and for Palestine Expo to assemble such an array of speakers just down the road from one of this year's terror attacks suggests that all that has happened this year in Britain is extremely far from "enough". So, rather than expecting resilience, the British people will have to be prepared to accept still more terror — and doubtless more pointless platitudes to follow each attack — as surely as they have followed all the attacks before.