Thursday, 10 May 2007

Hitchens hits the mark

Christopher Hitchens provides the perfect antidote to the William Dalrymple article mentioned in my last post (via Mick Hartley). He's writing for Vanity Fair about a recent return visit to Finsbury Park, where he grew up, and discussing the way the area has become a breeding-ground for British jihadists. As always with Hitchens, there's much that's quotable, so take time to read the whole thing.

Hitchens reports conversations with Hanif Kureishi and Monica Ali in which both independently emphasise the virulent anti-semitism of the new young fundamentalists. He also watches a video of Channel 4's documentary Undercover Mosque, shot in fundamentalist Islamic centers in Birmingham and London:

And there it all is: foaming, bearded preachers calling for crucifixion of unbelievers, for homosexuals to be thrown off mountaintops, for disobedient and "deficient" women to be beaten into submission, and for Jewish and Indian property and life to be destroyed. "You have to bomb the Indian businesses, and as for the Jews, you kill them physically," as one sermonizer, calling himself Sheikh al-Faisal, so prettily puts it.

Hitchens follows this up with a riposte to those, like Dalrymple, who seek to blame Islamist terrorism on western policy:

It was argued for a while that the 7/7 perpetrators were victims of unemployment and poverty, until their remains were identified and it became clear that most of them came from educated and reasonably well-off backgrounds. The excuses then abruptly switched, and we were asked to believe that it was Tony Blair's policy in Iraq and Afghanistan that motivated the killers. Suppose the latter to be true. It would still be the case that they belong to a movement that hates Jews and Indians and all kuffar, or "unbelievers": a fanatical sect that believes itself entitled to use deadly violence at any time. The roots of violence, that is to say, are in the preaching of it, and the sanctification of it.


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