Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Not if, but when

So the young men who brought death to last Thursday's rush hour weren't asylum seekers or foreign crazies - that would allow us to mentally distance ourselves, regarding this as an alien evil. But these were four of our own - four young men who grew up under the same sun, went to schools, played cricket and football and lived ordinary lives until their hatred and anger boiled over to the point where they felt that they were justified in shredding their own bodies with explosives to slaughter innocent commuters.

The police seem certain that these lads weren't duped into carrying timed devices - no trace of timing circuits have been found at the bomb sites - these young men knew what they were doing and went to their deaths willingly. They aren't the first - two young Britons travelled to Israel to carry out a suicide attack on an Israeli restaurant, another was reported to have attacked US troops in Iraq and we've had two caught planning to blow up airliners. While the Muslim community needs to be strong in dealing with the extremism undoubtedly present in its numbers, this is an issue for all of us. This crime is as repellent to Islam as it would be to Christianity.

Predictably, as there is a local election pending in East London, the BNP have printed leaflets linking the bus bombing to Islam, a sickening political use of tragedy that knocks Gorgeous George's efforts into a cocked hat. Nick Griffin said:
'It is obviously a very graphic, horrific image which really sums up the cost of voting Labour.' Labour had taken the country into an illegal war in Iraq and had 'lost control' of Britain's borders so that there was a 'huge sea of potential terrorists out there,' he said. 'The Labour Party for years has allowed Islamic extremists to preach in mosques in Britain and use them to recruit people to their cause. It is the Labour Party to blame.'
There's a special circle of hell reserved for you and your loathsome, reptilian kind, Griffin.

Ironically, one of those campaigning in the by-election is a tube train driver who escaped death last Thursday by seconds. Despite that, he's been out campaigning for peace and calm, only to face physical threats on the streets from assorted racist thugs. Perhaps a better quotation to end on comes from Marie Fatayi-Williams, a Nigerian mother who has travelled to London to try and find her missing 26 year old son Anthony.

'Now New York, now Madrid, now London. There has been widespread slaughter of innocent people. There have been streams of tears, innocent tears. There have been rivers of blood, innocent blood. Death in the morning, people going to find their livelihood, death in the noontime on the highways and streets.

They are not warriors. Which cause has been served? Certainly not the cause of God, not the cause of Allah because God Almighty only gives life and is full of mercy. Anyone who has been misled, or is being misled to believe that by killing innocent people he or she is serving God should think again because it's not true.Terrorism is not the way, terrorism is not the way. It doesn't beget peace. We can't deliver peace by terrorism, never can we deliver peace by killing people. Throughout history, those people who have changed the world have done so without violence, they have [won] people to their cause through peaceful protest. Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, their discipline, their self-sacrifice, their conviction made people turn towards them, to follow them. What inspiration can senseless slaughter provide?

Death and destruction of young people in their prime as well as old and helpless can never be the foundations for building society. Innocent blood will always cry to God Almighty for reparation. How much blood must be spilled? How many tears shall we cry? How many mothers' hearts must be maimed? My heart is maimed. I pray I will see my son, Anthony. Why? I need to know, Anthony needs to know, Anthony needs to know, so do many others unaccounted for innocent victims, they need to know.

It's time to stop and think. We cannot live in fear because we are surrounded by hatred. Look around us today. Anthony is a Nigerian, born in London, worked in London, he is a world citizen. Here today we have Christians, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, all of us united in love for Anthony. Hatred begets only hatred. It is time to stop this vicious cycle of killing. We must all stand together, for our common humanity. I need to know what happened to my Anthony. He's the love of my life. My first son, my first son, 26. He tells me one day, "Mummy, I don't want to die, I don't want to die. I want to live, I want to take care of you, I will do great things for you, I will look after you, you will see what I will achieve for you. I will make you happy.' And he was making me happy. I am proud of him, I am still very proud of him but I need to know where he is, I need to know what happened to him. I grieve, I am sad, I am distraught, I am destroyed.

He didn't do anything to anybody, he loved everybody so much. If what I hear is true, even when he came out of the underground he was directing people to take buses, to be sure that they were OK. Then he called his office at the same time to tell them he was running late. He was a multi-purpose person, trying to save people, trying to call his office, trying to meet his appointments. What did he then do to deserve this. Where is he, someone tell me, where is he?'

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