Woolwich Lamb

For the past two days I’ve been checking Mark Steyn’s site to read his reaction to the cold-blooded Islamist butchery of a British soldier in southeast London—but to no avail.

I needn’t have feared. I just had to wait, that’s all:

On Wednesday, Drummer Lee Rigby of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, a man who had served Queen and country honorably in the hell of Helmand Province in Afghanistan, emerged from his barracks on Wellington Street, named after the Duke thereof, in southeast London. Minutes later, he was hacked to death in broad daylight and in full view of onlookers by two men with machetes who crowed “Allahu akbar!” as they dumped his carcass in the middle of the street like so much road kill.

As grotesque as this act of savagery was, the aftermath was even more unsettling. The perpetrators did not, as the Tsarnaev brothers did in Boston, attempt to escape. Instead, they held court in the street gloating over their trophy, and flagged down a London bus to demand the passengers record their triumph on film. As the crowd of bystanders swelled, the remarkably urbane savages posed for photographs with the remains of their victim while discoursing on the iniquities of Britain toward the Muslim world. Having killed Drummer Rigby, they were killing time: It took 20 minutes for the somnolent British constabulary to show up. And so television viewers were treated to the spectacle of a young man, speaking in the vowels of south London, chatting calmly with his “fellow Britons” about his geopolitical grievances and apologizing to the ladies present for any discomfort his beheading of Drummer Rigby might have caused them, all while drenched in blood and still wielding his cleaver.

If you’re thinking of getting steamed over all that, don’t. Simon Jenkins, the former editor of the Times of London, cautioned against “mass hysteria” over “mundane acts of violence.”

Oh no he di’n't! How insulting and degrading—not least to the jolly jihadists themselves!

What does a murdering Mohammedan—not by my reckoning, by his own—have to do to rise above the level of “mundane acts of violence”? I can’t even imagine. But then I couldn’t imagine ramming my car into a lone soldier, and then butchering him on the spot (my failing). I can’t even imagine what that poor soldier would have been thinking in his soon to be detached head.

Back to Steyn:

Being jumped by barbarians with machetes is certainly “mundane” in Somalia and Sudan, but it’s the sort of thing that would once have been considered somewhat unusual on a sunny afternoon in south London — at least as unusual as, say, blowing up eight-year-old boys at the Boston Marathon. It was “mundane” only in the sense that, as at weddings and kindergarten concerts, the reflexive reaction of everybody present was to get out their cell phones and start filming.

Consider how that will play when these guys’ jihadist snuff video is being hawked around the bazaars of the Muslim world. Behold the infidels, content to be bystanders in their own fate.

This passivity set the tone for what followed. In London as in Boston, the politico-media class immediately lapsed into the pneumatic multiculti Tourette’s that seems to be a chronic side effect of excess diversity-celebrating: No Islam to see here, nothing to do with Islam, all these body parts in the street are a deplorable misinterpretation of Islam. The BBC’s Nick Robinson accidentally described the men as being “of Muslim appearance,” but quickly walked it back lest impressionable types get the idea that there’s anything “of Muslim appearance” about a guy waving a machete and saying “Allahu akbar.” A man is on TV dripping blood in front of a dead British soldier and swearing “by Almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you,” yet it’s the BBC reporter who’s apologizing for “causing offence.” To David Cameron, Drummer Rigby’s horrific end was “not just an attack on Britain and on the British way of life, it was also a betrayal of Islam. . . . There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act.”

How does he know? He doesn’t seem the most likely Koranic scholar. Appearing on David Letterman’s show a while back, Cameron was unable to translate into English the words “Magna Carta,” which has quite a bit to do with that “British way of life” he’s so keen on. But apparently it’s because he’s been up to his neck in suras and hadiths every night sweating for Sharia 101. So has Scotland Yard’s deputy assistant commissioner, Brian Paddick, who reassured us after the London Tube bombings that “Islam and terrorism don’t go together,” and the mayor of Toronto, David Miller, telling NPR listeners after 19 Muslims were arrested for plotting to behead the Canadian prime minister: “You know, in Islam, if you kill one person you kill everybody,” he said in a somewhat loose paraphrase of Koran 5:32 that manages to leave out some important loopholes. “It’s a very peaceful religion.”

This line is so old, we retired our Religion of Peace™ trope long, long ago. Too often, zealous Muslims act like theirs is a Religion of Pieces: a severed head (London) or leg (Boston), a torso, a still-beating heart (Syria).

The short version of what happened in Woolwich is that two Muslims butchered a British soldier in the name of Islam and helpfully explained, “The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day.” But what do they know? They’re only Muslims, not Diversity Outreach Coordinators. So the BBC, in its so-called “Key Points,” declined to mention the “Allahu akbar” bit or the “I”-word at all: Allah who?

Not a lot of Muslims want to go to the trouble of chopping your head off, but when so many Western leaders have so little rattling around up there, they don’t have to. And, as we know from the sob-sister Tsarnaev profiles, most of these excitable lads are perfectly affable, or at least no more than mildly alienated, until the day they set a hundred cars alight, or blow up a school boy, or decapitate some guy. And, if you’re lucky, it’s not you they behead, or your kid they kill, or even your Honda Civic they light up. And so life goes on, and it’s all so “mundane,” in Simon Jenkins’s word, that you barely notice when the Jewish school shuts up, and the gay bar, and the uncovered women no longer take a stroll too late in the day, and the publishing house that gets sent the manuscript for the next Satanic Verses decides it’s not worth the trouble. . . . But don’t worry, they’ll never defeat our “free speech” and our “way of life.”

One in ten Britons under 25 is now Muslim. That number will increase, through immigration, disparate birth rates, and conversions like those of the Woolwich killers, British-born and -bred. Metternich liked to say the Balkans began in the Landstrasse, in southeast Vienna. Today, the Dar al-Islam begins in Wellington Street, in southeast London. That’s a “betrayal” all right, but not of Islam.

I cede to Steyn the field on the issue of Western impotence in the face of physical and cultural aggression. Though even he neglected to mention the army’s reaction: not to dress like a soldier when in certain neighborhoods.

But I still have to ask: what’s going on in Islam?

The Muslim Council of Britain, within hours of the attack, said: “This is a truly barbaric act that has no basis in Islam and we condemn this unreservedly. Our thoughts are with the victim and his family.” They went on to point out that British Muslims have long served in the Armed forces and that “this attack on a member of the Armed Forces is dishonourable, and no cause justifies this murder.”

Contrast this heartfelt condemnation with the extraordinary statement released by the Muslim Council of Britain, following the 7 July bombings in London.

“We do naturally feel deeply for the sufferings, injustices and oppression the world over. Yet we also remind ourselves of the verse of the Qur’an,

“O you who believe! Be steadfast witnesses for Allah in equity and let not abhorrence of any people make you swerve from justice. Deal justly, that is nearer to God-fearing. Fear Allah. Allah is aware of what you do.” (Al Maidah, 5:8) We also call on the international community to work towards just and lasting peace settlements in the world’s areas of conflict and help eliminate the grievances that seem to nurture a spiral of violence.”

Unqualified condemnation is a start, but nothing short of prevention—by any means, including informing the police—is acceptable. I note that Boston’s own home-grown slaughterer, Tamerlan “Speed Bump” Tsarnaev, was tossed from his Cambridge mosque by the elders for his crazy talk. They wanted no part of him, and I’m sure they told the FBI the same when (if?) they asked about him.

I regret I can’t find the quote now, but I read a story shortly after the Woolwich slaughter in which a Muslim leader was quoted as saying he didn’t know what more could be done. He was distraught, and I’m sure he was sincere, and I’m not even sure he was wrong. Whether the divide is by generation or by something else, today’s Muslim leaders hold no sway over the Speed Bumps or Bloody Hands of their flock. They preach a religion of peace, but some of their followers—and more than a few preachers themselves—practice it differently.

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