Angry at Abu Qatada? Imagine how some Muslims feel
All the great radical clerics have gone, bar one. There’s Omar Bakri Muhammad, the "Tottenham Ayatollah" who raged against the Spice Girls and other manifestations of decadent Britain (I’m sort of with him on that), now somewhere in Lebanon. And Abu Hamza, who’s finally stateside after years of making a valuable contribution to British life. What about Jamaican-born Abdullah el-Faisal – nothing like the zeal of a convert – who’s back in the West Indies after a long spell in London ranting and raving.
All of these characters became public faces in Britain in 2000s: like all extremists, amusing until they or their followers succeed. Abu Hamza radicalised the 7/7 bombers and el-Faisel one of the 9/11 plotters, as well as Richard Reid, who would not be such a figure of fun had he succeeded.
Now Abu Qatada is the last one left, the O’Toole to their Reed, Burton and Harris. I’ve written before about the philosophical arguments against allowing him to stay and the immigration problems he personifies; all that can be added is that it’s a shame that it’s taken so long for us to take these people seriously. (continue reading...)