A number of radical Islamic groups including Muslims Against Crusades (MAC) gathered outside the US embassy on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.Hell's bells, it's Pavlovian, isn't it? Any chance to really offend the west in general and the Yanks in particular and some headjobs will take it. In fact it's more than Pavlovian, it's as predictable as gravity. Look, fellas, when you've stopped lighting American flags for five minutes (is it me or does it seem like most American flags are bought by people who hate America?) I want to run an idea past you. Ask yourselves this: was Britain consumed with Hinduphobia when Mohandas Ghandi, that famously non-violent yet persistently passive-aggressive pain in their arses, was trying his best to get the British out of India? No? Then maybe, just maybe, you could be playing your hand better.
The group of around 100 men shouted "USA terrorists", brandished anti-American placards and chanted through a loud hailer.
Several members of the Muslim groups made anti-American speeches following the flag burning.
Such as, for instance, the group of reasonable, moderate Muslims - I'm guessing British Muslims for Secular Democracy, who I've mentioned a couple of times before, or someone quite like them - did by going along to counter protest. And if it was BMSD I think The Teletubbygraph did you no favours by leaving your name out.*
A moderate group of Muslims opposing the extremist protests were also in attendance, as were roughly 60 members of the English Defence League.Hang on a mo, if the EDL are raaaaacists and they were counter-protesting the same event as the moderate Muslims, does that mean in lefty-MSM-lala-land that moderate Muslims are raaaaacists? Clearly not, but that seems likely to cause a little head popping.
Anyway, back to the point. Winning friends and influencing people is the game, and here are two alternate strategies for doing so on the tenth anniversary of the world's most destructive terrorist atrocity: first, jump up and down and rant and set fire to the flag of the nation which was on the receiving end of that terrorist attack; second, release a PR signed by more than fifty Muslim organisations and mosques saying something like this (quoted en bloc).
As the tenth anniversary of the atrocities of September 11th 2001 draws closer, we wish to take this opportunity to come together to reiterate our profound sympathy for the victims of the attacks in the US. We also honour the memory of all victims of terrorism in all nations around the world.I dunno, maybe that's not as newsworthy as the broken record rantings of a few dozen headjobs with a loudhailer and a monthly account at their local guaranteed flammable flag shop. But I do know who I'd rather sit next to on the bus.
The last ten years have not been easy. Tragically, we have seen thousands more people from all walks of life become victims of terrorism. We have also seen the impact of the conflicts resulting from 9/11 in different parts of the Muslim world and experienced the terrible consequences of acts of terror here in Britain on 7th July 2005. The recent tragic events in Oslo show us that terrorists still continue to plan and carry out attacks against people regardless of their race, religion, gender or social circumstance.
As a community we have rejected the terrorists, the emptiness of their words and the futility of their actions. They have nothing to offer the world. Those who seek to divide society have failed. Indeed, their destructive actions have only brought communities closer together. Their message that terrorism is the only way to achieve change has been rejected by ordinary citizens standing in peaceful protest for greater political participation and freedom across the Middle East and North Africa.
Ten years on from the 9/11 attacks, our communities are growing stronger and more resilient. Communities have come together to find common ground and resolve differences. For those of us who are Muslims, our faith gives us hope– a hope shared by people of all faiths and of none - for a world free from terror and injustice.
Now is the time to look to the future with greater optimism. Our common humanity, our spirit of community, the values we share as human beings, will give us the strength to confront those who seek to divide rather than unite us, now and in the future. We will continue to stand together in troubled times, not just against terrorism but against all forms of criminality that pervade our society - as we saw during the riots that spread across the UK in recent weeks. Only together can we defeat such problems. Only together can we work to build communities whose unity honours the memory of the victims of September 11th and victims of conflicts and terror around the world.
* The last time I mentioned British Muslims for Secular Democracy it was to ask where the hell they'd been for two years, and an anonymous commenter, who I'm pretty sure was from BMSD, politely assured me that they had indeed been active over that time. It occurred to me while replying that reasonable people doing reasonable things is probably less interesting to the lame-stream media and less likely to get coverage than people who are being absolute bastards (unless there's a way to spin reasonable people as absolute bastards, of course - I'm sure they'd go for that in a heartbeat), so BMSD are always going to struggle for column inches compared to the loudhailer flag burning boys. If the media can't be arsed then I guess it falls to sympathetic bloggers, so I'm resolving to try and keep half an eye out for what the BMSD are up to. Giving them a positive mention in my little corner of the blogosphere now and doesn't make up for an indifferent press more interested in the flag burning shouty mob but it's better than nothing. They deserve a fair go.