It’s been a quite extraordinary 2 weeks. As I write this I am listening to a live stream of the BBC’s news programme as events unfold. Police have, today, shot dead a suspect in the recent failed bombing or, possibly have even foiled a suicide bombing.
A number of things are going through my mind.
First, above all, it is strange to read and watch these events in a place that I lived in for 7 years. Every television shot that you are watching is a street that I walked down. The tube train that was attacked on 7 July between Kings Cross and Russell Square is on the same journey that I used to take into work every morning. That, in itself, is slightly surreal.
But there are other things to consider. When events are (quite literally) brought to our own homes we gain a new perspective of similar events in other places. Principally, I think there are now many, many more Londoners who have an empathy with Israeli citizens who face this fear of attack every single day. Our tension at the moment should make us more sympathetic to both the apparently drastic actions that the Israeli government are regularly taken and also the split-second decisions that young soldiers on the ground are forced into.
I’m also struck that we are so introspective. In the same week that over 50 people were killed in London a suicide bomber in Iraq blew himself up next to a petrol tanker. The resulting explosion killed over 90 people, many of them children. This sort of thing of happening every day in Iraq and yet we have grown accostumed to it. Perhaps the events in London will shake us out of our complacency.
The most striking thing, however, is the (expected) institutional response to the whole thing. It has become almost de rigeur to use the words “extremist”, “fundamentalist” and “fringe” to describe these bombers. The British government has been at pains to roll out apparently promiment Muslims to denounce the attacks. All this, however, serves only to compound the problem. The truth of the matter is that these bombers are the real Muslims. As Frank Candor wrote shortly after the original attacks in September 2001, orthodox Islam naturally leads to, indeed calls for, these actions. These bombers are not fringe Muslims, they are not some sort of radical, unnatural bastardisation of Islam; they are the real Muslims, following in the footsteps of Mohammed himself.
Put simply, the ultimate problem we are facing is Islam itself. It is Islam itself that brings about these actions and it is Islam itself that the Prime Minister must be tackling.
Now, I realise that that’s not politically correct. I also expect that some readers of this blog will accuse me of “incitement to racial hatred” (the new liberal weapon to silence rational debate). But I am doing nothing of the sort. The answer to all this, of course, is the cross of Jesus Christ where we see how God’s justice is really carried out. Not the cruel barbarism of Allah who calls his followers to kill his opponents but the sacrificial graciousness of the Lord Jesus Christ who asks for forgiveness for those that killed Him.
From the Qu’ran:
Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah. Whatever you spend in the cause of Allah shall be repaid to you and you shall not be treated unjustly. 8:60
O Messenger! Rouse the Believers among you to the fight. If there are twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, they will vanquish two thousand of the Unbelievers: for these are people without understanding. 8:65
…Then fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war…9:5
Fight them and Allah will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame, help you to victory over them, heal the breasts of the Believers. 9:14
Fight those who do not believe in Allah … until they pay the Jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued. 9:29
from the Bible:
1 Peter 2:22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.