Some questions that need to be answered
London Tube Atrocity - Some questions that need to be answered
By Dr. M. Naseem
War against terror is a just, moral and laudable purpose but it will not be served by making unsubstantiated assertions and attacking civil liberties at home. We at the Birmingham Central Mosque have long before it became fashionable to condemn suicide bombing have condemned it out right because we hold such acts to be against the clear teachings of Islam and against the practice of the Prophet (peace be upon him). We are aware that Cheri Blair, Lady [Jenny]Tonge and many others have expressed an understanding of why some people in Palestine are led to such acts of desperation. This, however, has not changed our opinion. We believe that no amount of suffering, no degree of injustice, justifies breaking one's own principles. We have not considered such people as martyrs of Islam but as those who acted under the Codes of Nationalism and guided by nationalistic precedents.
Many Muslim leaders and Scholars have shared our views but unfortunately the collective religious hierarchy remained reticent for fear of upsetting the sentiments of some volatile elements in the community who felt outraged at the world’s hypocrisy and inaction against the conditions prevailing in Palestine. The major world powers have to acknowledge that they have acted unjustly, have observed double standards, have killed randomly and have told lies. In spite of this, over the period of time we and other Muslim representatives have openly and clearly condemned every act of killing innocent people. It has been reported in the media but strangely some in high places remained oblivions of such reports. They deemed Muslims to have not spoken against such atrocities and kept on demanding more from Muslims. We feel so helpless in not being able to redress such somnolence and amnesia.
In the wake of the recent atrocity, the deep rooted subconscious prejudice has suddenly manifested itself as never before and Muslim bashing seems to be more earnest than the need for the national unity and harmony. It is a strange sense of patriotism that finds satisfaction in obscuring the truth and weakening the nation. We are losing lives at home and abroad, step by step our traditions are being broken by those whose duty it is to uphold them, our state had virtually become an outpost of a foreign power, we are slowly moving towards becoming a police state, yet our writers and columnists remain sleep walking in an imaginary world and attacking demons that do not exist.
Where is the evidence that four youths whose pictures were caught by the CCTV cameras, who were among many others passing through the Kings Cross tube station and similarly noted by the cameras, were the real perpetrators of the crime? It is also reported that they had bought return tickets. How did we reject the possibility that they were, like others, just innocent victims of this terrible happening? Would a court of law declare a person guilty simply because he was found standing some miles away from the scene of crime on the date that it occurred? What scientific tests have been carried out to prove this? Why is there such secrecy surrounding the process of investigation? Is there some thing to hide? If so, why?
It is quite apparent that those who are responsible for our safety, in spite of the fact that they were aware of the looming danger, were caught napping and failed to protect us from this happening. Are we now witnessing a process of ‘’Cover up’’ to hide this colossal failure and ineptitude? It is said that forensic tests have been carried out but we are not informed of the nature of these tests and how these led to the conclusions that have been reached? The story presented does not make any sense. These young men had bought return tickets. Surely this is not an indication of an intention of going to the next world? If they were carrying bombs in their rucksacks, their bodies must have been blown to pieces. How did the police identify them so early while it has taken time to identify others? It is said that particles of incendiary chemicals were found on their bodies. Which bodies? The bits here and there? When a bomb explodes it throws out its contents and so the chemical elements are more likely to be on other bodies and nearby objects than the scattered pieces of those who carried out the explosion.
It is said that they had made trips to Pakistan. Every day hundreds of people make trips to India, West Indies, Bangladesh and Pakistan. These are countries of their origins and they have relatives and friends who live there. How does it prove a criminal intent? Much is being made of Madrassas as if these are military academies. Madrassa is an Arabic word which means a school. These Madrassas are religious schools like Roman Catholic and Church of England schools that exist in other countries including Pakistan. Theses are run by Charities and offer literacy and moral education at an affordable price suitable for the economic status of the country. What is the evidence that there is something more sinister in this programme of education?
The only evidence that has led to the 4th alleged bomber is the finding of a driving licence and a credit card belonging to that person. Incidentally this is the third time in recent history that such a plea has been offered to pin point a culprit. First time was, after 11th September atrocity when the aeroplane flying towards Washington was blown up. The heat was so intense that even the metal parts melted but strangely a passport was left intact. Second time it was the so called suicide bomber from England who blew himself up in Israel. His passport was again found intact. A gullible or subservient section of the media faithfully accepts such stories and spreads them as gospel truth. This is the third time that the same tried formula is being used. How many of us carry our driving licence with us every day?
Why would a person intent on destroying himself would take care to take a driving licence and a card with him? How does the finding of a driving licence and a credit card prove that he was the bomber and not an innocent passenger who lost his life in this tragedy? Is not our trust in the political leadership now under unbearable strain? We were told a lie as a reason for going to war on Iraq. Would a court of law consider a witness reliable, who has already been proven to be a liar? On what basis should we accept any thing that comes from this leadership? Why should we not have an independent, open and transparent process of law? It is not fair to have judges appointed by a government that itself is the subject of scrutiny. The experience of Lords Hutton and Butler enquiries is enough. Is our judiciary not capable of selecting judges to look into such matters? Can our judges not be trusted with any ‘’sensitive material’’ which is considered safe with ministers? We must not forget that these ministers, not very long ago, were ordinary cogs in the political wheel.
On Friday the 16th July, 2005 on BBC1 at 10’o clock news there was a report about the Metropolitan Police Chief Commissioner who asked Muslims to come out of their state of denial. For a civil servant in such a high position, responsible for the care of all communities that make this nation, to enter the political arena with such a partisan attitude is very strange indeed. It is obvious that our political establishment has condoned this.
His concern for Muslims is really touching but hold on, what facts are we Muslims supposed to be denying? Is it a state of denial when we say that throughout the Muslim world we have never known an organisation called Al-Qaeeda? We have never known and accepted Usama-bin-Laden as a Muslim scholar or a leader. All this information comes from just one source i.e. C.I.A. This is not an organisation known for its commitment to truth and justice. Its covert activities are recorded and known. It has in the past, acted against international and civilised law. In intelligence circles a report that comes from a single source is not considered to be reliable.
Going back to the Metropolitan Police Chief Commissioner’s remark, it is strange that our otherwise competent media seems to have suffered a sudden attack of collective narcolepsy on this occasion. This news item was not found in any of the national newspapers on Saturday the 17th of July, 2005. There was no reference to it in the Independent, The Times, The Telegraph, and The Mail . Only Daily Express mentioned his visit to a Muslim Institution but omitted that particular part of his discourse. Does it show that there is a Central Command which orders such black outs? It may be mentioned that this is not the only instance of this kind, it has happened before.
Muslims have done their duty, of their own accord, because of their commitment to their ideology. We condemn every act of terrorism unequivocally, every instance of taking innocent lives as war against Islam. It is not the prerogative of individuals to make war. It is not Jihad (armed struggle) but Fasad (chaos) if done by individuals. Perpetrators of such crimes if they are Muslims, must know that by doing so they are putting themselves out of the pale of Islam. We will have no hesitation in condemning those who are guilty but the guilt has to be proved. We would like to see the whole nation united to safeguard national interests and not divided as it has been in the matters of invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq and treatment of Palestine. The government and the political establishment have a duty to take people of this country into confidence.
At this time therefore Muslims have no case to answer. We can not accept assumptions and hypotheses. We can not allow ourselves to succumb to media management. We can not accept questionable enquiries. All we are requesting is an independent, open and transparent process of law. Surely this is not too much to ask. There is a suspicion that the interests of this country are being sacrificed for the benefit of a foreign power. Only government and the political establishment can remove this suspicion through deeds, not words.