My experience of the news that London was bombed last Thursday lacked drama. I was in St. Ives Museum and so my first thoughts were on the coincidence of major terrorist attacks coinciding with my holidays. I was honeymooning in Italy for 9/11, in Barcelona for the Madrid bombing, in Portugal for the Beslan school siege. If I were superstitious I’d not holiday again.
Then I imagined travelling to work on the Piccadilly line which, having been brought up in Holloway, still feels like home and suddenly finding myself in total darkness with limbs missing and internal organs seeping through open wounds as I listen to the rats arrive. There’s no doubt that some people suffered almost unimaginably horrific deaths. And for nothing.
And the third thought was that as we debate how to suppress religious hatred, nothing could more effectively promote hatred of Muslims than acts like this. While hardly any Muslims appear to support terrorists, it only takes a tiny number to bomb a city and those that do, at the very least, claim to be Muslim and claim to be inspired by Islam. It’s well reported that some believe the rewards of martyrdom to be everlasting youth, 72 virgins, 80,000 servants et cetera.
Yet fear of endangering the innocent majority ensures Ken Livingstone defends Islam, claiming ‘That isn’t an ideology, it isn’t even a perverted faith, its mass murder’. However, Ken isn’t a Muslim and it’s not for we non-believers to judge what is and isn’t Islamic. That’s the job of a Mufti. Muslims believe in resurrection, heaven and hell. The radical clerics government may deport, clearly believe the British born and bred suicide bombers now reside in paradise. Only fellow Muslims can disabuse the extremists of that claim.
What is required from Islam today is not easy condemnation of the bombers, but a fatwa – a legal opinion – that states clearly that the these terrorists, along with the perpetrators of 9/11, Madrid, Beslan and elsewhere, are now suffering in Jahannam.