Downplaying Jihad: After an MP’s Murder, They’re Talking About Everything Except the Killer’s Motive - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Downplaying Jihad: After an MP’s Murder, They’re Talking About Everything Except the Killer’s Motive
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A Mass in memory of Sir David Amess at the church where he worshipped (Sky News/YouTube screenshot)

As best I can remember, I’d never heard of Sir David Amess before learning of his murder. That’s a shame, because he appears by all accounts to have been that rare politician who was in it for the right reasons — who, that is, loved his country, cared about his constituents, and made “public service” sound like a fair job description rather than a cynical Clintonian lie. But then I guess that’s precisely the kind of politician who rarely makes the big headlines.

As it happens, Amess was killed while meeting with constituents at what Brits, oddly, call a “surgery” — that is, office hours regularly held by MPs in their constituencies. The location was a Methodist church in Leigh-on-Sea, a district of Southend-on-Sea, the Essex town that formed the major part of Amess’s constituency and that, despite a population of 183,000, doesn’t have city status, which, in one of those charming curiosities of British culture, is a distinction that can only be conferred by the monarch. One of Amess’s pet causes was to change that. Now, in his memory, Boris Johnson has announced that Southend will indeed be granted city status.

That’s nice, I guess.

It’s also nice to hear what a — well — nice man Amess apparently was. Prime Minister Boris Johnson remembered him as “one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics.” Labor head Keith Starmer praised his “profound sense of duty.” At a memorial service on Monday, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spoke of his “robust fairness of spirit and charity of heart.” In an interview on Monday, MP Andrew Rosindell said: “He was better than most MPs. He was really genuine…. He was principled…. He had time for everyone. He didn’t look down on anyone.”

The son of an electrician, Amess was a devout Catholic, a father of five, and a fervent supporter of Margaret Thatcher and, later, of Brexit. A member of Parliament since 1983, he opposed abortion and same-sex marriage (while apparently harboring no antigay animus whatsoever). Also, in the words of MP Andrew Mitchell, he was “a tremendous animal lover…. You could hear the squawk of the bird in his office as you walked down the corridor.” Mitchell once overheard Amess dictating a condolence letter to a constituent upon the death of her parakeet. Indeed, the issue with which Amess was most identified was animal welfare, and unlike most Tories he was against fox-hunting.

He also campaigned for years for a lasting memorial to Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish architect who saved the lives of thousands of Jews. Amess’s efforts eventually led to the installation, in 1997, of a 10-foot statue of Wallenberg in London’s West End.

In a Saturday article about the bizarre bow-and-arrow killer in Kongsberg, Norway — who, it has now been reported, actually killed his victims with a “stabbing object” of some kind (for some reason, authorities don’t want to be more specific than that) — I noted several similarities between the two incidents. Both killers were Muslims. Both actions were officially declared the day afterward to be terrorist acts. Both actions had precedents: in Norway, the 2011 Oslo massacre by Anders Behring Breivik; in Britain, the 2016 murder of MP Jo Cox — although Breivik was anti-Muslim, and Cox and Amess were on opposite sides of the political aisle.

Not long after I filed my Saturday article, new information about Amess’s killer came to light. The British police described him as a “lone wolf” who’d been “self-radicalized” — the exact same terms used by Norwegian police to describe the Kongsberg killer, Espen Andersen Bråthen. Like Bråthen, moreover, Amess’s assassin had apparently been reported to authorities at some time in the past as a potential menace but had somehow failed to end up on the radar of the nationwide security police.

There was one last little detail about the perpetrator in Britain. His name is Ali Harbi Ali and he grew up in Croydon, south London. His father, Harbi Ali Kullane, was described on Monday in Inside Croyden as “a former media adviser to the prime minister of Somalia,” where he “was involved in several anti-terrorist campaigns against the jihadist group al-Shabab, and as a result had himself faced death threats.” The perpetrator’s own most recent address was Kentish Town, a posh, artsy neighborhood in north London.

Oh, and the specific nature of his involvement with UK authorities was that he was enrolled in the “Prevent scheme,” a program intended to prevent terrorism. If his father knew about that enrollment, it’s hard to understand why the old man told the Times, after his son’s arrest for murder, “I’m feeling very traumatised. It’s not something that I expected or even dreamt of.”

But in this case, as with the Kongsberg killings, perhaps the most striking thing is this: there seems to be a broad, concerted effort — presumably carried out on orders from the highest levels of government — to distract from the Muslim angle. Norwegian police, for their part, are trying to sell the ridiculous argument that even though Bråthen declared his Muslim identity in a 2017 video and has confirmed it to police since his arrest, he wasn’t really a Muslim — and hence not an Islamic terrorist — because he didn’t wear a djellaba or grow a beard or make a public spectacle of praying to Allah.

Similarly, British police seem to be trying to push the absurd line that Ali had no specific motive for killing Amess — meaning, apparently, that he didn’t have a particular grievance against Amess, and might just as easily have picked another Member of Parliament. You might just as well say that the Al Qaeda hijackers weren’t Islamic terrorists because they didn’t know exactly whom they’d be murdering on 9/11.

The Muslim mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, seemed to kick off this preposterous — and reprehensible — mass act of official deflection when he sent out a tweet shortly after the assassination. Here it is in its entirety: “I am so deeply, deeply saddened by the tragic news that Sir David has passed away. He loved being an MP and was a great public servant. It is just awful. My thoughts and prayers, and those of all rLondoners, are with David’s loved ones at this time of unimaginable grief.”

No, Mr. Mayor, Amess didn’t “pass away.” He was killed by one of your co-religionists in a jihadist act, per the instructions of your holy book.

If Khan really was “deeply, deeply saddened” by the news of Amess’s murder, you sure couldn’t tell it by his Twitter feed. Soon after offering up his rote words about Amess’s death, he was sending out nonsense about some environmental prize, about “Anti-Slavery Day,” about “Colleges Week,” and about the London Climate Summit. The objective was apparently to flood the zone — to acknowledge the killing as elliptically as possible and then move on ASAP. Yes, Khan did post two or three additional tweets about Amess’s death — but not a single word about the murderer or his motive.

Amess’s own family issued a statement urging everybody in the UK to “set aside their differences and show kindness and love to all. This is the only way forward.” Deeply Christian sentiments, I suppose, and especially touching given the torment that these poor people must be experiencing. But this is precisely why I’m not a very good Christian when it comes to things like this. Frankly, I can’t bring myself to show love to people who want to murder the people I love — or who are prepared to cheer when somebody else murders them. Turn the other cheek, and you’re encouraging your assailant not just to strike your other cheek but to move on to someone else’s cheek.

Still, the Amess family’s statement has made great copy for the BBC and other British media. Echoing their sentiments was an opinion piece by Jo Cox’s widower, Brendan Cox, calling for Britons “to reject polarisation” and “show decency and tolerance.” Again, pretty words. But in the face of a growing enemy within, they’re also terribly empty words. Imagine Churchill talking this way about the Nazis in the late 1930s. What does it mean to “set aside differences” and “reject polarization” in the face of an enemy that’s determined to destroy you?

Yes, after pretty much every act of jihadist terror, the mainstream media are full of calls for “unity” and “kindness” and “love.” But this time the effort to avoid the word jihad seems even more aggressive than usual. Even Nigel Farage has reacted to the omission. My main problem with Farage, whom I otherwise admire greatly, has always been his disinclination to criticize Islam. But on Monday, apropos of the widespread failure to discuss Amess’s murder as a domestic terrorist act in line with the 2005 London bombings, the 2013 killing of Lee Rigby, and the 2017 Manchester bombing, Farage exclaimed on GB News: “I’ve been astonished by the way people have danced around this!”

It gets worse. Even as they’ve been deep-sixing the Islamic angle, many public figures in Britain have been using the murder of Amess to double down on demands that the UK government police the Internet even more vigorously than it already does. In 2017, the London Times reported that “[n]ine people a day” were “being arrested for posting allegedly offensive messages online”; in 2016, all told, “[m]ore than 3,300 people were detained and questioned…over so-called trolling on social media and other online forums.” And this policing of opinion has only gotten more severe since.

Most of those arrested and imprisoned for these offenses, note well, are targeted for criticizing Islam. They do so because they understand that Islam is a deeply problematic ideology that has been responsible for countless atrocities around the world, most recently the jihadist murder of David Amess. Now, in what feels like an ultimate irony, the jihadist murder of David Amess may well end up being used by his colleagues in Parliament to authorize the harassment, arrest, imprisonment — and silencing — of even more critics of Islam.

Contemplate it. And weep.

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