London: The Pakistani Connection
by Stephen Schwartz
IN THE FIRST FEW DAYS after the horror in London on July 7, media in Britain and abroad focused considerable attention on "Londonistan"--the local zoo of Islamist agitators, almost entirely Arab, who have made headlines for years with their extremist preaching. Analytical lines, many of them useful, were drawn to al Qaeda and Iraq, but almost nobody looked at domestic Muslim extremism in the United Kingdom.
Close observers of the British Islamic community, however, few of whom seem to have been consulted by reporters or the government, had been discussing for months a dramatic increase in radical agitation by Pakistani Muslim immigrants in Britain, as well as among their children.
According to the authoritative Muslim Council of Britain, the British Islamic population, totaling 1.5 million, has a plurality of 610,000 Pakistanis, with an additional 360,000 from Bangladesh and India, and 350,000 Arab and African. Unfortunately, Pakistan is the world's second most significant front-line state (after Iraq) in the global war on terror. Pakistan produced the Jama'at-i-Islami (Community of Islam) movement, founded by Abu'l Ala Mawdudi, a theologian who died in 1979, strangely enough, in Buffalo, New York, at age 76. Known as Jamaatis, the followers of Mawdudi have attained exceptional influence in the Pakistani army and intelligence services, and were a key element in the Pakistani-Saudi alliance to support the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
Western academics and journalists are often at pains to distinguish between the Jamaatis and Wahhabism, which is the state religion in Saudi Arabia. But differences in theological details, although they do exist, are secondary; mainly, the Saudi Wahhabis hold to a deceptive alliance with the Western powers, while the Jamaatis were always frontally anti-Western. The Jamaatis study in Saudi Arabia and share with the Wahhabis a murderous hatred of Muslims who do not conform to their ideology, considering those who reject their teachings to be apostates from Islam. They regularly massacre Shia Muslims, in particular, in Pakistani cities. They also completely reject participation by Muslim immigrants in the political and social institutions of Western countries in which they live, and they consider suicide terror legitimate. Pakistan has very few energy resources, and the Saudis have used cheap oil to support Wahhabi infiltration. In the system of radical Islam, if Saudi Arabia may be compared with the former Soviet state, Pakistan could be a parallel to the former East Germany.
For these reasons, the identification of four British-born Muslims of Pakistani origin as the perpetrators of the London atrocity comes as no surprise to those who have been paying attention to these matters. The seething, ferocious rhetoric heard in Pakistani Sunni mosques, at Friday services every week in outlying cities such as Leeds, is far more insidious, as the London events may show, than the antics engaged in by Arab loudmouths like the Syrian Omar Bakri Muhammad, the hook-handed Egyptian Abu Hamza al-Masri, or the bogus Saudi dissident Saad al-Faqih, all of who mainly perform for non-Muslim media attention.
Social marginalization and underemployment of second generation ethnic Pakistani youth in Britain may be cited as a cause for the extremist appeal among them; but the constant drumming of the Jamaati message from the pulpit is much more significant. It is interesting to hear first-generation Pakistani Sunnis in Britain claim shock and surprise at the presence of terrorists among them. Pakistani Islamist radicalism dominates British Islam much as the "Wahhabi Lobby" in America monopolizes the voice of the Muslim community on our shores.