Ed Lines

ANOTHER week, another terrorist atrocity on European soil. Nations are draping themselves in the Belgian flag, Facebook is awash with soppy platitudes and everyone involved in the World Matchplay golf tournament in Texas is wearing black ribbons on their caps.

Someone pass me the sick bag.

It’s a scant 14 months since the world’s politicians went arm in arm through Paris pronouncing that ‘Nous Somme a bunch of Charlies’ after the Hebdo murders, and only four months since the Bataclan massacres turned the world’s great buildings into neon-lit French flags.

Strange, isn’t it, how geography makes such a massive difference to public reaction to terrorist abominations.

How many of you even remember the name of the beach resort in Tunisia where 38 tourists, mostly British, were murdered last June?

It’s described as the Sousse attack, but it was actually in Port el Kantoui. By now we’ve largely forgotten the shootings at the Bardo Museum in Tunis, exactly a year ago last Friday, which claimed 22 lives.

Maybe no one can find a Tunisian flag, eh? (It’s a red background, white circle, with a red star and crescent – might look a bit daft pasted over your Facebook profile pic though. You’d look like an Islamic beetroot).

By now you’ve no doubt fathomed that I’m dismissive of all this public breast-beating and “solidarity” bullshine. Increasingly meaningless platitudes is all they are, the latest variation on the Princess Di hysteria, or the habit of council estate denizens to splash their benefits on a bunch of flowers to lay outside a house or school if there’s a chance the BBC Look North cameras will be attending.

Why can’t grief – real grief – be private any more? Why is it a public audition?

And with the greatest of respect, because I hope it is sincere and heartfelt, the reaction of a group of Muslim scholars that we carry today (see p5) is fast becoming equally trite.

Why? Because Europe’s governments can’t do a single thing to combat Islamic fanaticism except physically fight back. For some reason we are reluctant to do that.

Ironically, the only solace we can take is that with every suicide attack, at least there are two or three fewer nutters running loose.

Unfortunately however there’s little sign of ISIS running out of volunteers for its Mujahideens In Smithereens Brigade.

That can only be tackled by the very men who signed that statement condemning the loss of innocent lives in Brussels. But it isn’t enough. With every attack and every sympathetic letter, it becomes sadly more meaningless. Just another Facebook flag.

MUFTI Mohammed Amin Pandor and members of his Rabetah Institute of Islamic Scholars in Batley have incredible influence.

Not to bore you with background, but they are of the Sunni/Deobandi tradition, old fashioned Islamic conservatives, first cousins of the Tablighis at Savile Town’s Markazi mosque, and disciples of one of Sunni Islam’s leading theologians.

It is their young followers, predominantly, who for whatever reason are being drawn to ISIS. They won’t listen to me for sure, but they might listen to Mufti Pandor. So come on gentlemen, tell the world what you are doing to combat this warped ideology. The sympathy is appreciated, but as the adage has it, actions speak louder than words.

It remains beyond my comprehension how the Muslim warlords continue to recruit supposedly intelligent young men to blow their gonads through the roof.

Have any of these idiot footsoldiers ever stopped to wonder or ask how the 72 virgins awaiting them in heaven got there, or how they will have an eternal erection (this is from Sunan Ibn Majah, one of Islam’s major holy texts) when they’ve just blown their todger all over the inside of a tube train?

For a death cult that is so literal in its blind acceptance of the afterlife (and the specific details thereof, as in the virgins’ orgy) there seem to be some wild leaps of faith regarding the actual nuts and bolts.

I can be sarcastic about these infantile ideas until pigs fly but I can’t challenge the idea that martyrdom, gained by murdering innocent women and children, will be rewarded so literally by their god.

Only Mufti Pandor and his brothers can challenge that. So if western Europe is ever to live at peace with Islam, those men have to be in the vanguard of the war for hearts and minds. The more we get token sympathy, but no denouncement of this warped crusade, then I’m sorry, but I reserve the right to be cynical about it.

AS A footnote on cynicism: If you’re wondering why France and Belgium have suffered so tragically while we still appear to have a charmed life, it’s mostly down  to their Mickey Mouse police and security services.

The UK can’t live a charmed life forever, but we can take some comfort from our anti-terrorism forces being light years ahead of continental Europe’s. Now if only we controlled our own borders…

Political unity? Call a doctor!

WE HAVE to welcome the unanimous support of Kirklees councillors for a review of changes to the proposed downgrading/abolition of A&E services across the district. 

As an observation of political rhetoric, it was delightful to see rabid opponents all peeing into the wind, as one. They know it won’t make a blind bit of difference, but they’ll go through the motions anyway because it’s nearly local election time.

Politicians are little different from the senior management of the various health trusts involved – they serve their interests first and foremost, the public as a by-product.

The BMA and junior doctors who this week decided to let people die by refusing emergency care during their next two strikes, are no different. Anyone who thinks the NHS ‘works’ is either blindingly fortunate, or hasn’t had a loved one at death’s door in Dewsbury District Hospital on a weekend. One overworked junior doctor for the entire place, a bewildered, semi-literate foreign nurse told me at 3am.

The medics have something of an argument  but the BMA is simply flexing its socialist muscle and sod the dead patients.

Meanwhile, in the unthinkable event of Dewsbury and Huddersfield being parcelled together by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, any bets on which hospital would be run into the ground at the expense of the other?

Don’t expect such unanimity among councillors if that day ever dawned.

THE inconvenient Rotherham child sex scandal refuses to go away. It isn’t for the lack of the authorities trying however. Latest up was Prof John Drew’s report into South Yorkshire Police’s handling of it.

I liked this quote: “A generous interpretation of this situation would be to say that the senior command lacked professional curiosity and were focused instead on other areas of police performance.” Translation? Police chiefs let white girls be raped on an industrial scale, because of who was doing it.

The response of the incredibly slow-moving IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission): “We are committed to ensuring the allegations are investigated sensitively and thoroughly.” Translation: We will kick this ‘inquiry’ so far into the long grass, that Lassie wouldn’t find it if it was wrapped in bacon.

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