Ed West, Telegraph (London), April 26, 2011
London was the global headquarters of Islamic terrorism in the years before and after 9/11. This fact wasn’t exactly a closely guarded secret, but the WikiLeaks Guantánamo Bay files shed interesting new light on the American perspective. (I especially like the detail that the US government suspected the BBC of being a “possible propaganda media network” for al-Qaeda after a BBC phone number was found on a terrorist. What do they mean “possible”? Have they not listened to Radio 4?)
London became the world terrorist hub partly because the country had a long tradition of shielding dissenters of all stripes; because it had a very unintrusive state compared to its European neighbours (no ID cards); and because of Britain’s historic links with many Arab countries. But there was another reason, and this is central to the reason why Europe has an Islamist problem and the United States doesn’t–the welfare state. Welfare is intimately linked to the failure of western European countries to integrate their Muslim populations, and explains why Britain has such a problem with Islamism.
Look at the two figures named by US intelligence as responsible for recruiting dozens of terrorists, Abu Qatada and Abu Hamza. Qatada, a Jordanian preacher and advisor to shoe bomber Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui, the 9/11 plotter, was expelled from Kuwait for supporting the Iraqi invasion, then claimed asylum in Britain on the grounds of religious persecution. We granted it, naturally. Come in!
While spending his time raising money for the destruction of the West (he was once caught with £170,000 in cash, including £850 on an envelope with the less-than-enigmatic words “For the Mujahedin in Chechnya” on the front), he was happy to receive £400 a week in government benefits–£322 for housing and £70 for disability.
Abu Hamza, the hook-handed Yemeni, was a phenomenal sponger. His London house cost taxpayers £2400 a month, and at one point he was receiving over £500 a month for incapacity benefits while his wife received an additional £1300 a month. Abu Hamza even sued the government for extra benefits.
Always taking the Euro-moral high ground, the British had refused to extradite Hamza to his native Yemen in 1999 because it had the death penalty; he then went on to radicalise the 7/7 bombers, so that 52 innocent people died in the place of one guilty man.
In fact the one thing religious extremists in Britain and Europe almost all have in common is their willingness to take money from the kuffir. Another tabloid regular, “Tottenham Ayatolla” Omar Bakri, sponged £275,000 in welfare, including a £31,000 Ford Galaxy people carrier to ferry around his seven children. And between them the July 21 bombers, who were admitted into Britain as refugees from war-torn east Africa, received £500,000 in welfare payments before repaying the British people by trying (and failing) to murder lots of innocents (who were only saved because the mastermind of the plots had been through the British state education system and so was incapable of doings the sums necessary to make a bomb).
Then there is Anjem Choudary, co-founder of the outlawed Al- Muhajiroun movement, and a qualified solicitor although he has never worked as one, who receives £25,000 a year in benefits. As Douglas Murray once pointed out, this is £10,000 more than a soldier in Afghanistan is paid: “It’s probably not the first time in history where one side has paid its enemies and its own men, but it’s probably the first war in history where somebody has paid its enemies better than its own men.”
Everywhere in Britain Islamism is taxpayer-funded, the welfare system helping to fill idle young minds with poison, and fuelling a sense of resentment amongst (often emotionally fragile) second-generation immigrants.
One only has to look at America’s experience with Islam to see how welfare and diversity do not mix. EU Muslims are over six and a half times more likely, proportionately, to be arrested for terrorist offences than American Muslims. In surveys well over two thirds of American Muslims said they believed they can make it in America with hard work, a higher proportion than Americans generally, reflecting their belief in the American Dream.
Fewer than half think themselves Muslims first and Americans second, compared to 81 per cent in Britain. Yet America is, by any measurable standards, far more “Islamophobic” than Britain, with far more public criticism and mockery of that religion. In place of the American Dream, Britain has the European Nightmare, a welfare system that disincentives assimilation and breeds resentment.
Welfare states were designed for fairy ancient, largely homogenous European countries in the retirement stage of civilisation; but combined with open borders, as Milton Friedman predicted, welfare is unsustainable, socially divisive and potentially dangerous. The Americans have every right to despair at the strange, self-destructive behaviour of their ally.