Storbritannia har vært stolte av å være en frihavn for forfulgte sjeler, men noen har misbrukt tilliten. Radikale predikanter har fått spre sitt hatbudskap i full offentlighet.
Det vil det trolig bli en slutt på. Men fremdeles er det mulig å preke jihad i Storbritannia, på åpne møter, slik Christian Science Monitor opplevde.
En predikant som kaller seg Abu Osama holder utendørspreken.
«The London bombings … were about striking terror into the heart of the enemy,» he thunders, just one week after the 7/7 attacks that killed 56 people and wounded hundreds more.
Muslims around the world are being slaughtered, he tells them. «All we ask them is: ‘Remove your troops from Muslim lands and we will stop all of this.’ » The men nod in agreement. One glances into the baby stroller he’s pushing. Car after car races past.
Det er ikke de spektakulære, mediekåte predikantene av typen Omar Bakri og Abu Hamza som får oppslutning blant de unge. Det er typer som Abu Osama, som er på deres alder, og snakker deres språk. De er langt farligere.
Abu Osama, just 30, was born and raised here in East London, amid peeling paint and dingy kebab shops. «I know English. I know Britain. But if I live here, I must speak for Muslims elsewhere,» he says, stressing that he belongs first to the ummah, or global Islamic community.
Abu Osama’s faith deepened early. Watching his Pakistani immigrant father struggle to support his family of seven, he sought strength in Islam.
«I began praying and studying when I was 16, and since then I’ve been like this,» he says, pointing to his long, curling beard.
Abu Osama first spoke publicly eight years ago; he has since won ardent followers.
Last fall, addressing a meeting of scores of British radicals, he sighed: «At the moment in Britain there is no jihad.» Faces fell around the hall.
«Yet!» he exclaimed suddenly, to approving murmurs. The jihad would soon come, Abu Osama predicted, and he urged his listeners to embrace its arrival.
On 7/7, the jihad came. The suicide bombers were aged 18 to 30 – the same age as Abu Osama’s cohorts. By portraying militancy as the ultimate expression of piety, Abu Osama and preachers like him are leading young Muslims down the path toward violence.
Last fall, Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman for the MCB, told The Christian Science Monitor that the extent of radicals in Britain was being hyped up by the media. «The reality on the ground is that there is almost nothing there,» he said. «Islamic terrorism: much of it is a media myth.»
Then came the slaughter of 7/7. From café-studded central London, 2_kommentarstream Muslim organizations declared that such suicide attacks were un-Islamic
At the East London mosque, Abu Osama’s street preaching has evolved into a theological debate: Should one defend Islam worldwide by fighting in Britain? For these men, it’s not just a philosophical exercise. Their conclusions could tip the balance of security across the country.
Abu Osama nods. «If four men can take explosives and rock the whole of Britain, imagine what more could do.»
Storbritannia har hatt toleranse som overordnet prinsipp så lenge at det skal bli vanskelig å snu utviklingen. Disse radikale miljøene har fått satt seg. Å rykke dem opp betyr sannsynligvis å komme på kant med 2_kommentarstream-miljøer, som føler seg solidariske. Det er der slaget vil stå. Hvis store muslimske miljøer solidariserer seg med de ekstreme, kan de sette sin fremtid i Storbritannia på spill.