Just before going back to the USA after five months in the UK I attended the “˜Global Peace and Unity” Conference at London’s Excel Centre presented by the new Islam Channel and sponsored by Emirates Airlines, Western Union (hmm??) and the Metropolitan Police.
It was advertised as a diverse event to which non-Muslims were invited and the impression one got from the website was of a celebration of Middle Eastern culture, food, music and children’s activities in a London milieu.
To my utter horror — and I should have written this report two days ago but my physical and emotional shock have rendered me nearly inert — it was a seven-hour call to Jihad by a succession of ranting and shouting rabble-rousers.
The eminent barrister Michael Mansfield QC, wearing black and white keffiyah scarf, shouted into the mike about the heinous crimes of the Western coalition countries. The crowd chanted and thundered its appreciation.
The terrifying demagogue George Galloway ascended the podium and exhorted the crowd to stand up for the redemption of the oppressed Muslim world or else the nation had better get ready for “˜rioting in every street in Britain.”.
The “˜slaughter in Palestine and Iraq” being only part of the equation, Chechnya, Bosnia and Kashmir were also mentioned all day by every speaker including a crazed, chador-clad Yvonne Ridley, who at any moment I expected to self-immolate, such was her fury at the Zionists, the Americans and her fellow Britons. To my utter disbelief, she condemned the British police force as some form of fascist brigade in “˜jackboot Britain.”
To all of these exhortations came cries of “˜Alllahu Akhbar” from the enormous, simmering crowd of what looked to me like the angriest gathering of young men and women with whom I have ever had the misfortune to be seated in my lifetime.
Read it all.
UPDATE: Jihad Watch reader Anglo has alerted me to this TimesOnline article, “Muslim peace rally attracts thousands,” which paints a very different picture of the rally. Since I wasn’t there, I can’t offer an opinion as to which portrayal is more accurate.