This is no surprise: again and again we have seen Muslim spokesmen disclaim responsibility for any wrongdoing of any kind.
This isn’t even anything new. Right after the 7/7 bombings, jihadist Omar Bakri said that there was no proof that the bombers were Muslim, and his partner in crime Anjem Chaudary said that Britain was behind the bombings.
Today almost four years on, the images of that dreadful morning are etched into our minds: the woman in the haunting white burns mask being helped to safety; the shell-shocked businessman in a suit with his hair and shirt matted with blood; the crippled No 30 bus with its roof blown off; the mangled wreckage of smouldering Tube trains.
The country’s worst-ever terrorist atrocity during London’s morning rush hour on July 7, 2005, shattered for ever the heady euphoria in which the capital was basking the morning after winning the bid for the 2012 Olympics.
That afternoon, Tony Blair – who was hosting the G8 summit on global poverty in Gleneagles, Scotland – returned to Downing Street to pronounce that the attack was an act in the ‘name of Islam’.
Later, at a meeting of the Government’s national emergency committee COBRA, London’s anti-terror police chief Andy Hayman told senior ministers that he suspected suicide bombers.
And so the story of 7/7 that we have come to accept was pieced together: four British Muslims – Mohammad Sidique Khan, 30, Shehzad Tanweer, 22, Jermaine Lindsay, 19, and Hasib Hussain, 18 – blew themselves up using home-made explosives, killing 56 and injuring 700 on three Tube trains and a double-decker bus.
They had travelled on a mainline train from Luton into King’s Cross Thameslink Station in London, each carrying a heavy rucksack of explosives.
It is a version of events that has been endorsed by a high-level Parliamentary inquiry and a government report, both published in May 2006 ten months after the event, based on 12,500 statements, a police examination of 142 computers and 6,000 hours of CCTV footage.
The report insisted that the bombers acted on their own, constructing explosives from chapatti flour and hair bleach mixed in the bath at a flat in Leeds, Yorkshire, where all four had family and friends.
It concluded that the Muslim bombers were not controlled by a terrorist mastermind, but inspired by Al Qaeda ideology picked up on extremist websites.
But families of the dead victims and an increasing number of 7/7 survivors claim there are inconsistencies and basic mistakes in the official accounts that need explanation.
And they are demanding a full public inquiry to answer key questions about what the Intelligence Services and the police did and did not know before the bombings.
Meanwhile, the Government’s determined refusal to meet their demands is having a very dangerous side-effect – fuelling myriad conspiracy theories about 7/7. Books, blogs and several video documentaries point to oddities in the official accounts.
Alarmingly, some of the conspiracy videos are being hawked around mosques throughout the country to whip up anti-British sentiment.
For the most outlandish and offensive of them suggest that the attacks were not the work of Muslim terrorists at all, but were carried out by the Government to boost support for the Iraq war….
And there are apparent inconsistencies in the official account. And you know what that means: the Jews did it!
And it is such inconsistencies that are fuelling the deepening concerns. This week, a television documentary on BBC2 called Conspiracy Files 7/7 revealed the existence of a conspiracy theorist’s 56-minute video called Ripple Effect.
It accuses Tony Blair, the Government, the police, and the British and Israeli Secret Services of murdering the innocent people who died that day to stir up anti-Islamic fervour and create public support for the ‘war on terror’.
This is hardly plausible, given the fact that even though Blair did say that the attacks were done in the name of Islam, he took pains to distinguish peaceful Muslims from those who carried out the bombings: “This is a small group of extremists. Not one who can be ignored, but neither should it define Muslims in Britain who are overwhelmingly law-abiding, decent members of our society.” He asserted that the “vast majority” of Muslims in Britain opposed terrorism.
Above all, he attached a disclaimer even when he said that the bombers acted in Islam’s name: “We know that these people act in the name of Islam but we also know that the vast and overwhelming majority of Muslims both here and abroad are decent and law abiding people who abhor this kind of terrorism every bit as much as we do.”
Only by relying on the passage of time and the faultiness of memory could anyone avoid being laughed out of the room when asserting that the British government was ever trying to stir up “anti-Islamic fervour.”
It alleges that the four British Muslims were tricked by the authorities into taking part in what they were told would be a mock anti-terror training exercise. What they weren’t told, the video alleges, was that the Government was going to blow them up, along with other passengers, then pretend the four were suicide bombers.
Without any evidence, the Ripple Effect video accuses government agents of setting off pre-planted explosives under the three Tube trains and on the bus.
It suggests that the four Muslims were not, in fact, on any of the Tube trains, claiming that they missed them altogether because of the train delays on the Luton to London line.
It adds, astonishingly, that because the four did not get onto the Tube on time, three of them were murdered by police at Canary Wharf later that morning and the fourth – the bus bomber – ran off.
Outrageous though these claims are, the video has become an internet hit. More worryingly, it is playing on the fears of Britain’s Muslim community.
Even some senior Islamists believe the events of 7/7 were fabricated. As Dr Mohammad Naseem, the chairman of Birmingham’s Central Mosque, says in the BBC2 documentary: ‘We do not accept the government version of July 7, 2005. The Ripple Effect video is more convincing than the official statements.’
Mr Naseem, a well-educated man, had made 2,000 copies of Ripple Effect for members of his mosque. Research has revealed that even before the contentious video came out, one in four British Muslims thought the Government or the Secret Services were responsible for the 7/7 atrocities. Now the number of doubters is growing.
At Friday prayers recently, Dr Naseem asked the congregation to raise their hands if they did not accept the government version of events. Nearly the entire gathering of 150 men and boys did so. He then urged his audience to collect free copies of Ripple Effect at the back of the mosque….