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Sunday 8 July 2007

After Glasgow the doctor jokes have a killing Islamist twist

I DON'T want to swell his substantial head further, but I have to begin by mentioning Vincent Browne, who last week wrote an article of - even for him - startling idiocy about what he called "three 'terrorist' incidents" in Britain.

I haven't room today to address his truly mind-blowing ignorance about the roots of violent Islam, but several of his readers are beating him to an intellectual pulp in the columns of the Irish Times, so I'll let that row run for a while.

I would, however, like to address his opening paragraph, in which he spoke of the "clamour" that has arisen since last weekend which "speaks of manipulated hysteria, Islamophobia and a collective myopia over real dangers and disasters. Nobody has been killed. Minimal damage to property has been caused. A clear inference from these acts is that those responsible are amateurs, unlikely to pose a substantial threat".

Would that we in Britain could share Vincent's serenity! Hysterics that we are, we have been somewhat perturbed by the sheer energy and commitment of the Islamist murderers and wannabes in our midst.

Yesterday was the second anniversary of the day when 52 Londoners were murdered and hundreds maimed in suicide bombings. Since then we've read, inter alia, of the trials of another shower who tried to do worse two weeks later, of al-Qaeda's Dhiren Barot, the enthusiastic British convert from Hinduism, who with seven chums wanted to let off a dirty bomb, of the five charmers who wanted to explode a giant fertiliser bomb in a shopping centre, nightclub and on the gas network and so on and on.

We get this stuff every week. On Friday, for instance, along with further revelations about killer doctors, we learned of a failed asylum-seeker convicted for possessing material for the purposes of terrorism and of three cyber-jihadists who used the internet to incite Muslims to wage war on non-believers.

Since most of the guys failed, Vincent feels we've nothing to worry about. Sure, these evil bastards wanted to incinerate and pierce with flying nails in a nightclub hundreds of what they affectionately term "slags". Certainly, they hoped to turn Glasgow airport and the families therein into cinders, but, hey, they didn't manage to do it. What's the fuss about?

Interesting thesis, Vincent. The only problem is that people learn from their mistakes. The Provos took a while to find efficient ways of blowing civilians to bits. Surely you're not suggesting Islamists are too thick to learn?

The ordinary person in the British street assumes there will be another atrocity, is trying to be calm about it and is straining not to blame peaceable Muslims for the activities of a lunatic fringe, while resenting the large numbers who are in denial and wishing the others would come out on the streets with placards saying, "Not in my name" - a suggestion that drives Muslim so-called community representatives crazy and produces outbursts of whataboutery and accusations of Islamophobia.

The United Kingdom loves the National Health Service, so there is widespread shock that we have been targeted by a gaggle of homicidal doctors. As ordinary Brits absorb the implications of this, they're doing what they always do in such circumstances: they're making jokes about the enemy.

Because the attack on Glasgow airport happened on the day before smoking was banned in public places in England, there have been plenty of texts along the lines of "So much for the cigarette ban. Two guys already caught smoking at Glasgow airport."

Then there was the emailed photo of a heavily bandaged man lying in a hospital bed and complaining: "But I was promised 72 virgins!" The nursing angel of mercy leaning solicitously over him replies: "Then why the f*** would you come to Glasgow?"

Middle England humour, as exemplified in the work of the great Telegraph cartoonist Matt, showed one suburban lady anxiously reading a newspaper which had the headline: "NHS doctors held". Her friend, as she pours the tea, is bragging in a genteel fashion: "We always go private for our terrorism."

Australia, at present in hot pursuit of murderous medics, has joined in. The Australian had a cartoon of one burka-enveloped woman saying to another: "My son wants to be a doctor when he's blown up."

I laughed most at the email from David, a British friend who is a political scientist: "In the al-Qaeda version of medical science," he wrote, "'Physician heal thyself' becomes 'Physician kill thyself'.
Indeed there is something quite Pythonesque about legions of GPs fighting jihad on the NHS with a bomb in one hand while handing out sick notes with the other. It also casts a whole new light on the notion of Medecins Sans Frontieres."

Then there are the Scots triumphalist jokes, inspired by John Smeaton, the baggage handler who helped the police subdue one of the men from the burning Jeep, dragged an injured civilian to safety and was totally non-PC. about it. Asked what message he had for the bombers, he replied, "This is Glasgow. We'll just set about ye."

There's a website in his honour with such postings as: "Those hapless al-Qaeda boys were to find out that Glasgow has no respect for international terrorism. Nobody gets between 10,000 Weegies and a £99 week in Ibiza booked on Thursday night through Barrhead Travel."

But in the midst of the jokes the Brits are learning harsh lessons about how a pernicious ideology such as Islamism can turn healers into killers. After all, is not Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawari, a highly-qualified surgeon and paediatrician?

The distressed British Muslim Doctors and Dentists Association is horrified by recent events, condemning violence as "completely contrary to the teachings of both medicine and Islam". Yet their profession is well represented among the membership of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded 60 years ago to re-establish the Caliphate and which is at present infiltrating a mosque near you.

Call me an hysterical Islamophobe, but I fear we'll be need healing jokes for many decades to come.

Ruth Dudley Edwards

© Ruth Dudley Edwards