You'll Never Guess Where This Is!
Clue: it's a government building.
No? Another clue: it's where senior experts gather to devise and implement military policy to counter threats from ISIL, Al-Qaeda, home-grown jihadis and so on.
Still not got it? Then I'll tell you: it's the main building of the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall, London.
The photographed occasion was an Iftar (breaking of Ramadan) reception on the 7th July 2015.
Prayers were led by Imam Asim Hafiz, OBE, the 'Armed Forces' advisor on Islam'. He's the one with the beard:
Master of Ceremonies (Community) was Mrs Julie Siddiqi (what's her story, d'you think?):
It's rumoured that Army officers are forbidden ever to speak critically of Islam: Islam good, Islamism bad (though nobody quite seems to know the difference). Surprising if true, since the one thing common to most of the belligerents opposed by British forces in the twenty-first century is... well, see if you can guess:
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
Osama Bin Laden
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)
Private soldiers, on the other hand, tend to be more forthcoming. Try asking a squaddie how relaxed he feels around heavily armed Muslims, post Fort Hood. Or how much he likes this recruitment ad showcasing the new, 'emotionally supportive' British Army:
'Bigotry!', 'Islamophobia!', I hear leftists squeal.
I beg to differ. We in the West have acquired this mistrust from hard experience, grounded in cold statistics.
Michael Kinsley in The Washington Post:
When thugs menace someone because he looks Arabic, that's racism. When airport security officials single out Arabic-looking men for a more intrusive inspection, that's something else. What is the difference? The difference is that the airport security folks have a rational reason for what they do. An Arab-looking man heading toward a plane is statistically more likely to be a terrorist.
It's called racial or cultural profiling: real-world application of the hard probabilities of twenty-first century terror.
Police apply profiling too, in violent gang neighbourhoods when they stop and search young black men more often than, say, old Polish ladies. Not to do so would be irrational, time-wasting and potentially dangerous.
I'm not saying, of course, that all black youths are gangsters or all Muslims potential terrorists - rather that statistics don't lie, and failure to learn from experience can be fatal.
To the top brass who seem hell-bent on further Islamising the Armed Forces, I would put these questions:
1. Do you know that three years ago there were more UK Muslims fighting for ISIL than serving in the British Army?
2. Do you know also that tens of thousands of potential jihadis walk free in Britain, among them hundreds of former ISIL fighters?
3. And are you one hundred percent confident that such sworn enemies of the West won't try to infiltrate the Armed Forces, or defence and security institutions?
Most people recoil from the photos of Islamic prayers in the citadel of the British defence establishment, because they corroborate a fear that political/ military leaders are elevating 'tolerance' above security, are dismissing the Islamic origins of current military and terrorist threats, and are forgetting that a Muslim's first loyalty is always to Allah.
(Photos © Crown copyright 2013.)
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