Victoria Brittain has never met a terrorist, jihadist, or enemy of a liberal and multicultural society that she doesn’t admire. A former associate foreign editor of the Guardian, Brittain is a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, sits on the editorial board of Race and Class, and is on the national executive council of Respect Renewal.
She also has a nice side line in advocating for jihadists.
Most famously, she ghost wrote the biography of Moazzam Begg, whose involvement in jihadism stretches back to 1994. The thesis of the Brittain/Begg book can be summed up in one sentence, which should have been its title:
It Was All A Series Of Co-Incidences and Terrible Misunderstandings.
Well, she’s at it again. Here is the opening sentence of her latest offering on Comment Is Free, where she boohoos about Abu Qatada’s return to prison:
What a study in contrasts of legal rights and concerns in Britain today: a Tory MP, and a Palestinian scholar and refugee.
Read through the rest of the article, and you’ll notice that – amazingly – she has forgotten to mention that this “Palestinian scholar and refugee” is an outspoken and active jihadist: the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda in Europe. In fact, the point that is usually made about the need to ‘treat him nice’ is that he might be a useful conduit to the Al Qaeda.
You’ll remember that the jihadist Jaish al-Islam group – that kidnapped Alan Johnston – did so to demand Abu Qatada’s release. Qatada swiftly offered to ‘intermediate’. I serious wonder whether the whole reason for Johnston’s capture, was to remind the British Government that Qatada was the guy they could ‘do business’ with.
None of this, of course gets mentioned by Brittan.
Then there’s this beautiful paragraph:
The use of the media to create a climate of fear around Muslims in Britain is nothing new. Remember the tabloid frenzy over “the Tipton Taliban”? These were three young men from Tipton who crossed from Pakistan to Afghanistan during the refugee crisis of late 2001, had nothing to do with the Taliban, but who suffered shocking torture during more than two years in Guantanamo. They were completely exonerated and released in 2004.
Oh yeah. The Tipton Three.
Buried away in the schedules with almost no advance publicity was Lie Lab. Making use of new techniques in magnetic resonance imaging, the programme set out to discover if its subjects were telling the truth. Last week those subjects were Ruhal Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul, better known as two-thirds of the Tipton Three.
That was the name given to the three young men who were picked up in Afghanistan in late 2001 by American forces and transported to Guantanamo Bay, where they were held without charges or trial for two years before being released back to Britain.
Campaigners for the men have always maintained they were innocent tourists-cum-aid workers, caught up in the invasion of Afghanistan. This was also the line of Michael Winterbottom ‘s film, The Road to Guantanamo. And given the tone and approach of Lie Lab, it also seemed to be a belief shared by the programme makers.
But at the end of what was actually a rather dry and laborious piece of science TV, when confronted with results that suggested he was less than forthcoming with the truth, Ahmed confessed (Rasul had refused to go through with the test) not only to visiting an Islamist training camp but also handling weapons and learning how to use an AK47.
What an idiot!
Victoria Brittan does perform a useful function, however. You can be certain that, whatever she thinks, the exact opposite is likely to be true.
A reader directs our attention to last year’s court judgement on Abu Qatada, the mild mannered “Palestinian scholar and refugee”:
28. The Appellant, over his years here, has constructed a support base within the United Kingdom for terrorism-related activities abroad and in the UK. Prior to the UK’s involvement in military action in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks, the UK was largely used by the Islamist terrorist networks as a base from which to support terrorist networks or groups engaged in terrorist actions in countries other than the UK. For a while, the Appellant appears to have viewed the UK as a comparatively benign environment in which the motivation for carrying out attacks may have been outweighed by the opportunities for carrying out fundraising, recruitment and procurement, although, even in December 1996, the Appellant was already proclaiming that it was acceptable to fight Jews within the UK.
29. The Security Service interviewed the Appellant on three occasions in 1996-7, when he agreed to use his influence to minimise the risk of a violent response to the possible extradition of Ramda, the UK leader of the GIA. But he provided no information enabling attacks to be prevented, warned his congregation to be wary of MI5’s approaches and provided them with physical descriptions and names of MI5 officers approaching Muslims.
30. In September 1998, the Appellant expressed the view that it was legitimate for GIA followers to break Western laws, to steal and cheat “kaffirs” (unbelievers or infidels), and to take their women for sex or sale, but as they were living in a predominantly “kaffir” society, they had to be careful to conceal their activities to avoid a backlash, and should wait one month from the seizure of women before having sex with them.
31. In October 1999, the Appellant made a speech at the Four Feathers mosque in which he effectively issued a fatwa authorising the killing of Jews, including Jewish children. He told the congregation that Americans should be attacked wherever they were, that in his view they were no better than Jews and that there was no difference between English, Jews and Americans.
32. In a sermon given by the Appellant, apparently in the UK in 2002, he stated that if a Muslim killed a non-believer for the sake of Islam, it was not a sin and Allah looked well upon it. In response to a question about suicide bombings, the Appellant said that they were legitimate if undertaken for the benefit of Islam, causing damage to an enemy.
There’s more. Read the judgement.
If somebody had written a puff piece for a White Supremacist who had acted this way, do you think they’d get a column in the Guardian?