The Post-9/11Muslim Plight

Muslims living in both the United States and the United Kingdom have experienced serious backlash since the attacks of 9/11 and later the subway bombing in July, 2007 and they are not happy about it. Representatives of both communities say that they are the victims of unfair prejudice.

But in the United Kingdom, some extremist members of the Muslim community like Abu Abdullah are promoting dangerously violent ideas.

Just after he met with Sunday Morning correspondent Mark Phillips was arrested for inciting or glorifying terrorism. He espouses some of the most vitriolic rhetoric against the West and Israel.

"My views hardened quite a while ago," he told Phillips."It always comes back as a reflection from the West on the Middle East, as in going to an Islamic land and shoving democracy down their peoples' throat…Saying that you've gone their to liberate and give people freedom. This is absolute garbage, this is a lie and we have to do everything by Allah's grace and mercy to stop this preaching of democracy in the Muslim lands."

By everything, Abu Abdullah mean attacks in the West against soft civilian targets, like the subway bombings here last summer which he refuses to condemn.

"I can never condemn the actions of another Muslim to the Muslim world…no matter what," he said.

When speaking in his community, his language can become frighteningly violent.

"Those that fight you, lay in wait for them, seize them, smite them at their necks," he said in a Muslim neighborhood.

Abdullah's views are still on the extreme end of thinking in Britain's Islamic community and under new anti-terror laws here, inciting or glorifying terrorism is illegal – hence his arrest. But sentiments like his aren't as rare as they once were. MC Riz is a popular British-Muslim rapper. His music rails against what he says is unfair treatment of Muslims in the U.K.

"Israeli fighters are soldiers," he says in his song "9/11 Blues." "Irish are paramilitary and darkie ones are terrorists – a simple canopy. But not me. My friends say Riz is still one of us, but if I haven't shaved they won't sit with me on the bus."

MC Riz innocently expresses the anger that many young British Muslims feel, but the rage goes much deeper. Neil Doyle, who tracks militant Islamic Web sites, says he used to find militant Islamic websites operating from shadowy centers in the Muslim world. Now they're in the U.K.

"Yeah, I would describe it as a main communications hub," he said. "You can see from the chatter, people are quite jubilant, there is a strong feeling at the moment that they have got the upper hand and that the Americans and the British are being pushed back on all fronts."

On the political front, British Prime Minister Tony Blair's forced announcement that he will quit within a year is tied to his support of American policy.

  • Caitlin Johnson

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