All the great radical clerics have gone, bar one. Theres Omar Bakri Muhammad, the "Tottenham Ayatollah" who raged against the Spice Girls and other manifestations of decadent Britain (Im sort of with him on that), now somewhere in Lebanon. And Abu Hamza, whos finally stateside after years of making a valuable contribution to British life. What about Jamaican-born Abdullah el-Faisal nothing like the zeal of a convert whos back in the West Indies after a long spell in London ranting and raving.
All of these characters became public faces in Britain in 2000s: like all extremists, amusing until they or their followers succeed. Abu Hamza radicalised the 7/7 bombers and el-Faisel one of the 9/11 plotters, as well as Richard Reid, who would not be such a figure of fun had he succeeded.
Now Abu Qatada is the last one left, the OToole to their Reed, Burton and Harris. Ive written before about the philosophical arguments against allowing him to stay and the immigration problems he personifies; all that can be added is that its a shame that its taken so long for us to take these people seriously. (continue reading...)(...more)