It is more than a year since the UK suffered three Islamist terrorist attacks in quick succession. It is also more than a year since the Prime Minister, Theresa May, stood on the steps of Downing Street and announced that ‘enough is enough’.
Yet the striking aspect of the last year has been how little has changed.
Consider, for instance, the lax controls on extremist preachers that the UK had in place in 2016. As reported here at the time, in the summer of that year, two Pakistani clerics performed a tour of the UK. Their seven-week roadshow took in numerous UK hotspots including Rochdale, Rotherham, Oldham and the Prime Minister’s own constituency of Maidenhead. The two clerics — Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman and Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman — began their tour by visiting the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at Lambeth Palace for a meeting on ‘interfaith relations’.
How expert are these two clerics at ‘interfaith relations’? Well, they are so good that their main credential is their enthusiastic support for the murderer of somebody accused of ‘blasphemy’. Yes — these two preachers are famed in Pakistan for having supported Mumtaz Qadri, the murderer of the progressive Punjab Governor Salman Taseer. Because Taseer believed in a relaxation of Pakistan’s barbaric blasphemy codes (specifically he opposed the execution of a Christian woman — Asia Bibi — who was falsely accused of blaspheming the Muslim god), Qadri — who was meant to be guarding the governor — instead murdered Taseer in 2011. Qadri himself was subsequently tried, sentenced to death and executed by the state. After Qadri’s funeral in Rawalpindi, Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman whipped up the crowds of the murderer’s mourners. Rehman acclaimed the murderer Qadri as a ‘shaeed’ (martyr). The crowd subsequently chanted slogans such as ‘Qadri, your blood will bring revolution’ and ‘the punishment for a blasphemer is beheading’.