In the early hours of Monday, 19th June 2017 a Citroen van from a Pontyclun hire company ploughed into a crowd of Muslim pedestrians in Finsbury Park, North London near to the local mosque leading to the death of one, named as Makram Ali and the maiming of several others – some with life changing injuries. Videos filmed in the immediate aftermath showed a distressing, chaotic scene with bodies strewn all over the ground, including elderly with walking sticks and a man in a wheel chair.
The driver of the seemingly deliberate act was heard apparently screaming “kill me” as an angry crowd surrounded and restrained him and that wanted to “kill all Muslims” and “did his bit”. He was later identified
after being taken into custody by the police as a 48 year old unemployed man from the Cardiff suburb of Pentwyn. Neighbours described him as “aggressive” and “strange”, who on one occasion called a 12 year old Muslim “inbred”. It is alleged that in an incident in a pub in Cardiff the day before the attack which led him being thrown out, that he ranted about his hatred of Muslims and seemed particularly exercised by the al Quds Day march planned for Sunday in London which he declared he was “going to do something about them” while seen taking notes.
What none were prepared to countenance however was that someone could have been radicalised not by Nigel Farage or Tommy Robinson but by the recent spate of terrorist attacks in the UK that has seen innocent people deliberately run over and stabbed and children blown up at a Arianna Grande concert in Manchester. Or the massacre in Paris, that included 89 people shot and blown up with grenades in the Bataclan theatre, the truck attack in Nice on Bastile Day last year that killed 86 and 18 killed in a further truck attack at a Berlin Christmas market.
Indeed, according to one report
the alleged Finsbury Park van driver only turned against Muslims following the London Bridge terrorist attack following which he went from willingly helping his Muslim neighbours with DIY problems to becoming increasingly hostile and abusive. Far from being a hardcore Britain First fanatic or a Combat 18 member, initial information seems to point to him being someone who had been on a downward spiral for sometime
, recently splitting from his wife and was living in a tent in the woods. One neighbour recalled having seen him two weeks earlier
wandering around in the woods in tears, “He looked like he’d been crying. Something was definitely wrong.”.
Of course a complex, nuanced understanding of the suspect’s actions cannot be allowed by left wing Twitter who are determined that he be a crazed neo Nazi. Indeed their reaction to this attack is instructive as there seems to be far more outrage over what happened in Finsbury than over Manchester or London Bridge which are treated as “tragedies”.
Suddenly their ears are attuned to media terminology following a terrorist attack. “Lone wolf” and “mental health problems” are suddenly only seen as applying to the attacker if they’re white, which obviously suggests they showed no interest in previous more devastating Islamic terrorist attacks in which the media made great pains to raise the possibility of mental health problems and problems in the terrorist’s personal life, as if the fact they were Muslim was purely incidental and their motive may never be known. As if on cue and following a script, the media almost invariably reports the terrorist as having been either disruptive when attending mosque or not regularly attending at all and being known to drink and take drugs – seemingly as there was a conscious effort to distance the terrorist from Islam, that “he wasn’t a real Muslim”.
Intriguingly, those now complaining about the media supposedly “making excuses” and “playing the mental health card” over the Finsbury Park attack suspect never complain when it’s an Islamic terrorist. In fact, they sometimes even encourage it. However they seem to lack the self awareness to recognise this double standard and lack of consistency.
Despite Islamic extremist terrorism and far right terrorism both being products of hatred – hatred for non Muslims or hatred for non whites or those the far right deems to be “traitors” – there almost seems to be an unspoken acceptance of some sort of legitimacy for Islamic terrorism in that “we brought it on ourselves through our foreign policy”, while far right terrorism is simply mindless hatred. There can be no room for the idea of Islamic terrorism being mostly caused by foreign wars and far right anti Muslim attacks caused by that Islamic terrorism. It must be Islamophobia stoked by Robinson, Hopkins, Murray and Farage.
Equally for some on the right, there is a resolute denial that this was a deliberate attack on Muslims. Despite hiring a van and driving all the way to London from Wales for no apparent reason, some on the right insist it was “just a road traffic accident”, that the driver got lost and just followed his satnav into Finsbury Park where he inadvertantly drove into a crowd of people tending to someone having a heart attack. That’s their story and they’re sticking to it. Now the “poor bloke” has been strung up by “Common Purpose riddled plod” who have to pretend it’s a deliberate attack to prevent any loss of face. It is almost a rerun of last year’s assassination of Labour MP Jo Cox, where to this day there is a determined insistence that Thomas Mair, the killer, was “mentally ill” and the fact he had bookshelves stacked full of far right literature had no bearing on why he committed the murder, even after he declared in court “Freedom for Britain, death to traitors”.
This logic is carried by some to the recent Grenfell tower fire, where due to their own prejudices as the housing block was home to mostly non white and immigrant residents it is blamed on “low IQ, inbred third worlders having indoor barbecues on their living room carpet” and the flamable external cladding is a politically correct red herring to cover this up. There is anger from them over the government financially supporting the survivors and rehousing them and little sympathy or empathy for their plight.
For some sadly, this horrible attack in Finsbury Park will be manna from heaven to be used to push a narrative of anti Muslim bigotry and violence being of an equivilant scale to the more regular Islamic terrorism and both to be treated as if an equal threat to the public. The attacker will be someone who will likely go down in history alongside Timothy McVeigh, David Copeland, Anders Behring Breivik and Thomas Mair as a notorious far right terrorist.
Rorschach AKA Mr Cloud ©