Thursday, July 07, 2005

Livingstone hypocrisy and crocodile tears

Andrew Sullivan is full of praise for London Mayor Ken Livingstone's little speech following the terror attack today. Livingstone said:
"This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful; it is not aimed at presidents or prime ministers; it was aimed at ordinary working class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christians, Hindu and Jew, young and old, indiscriminate attempt at slaughter irrespective of any considerations, of age, of class, of religion, whatever, that isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith, it's just indiscriminate attempt at mass murder, and we know what the objective is, they seek to divide London. They seek to turn Londoners against each other and Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack...
I wish to speak through you directly, to those who came to London to claim lives, nothing you do, how many of us you kill will stop that flight to our cities where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another, whatever you do, how many you kill, you will fail."
I have some little quibbles with Mayor Livingstone's words (if this were an attack against 'the mighty and the powerful... presidents or prime ministers,' it would have been okay? -- typical Livingstone class rhetoric) but the major problem with his words is this. Livingstone is the man who personally invited Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi to London. Sheikh al-Qaradawi is famous for having defended Palestinian suicide-bombers on the grounds that these are "martyrdom operations" and thus permissible "within the rules of Islam."
Today isn't the right time, but Livingstone eventually has to be made to answer for his decision to bring Qaradawi to London, which he got away with at the time. You can't on the one hand condemn terrorism and on the other hand give the red-carpet treatment to those who praise and encourage it.

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