I’m quite surprised, I expect Cage would be quite surprised also.
After years and years of seeing apologies for terrorism on television and reading them in op-eds it turns out that the vast majority of people see through Jihadi propaganda in about 5 seconds flat. For all of the Facebook likes and shares very few people have been paying attention to the message that it’s all Britain’s fault and even fewer actually believe it. I expect Quershi and co didn’t quite realise what the situation was after spending so many years being feted by human rights organisations, I know I didn’t.
The list of human rights organisations and websites happy to provide a voice to the narrative that Muslims simply can’t help themselves and simply have to start murdering people is one that has been picked up by Amnesty International, Cage, Liberty, The Guardian, Huffington Post and many more. In article after article and interview after interview the British public has been told that it’s their fault they are facing terror on their own streets and that the only way to avoid it is to cave in to the demands of Jihadi organizations overseas and to pay attention to what their fellow travellers are saying at home. It turns out however that these articles and interveiws were barely noticed and when one finally was there was public outcry.
When Assim Quereshi said that Mohammed Emwazi was “a lovely man” he must have felt that he was guaranteed to inspire a string of Comment is Free op-eds that would convince the public he was absolutely right and that yes, it is all the fault of the British government. Instead he caused a backlash. It turns out that the large degree of public disgust at his comments forced even the most devout followers of the idea that it’s all our fault to start backing away slowly. Suddenly those who have supported Cage frantically issued statements putting distance between themselves and the Jihadi ideology they have been supporting. It wasn’t exactly that they decided (way too late) that it might be time to break links but that the public forced them to;
Kate Allen, the UK director of Amnesty, said it had no formal or financial relationship with Cage, but had campaigned with the organisation on issues relating to Guantánamo and torture.
She added: “We support the call for a torture inquiry. We do not support all of Cage’s views or agree with how it expresses them.
One might wonder why it is they weren’t campaigning against groups calling on Britons to run overseas and cut the heads off people rather than alongside them but I guess I’ll take what I can get. Bearing in mind how stridently the Quakers responded to concerns raised by the Community Security Trust (quite frankly a pretty good example of how just about everyone responds when informed of the views of Jihadi groups they were working with/for) I have to say I am amazed of just how quickly they all ran away from these groups when the light of public opinion was beamed onto them. Wasn’t this all based on high minded principles? What happened to them?
It’s also instructive. As long as groups think no one notices what they’re doing they’ll carry on regardless but as soon as the views of groups they support become general knowledge they’ll dive straight into damage control mode. Of course Jihadi John is merely the latest in a long line of Jihadis from the UK to come under public scrutiny. The first ones I can remember are the two Brits who went to Mike’s Place to blow themselves up during the Second Intifada, then there was the underpants bomber of course. Yet none of these seems to have caused the public examination Jihadi John did. Hopefully it will last long enough to do some real good.