London bombings: reaction of Muslim leader, and of mayor Ken Livingstone

Published: 10 July 2005
Briefing Number 148

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Summary: This Briefing quotes the responses to the London bombings of 7 July 2005 of a British Muslim spokesman, and of London mayor Ken Livingstone. Their reactions contrast with their responses (and those of many others) to Palestinian terrorism against Israelis. Will the double-standard now end?

On 7 July, terrorists attacked three underground trains and a double-decker bus in the heart of London during the morning rush hour, killing at least 50 people and injuring over 700. These attacks prompted condemnations throughout the United Kingdom and around the world.

Muslim Association of Great Britain – a “crime against humanity…”

Hours after the attacks, a Muslim leader said the following on national radio:-

“There are attacks against humanity. Whatever they declare their motive to be, those who carried out these attacks are criminals and these are crimes, pure and simple….”

- Anis Altikriti, national spokesman for the Muslim Association of Great Britain (BBC Radio 4 interview 7 July 2005)

The website of the Muslim Association published a statement expressing its “disgust for the contempt with which the perpetrators appear to hold human life”. It also stated that Islam “upholds the sanctity of human life”, and views the killing of innocent people as “heinous and repulsive”.

Ken Livingstone – this was “indiscriminate slaughter…”

Ken Kivingstone, the mayor of London, was in Singapore when the attacks took place. He had participated on the previous day in London’s winning bid to host the 2012 Olympics. In his first statement Livingstone stated as follows:-

“This was an attack on ordinary working Londoners. Black and white. Christian and Muslim. Hindu and Jew…. An indiscriminate attempt to slaughter as many people as possible…..” [our emphasis added]

Statement by Ken Livingstone, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 7 July 2005

On his return to London, Livingstone made a further statement, in which he vowed that London would not be intimidated. As with his earlier words, Livingstone was widely praised. He said as follows:-

“No ideology or faith can underpin this act…. It’s simply a criminal act of mass murder…..” [our emphasis added]

Our Comments:

The London bombings were horrendous. While British people are in shock, they also resolved not to waver in the face of these attacks.

Since 2000 Israel has endured over four uninterrupted years of terrorism: over 120 suicide bombings, and thousands of other attacks, targeted indiscriminately against men, women and children (see Briefing 78). Will Muslim leaders in the UK condemn these as “crimes against humanity”? Will Ken Livingstone condemn them as “criminal acts of mass murder”? Will they and others finally stop claiming that these murderous attacks against Israelis are legitimate because of their supposed motive, and stop blaming the victims for them?

Other Beyond Images Resources:

See in particular Beyond Images Briefings 27, 41, 78, 106 and 107.