Dan Wootton: Islamic extremism must be discussed

Here is Dan's take on the world

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The Sir David Amess murder – being probed by terror police – was a great tragedy and much has rightly been said over the past three days about this wonderful MP, the very best type of public servant.

But far too little has been said about the circumstances of how David came to be so brutally stabbed to death.

That tone was immediately set in the immediate aftermath of the crime, with the London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeting:

“I am so deeply, deeply saddened by the tragic news that Sir David has passed away.”

How utterly disingenuous.

David Amess didn’t pass away. He had years left in him to pursue the causes for his local community he so passionately cared about.

The murder suspect is 25-year-old Ali Harbi Ali, a suspected Islamic extremist who had been radicalised here in the UK.

Obviously, he has not yet been charged with any crime and is innocent before proven guilty, but Scotland Yard said on Friday:

"The fatal stabbing in Leigh-on-Sea has tonight been declared as a terrorist incident, with the investigation being led by Counter Terrorism Policing. The early investigation has revealed a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."

Why are we not discussing that issue?

Over the past 72 hours we have had ample discussion about online anonymity and the tone of political debate in the UK – important issues no doubt, but issues that most likely had no impact on this possible terror attack.

As The Spectator’s Douglas Murray aptly put it…

“I see that ‘anonymity online’ has become the latest distraction debate adopted in the UK in the wake of the murder of Sir David Amess. This always happens, so long as there is any suspicion that the killer was motivated by Islamism.

"If the killer is motivated by any other extreme ideology the discussion turns to ideas, networks, influences etc. If it appears that the killer is motivated by Islamism the conversation goes to ‘online harm’, accountability of big tech, etc etc. It’s been the same for two decades now. No sign that it will change, even now.”

He’s right, of course.

The more we learn about Ali Harbi Ali, the more depressingly familiar this story feels.

The Daily Telegraph revealed today police and security services are certain his broad motivation was to strike down an MP to further the Islamist cause spouted by groups such as al Qaeda, Islamic State and especially al Shabaab, which is active in Somalia.

The Sun quoted former friends claiming he was radicalised after watching YouTube videos of hate preacher Anjem Choudary.

The Daily Mail reported the alleged killer was referred to the government’s flagship counter-extremism programme Prevent when he was still at school.

And as Stephen Pollard, the editor of The Jewish Chronicle, writes in the Mail today…

“The potential link to Islamist terror, which the police were quick to reveal, is unambiguous. And it is vital to keep it at the front of our minds if we are to understand why Sir David was killed – and what we might do to prevent such terrorist outrages in the future.

"But the debate that has followed is confusing two separate issues. Almost in its entirety, TV and radio and some press coverage has focused on the aggressive tone of politics in recent years, and of the poison that is spread on social media.”

That’s not to say that there isn’t an issue with the unacceptable poison spread by the left that they never want to own.

We’ve seen that over the past few weeks with Angela Rayner branding Conservatives as “scum” and Iain Duncan Smith being attacked at the Tory conference days later.

But perhaps the most heinous response came from the hard left American trans activist and writer Eli Erlick, who has written for Glamour magazine and was named by Teen Vogue as a new face of feminism.

But this left-wing darling posted following David’s murder…

“As soon as I found out who David Amess was…truly. A mess (a Brexiteer, anti-queer, pro-death, pro forced birthing, Zionist). Did he deserve to die? Probably not. Will people in Britain be better off because of his death? Yes, definitely.”

That is truly unconscionable. Sick. A disgrace.

Just imagine if that were the response from a right-wing activist after a tragedy of this magnitude.

But has this vile individual been condemned far and wide? Of course not.

Lockdown could have created a new breed of “bedroom radicals” to carry out a new wave of terrorist attacks, Britain’s intelligence agencies have warned ministers.

Worryingly, they say that’s just another consequence of literally locking young people up for months on end at home.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper reports today: With schools, sports clubs and youth facilities also closed, there was little opportunity for the usual support networks to spot worrying signs of radicalisation and alert the authorities. It is feared extremists around the world will now seek to activate their online recruits and encourage them to carry out terror strikes across the UK.

A security source told the newspaper…

“Counterterror police and MI5 have been concerned for some time that once we emerged out of lockdown there would be more people out on the streets and more targets for the terrorists.

"Combined with the fact that lots of young people have been spending so much time online, it makes for a very worrying mix and there is a real concern about the possible rise of the bedroom radicals.”

Yet another disturbing but predictable consequence of draconian lockdowns.

And it’s shameful a Roman Catholic Priest was refused the chance to offer a dying Sir David Amess the last rites.

At least one was turned away by cops given Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex had become a crime scene.

Priests were even allowed into Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas on November 22 1963 to provide the important sacrament to JFK after his assassination.

As Father Jeffrey Woolnough said…

“I always use the analogy of priests working on the battlefields in the world wars. They were anointing the men as they were dying. We need to be a bit more brave, I think, have more courage, because that’s what we’re here for.”

As a proud Catholic man who had provided such service to so many, it’s the very least David deserved.