| Mohammad Sadique Khan in the al Jazeera video. (Reuters)
London, Sept. 2: There has been nothing like this before ' a message from beyond the grave from a British suicide bomber to the British people blaming Tony Blair’s war on Iraq for the London bombings of July 7.
And all this delivered in a distinctive Yorkshire accent from a Leeds-born lad who was considered a model member of society at the school where Mohammad Sadique Khan had so patiently helped children with learning disabilities. The British people will now agonise over what caused one of their own homegrown boys to journey to the dark side.
Last night, nearly two months after the attacks on London’s transport system, in which 52 people were killed and 700 wounded, some very seriously, Khan was seen justifying the slaughter in a video shown on the Arabic TV channel, al Jazeera.
The 30-year-old school assistant, who blew himself up at Edgware Road Station, killing six people and injuring 120, addressed the British people: “We are at war and I am a soldier. Now you too will taste the reality of this situation.”
Accompanying the video was a commentary by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man, who rubbed chilli into a gaping British wound by lauding “martyr” Khan as “one of the knights of the blessed raids on London”.
This will be taken as confirmation that the London bombings were an al Qaida operation rather than a home-grown affair. It is not known where the video was shot or indeed why it has taken so long for it to be aired. Khan wore an anorak (a heavy jacket) and an Arab headscarf.
The text of Khan’s message will now be scrutinised by experts for clues which security experts will now scrutinise for clues, was: “I am going to keep this short and to the point because it’s all been said before by far more eloquent people than me. But our words have no impact upon you, therefore, I’m going to talk to you in a language that you understand. Our words are dead until we give them life with our blood.
“I’m sure by now the media has painted a suitable picture of me, this predictable propaganda machine will naturally try to put a spin on it to suit the government and to scare the masses into conforming to their power and wealth obsessed agendas.
“I and thousands like me are forsaking everything for what we believe. Our driving motivation doesn't come from tangible commodities that this world has to offer.
Our religion is Islam, obedience to the one true God, Allah and follow in the footsteps of the final prophet and messenger Mohammed.
“This is how our ethical stances are dictated. Your democratically elected governments continuously perpetuate atrocities against my people and your support ofthem makes you directly responsible, just as I am directly responsible for protecting and avenging my Muslim brothers and sisters.
“Until we feel security, you will be our target. Until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people, we will not stop this fight.”Some of the reaction to the video, from politicians especially, was predictable. Foreign secretary Jack Straw declared: “We are waiting for a police assessment of the video, which of course I have seen, but I also say this: there is no excuse, no justification for terrorism of any kind.”
Most heartfelt were the comments from those who lost loved ones. The battle could yet become Muslim versus Muslim. Gous Ali’s Indian girlfriend, Neetu Jain, 37, was killed in the explosion on the No 30 bus in Tavistock Square. She was born in Delhi, had grown up in Britain and was a computer analyst.
Ali, 33, said: “Muslims around the world will be distancing themselves from anything these fundamentalists have to say; they do not represent Islam. I was born and brought up here and I would never in a million years align myself to these views.”
“There is no war here, no western government has come out and made a statement that we are at holy war with Islam.”
He added: “As a Muslim, I will fight for this country, because this is my country and I am loyal to this country. He (Khan) is saying, ‘I have a God-given right to kill people.’ That is not Islam. As a Muslim, I will stand up to them. I will spend the rest of my life confronting these people.”
The video does raise uncomfortable questions for Tony Blair, who is due in Delhi shortly for talks on India’s relationship with the European community. So far, he has not commented on last night’s video.