Bachir HabibThe West is often accused of using double standards in international politics. That is certainly true. But they are not the only ones. Some expatriate radicals do not miss a chance to “spit in the water they drink”.
Hani Al-Sibai, a 46-year-old radical Muslim cleric, has lived in Britain since 1994. He fled his homeland of Egypt where he was convicted by a military court in absentia of plotting terrorist attacks. Despite having been refused asylum nine years ago after British security chiefs concluded he was a senior member of the Islamic Jihad; he was, however, granted temporary permission to remain in the UK while the courts consider his appeal.
In his free time, Mr Al-Sibai continues to speak out against the West. In a debate on Al-Jazeera television aired last month, he declared live on television, very at ease with Big Ben and Westminster in the background, that Islamic fighters were humiliating Western forces, adding: "There are no real men except for the people of Islam. Look at the people who give reason to hold the head of Islam high, in politics they are the masters. In the battlefield they are the masters. They are the ones who rub in the mud the nose of the occupation forces in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Palestine, throughout the world." He also contrasted Islamic extremists with pro-Western secular leaders in the Middle East, who, he said, "should be placed in public squares so that people can hit them with their shoes and spit on them".”
What Mr Al-Sibai forgets to mention is that unlike in our “Arab democratic States”, there exists in the West a Judicial power willing to stop the executive authorities power from expelling opponents, however controversial they might be, on a pure legal basis. While he and others are happy to benefit from its protection abroad, you don’t see this item high on their list of political priorities at home. After all the separation of powers, essential in a democratic system, is not yet part of our culture. But then neither is stoning other human beings for their opinions.