January 30, 2008

Losing One's Head

This past weekend, Abu Muqawama was hanging out in his favorite Pakistani restaurant. He and a friend were the only customers in the place, and we were having a conversation with ----- the owner, who is Pakistani from Karachi but has lived in Abu Muqawama's East London neighborhood for 35 years. He is also hilarious.

Anyway, we were having a good-natured argument about Afghanistan and Pakistan and were both laughing when it came out that Abu Muqawama has actually been to Afghanistan, twice, and fought there with the U.S. Army. ----- proceeded to give Abu Muqawama no end of hell, making fun of him for spending so much time in "that worthless country" full of people "who will never be anything more than what they are today" but it was, like Abu Muqawama mentioned, all in good fun.

So why does Abu Muqawama feel a nervous twinge whenever he mentions, in the UK, that he fought in Afghanistan? Why does he very rarely mention to people he meets that he was in the U.S. Army, or fought in Iraq? After all, this is not Beirut. Or Cairo. Or someplace where Abu Muqawama should have to keep his mouth shut. The UK, after all, was or is fighting in both Afghanistan and Iraq. For Queen and Country, by God! Why should Abu Muqawama feel nervous about mentioning he proudly served Uncle Sam?

Oh yeah.

A plot to lure a British Muslim soldier to his death and behead him "like a pig" was outlined to a jury yesterday.

The man behind the plot was Parviz Khan, 37, an unemployed teaching assistant from Birmingham, who wanted to post a film of the atrocity on the internet to "cause panic and fear within the armed forces and the wider public".

Khan, who has already pleaded guilty at Leicester crown court to his role in the planned beheading, was said to be behind a terror cell and had been under surveillance by the security services.

Abu Muqawama's flatmate has a solution to all this, of course. He tells everyone in the neighborhood that Abu Muqawama fought in Afghanistan. But he also tells everyone in the neighborhood Abu Muqawama is Chechen and then lets them decide for which side, exactly, Abu Muqawama was fighting. Clever.