The decision to intervene in a war is the most serious a government can take but successive British ministers have done so without outlining a proper objective, a long term strategy or an exit mechanism. The beheading of Fr Murad should be a wake-up call for the British people to demand that the UK government does not arm Islamists in Syria, writes UKIP Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall MEP.
•The video of the beheading of Fr Murad is appalling. Cutting someone's head off with a small kitchen knife is simply barbaric. There is no other word for it. That action was compounded by the excited cheers of the hundreds of men, women and children who were shouting "Allahu Akbar" as the atrocity took place.
A few months after a Syrian rebel leader cut out and ate the heart of a Syrian Army soldier, we must ask why British Prime Minister David Cameron is supporting these Al Qaeda linked groups in Syria. The United Kingdom government must immediately cease the funding and plans to arm the Syrian rebels, who in many cases are extreme Islamist militants. We have opposed British involvement in Syria since the conflict started. This gruesome action last week just confirms we made the correct decision. Now we want Cameron to change direction on Syria in light of what has just happened there.
The scene does clearly juxtapose the difference between Christian sacrifice and Islamic violence. The Christian people of Syria, I am sure will never forget the witness of Fr Murad. Syria has had a large Christian community for many centuries. Indeed, Damascus was one of the first cities to have a Christian congregation during the ministry of St Peter.
The nation of Syria has had a long tradition of Sunnis, Shia, Alawite, Christian, Armenians, and Jews - all living together in peace. Assad has many faults but he has long defended the rights of women, ethnic and religious minorities within the borders of his country. The country is currently being over-run by Islamic militants, who see it as a theatre of war between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims as well as an opportunity to kill and expel Christian and other religious minorities from the country. It is not just Christians and Jews who have been made to suffer. Women and even more moderate Muslims have also been attacked.
A 14 year old boy named Mohammed Qataa was shot in the face three times by Syrian rebel forces for making a small joke that he would only give a coffee at his stall to those who paid. Accused of blasphemy by jihadist militants, he was shot in the open air. Many of the so-called Syrian rebels are radical Islamic jihadists, who will stop at nothing to kill or scare away others not of their cult. It is quite clear that Sharia law is also being imposed in the areas of Syria that are under their rule.
In addition, the Central Intelligence Agency has stated that a number of groups fighting on behalf of the rebels are linked to Al Qaeda; and the Iraqi government has confirmed that Al Qaeda fighters have crossed the border from northern Iraq to take up arms on behalf of the rebels. If Cameron's scheme comes to life, the British people would be arming Islamist terrorists who would likely attack British soldiers in the future.
The simple question we must ask is - would women, Christians and ethnic minorities be better off under a secular Assad or extreme Islamists? We already know the answer, therefore we must not arm terrorists in Syria. By beating the war drums in Syria, Cameron is following Blair's folly in Iraq. The decision to intervene in a war is the most serious a government can take. But since Blair's crazy armed escapades in Iraq successive British ministers have gone to war without outlining a proper objective, a long term strategy or an exit mechanism. The UK's recent involvement in Libya is a case in point.
I am no fan of the existing Syrian regime as it is led by the Assad dynasty, which is undemocratic and has a list of human rights abuses. They are people you would not want to cross. However, these Arabic strongmen are better than the Jihadist alternative that is on offer and are sadly being supported by the British and American governments.
Cameron is proposing, in effect, to arm Islamic radicals. If he continues to pursue this policy, we could end up with an Islamic fundamentalist state that will give its support to the Al Qaeda network. And they will be armed – with the weapons we have given them. This is unwise and unacceptable; not only to ourselves but also the religious minorities and women of Syria.
Throwing heavy arms into Syria is like throwing matches at a powder keg. The beheading of Fr Murad should be a wake-up call for the British people to demand that the UK government does not arm Islamists in Syria.