With all eyes fixed upon the political excitements in the U.S, few have paid much attention to a trip made by the Prime Minister several thousand miles in the opposite direction.
A week ago Gordon Brown, accompanied by his new best friend the Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, went cap in hand to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to ask them to help bail out the stricken economies of the West by pumping billions into the International Monetary Fund.
It is more than a little strange that the British Prime Minister should have apparently taken it upon himself to speak on behalf of the IMF. But the real concern is that asking for help from Saudi Arabia is not like tapping your friendly neighbourhood bank manager for a bigger overdraft.
No, this loan comes with a devastating IOU — nothing less than a big slice of control over Britain and the West by a regime at the heart of the attempt to bring about the Islamisation of the free world.
Granted, this country is facing a truly grave financial crisis. But does this mean we should remortgage the future of the West to those whose most radical elements are actively engaged in seeing it destroyed?
I have long been concerned by Britain’s failure to acknowledge the true nature of the threat from global Islamism. This latest move is yet more alarming evidence of that process.
Saudi Arabia is at the root of the Islamic onslaught against the West. It is Saudi’s Wahhabi form of Islam which, along with its Shi’ite counterpart in Iran, aims to restore the dominance of Islam in the world and destroy rule by ‘unbelievers’.
It is Saudi money which has fuelled the enormous spread of Wahhabi mosques, preachers and educational institutions in this country, delivering the message of holy war and radicalising countless thousands of British Muslims.
And it is this Saudi ideology which was the inspiration for Al Qaeda. True, Al Qaeda turned upon Saudi itself on account of its ties with the U.S. As a result, Saudi regards Al Qaeda as its mortal enemy, and as such co-operates with Britain and the U.S in combating it.
But sometimes, to rephrase the old adage, our enemy’s enemy is not actually our friend, but our enemy as well.
Saudi Wahhabism seeks to conquer the West through a pincer movement comprising violence on the one hand and cultural infiltration and takeover on the other.
At the very least, Saudi Arabia speaks with the most lethal of forked tongues, and we should actively be seeking to diminish its influence over our affairs. But instead our Prime Minister is effectively offering it yet more opportunity to control us.
Mr Brown claimed he did not want such investment to be used to gain political influence. But Lord Mandelson blurted out the truth when he acknowledged that the Saudis and other Gulf states would expect a bigger role in global institutions in return.
This should be enough to chill the British marrow. Islamic influence is already spreading in Britain and the West, way beyond Muslim communities themselves.
The Islamic world is buying a financial stake in increasing numbers of Western institutions. Among its latest acquisitions are Manchester City Football Club, which was sold to the ruling family of Abu Dhabi, and Barclays Bank, which has secured an almost £6 billion capital injection from Abu Dhabi and Qatar.
Extremist Islamist ideas are also being spread through Islamic study centres attached to our universities. According to Professor Anthony Glees, eight universities — including Oxford and Cambridge — have accepted more than £233.5 million from Saudi and Muslim sources since 1995, spreading radicalism and helping create within Britain two separate identities and sets of allegiance.
Shockingly, Saudi blackmail has also forced Britain to suspend its own rule of law by ditching the bribery investigation into the arms deal between Saudi Arabia and BAE systems, in response to an explicit threat made by the Saudi authorities that, if the case continued, ‘British lives on British streets’ would be at risk.
Those aren’t my words, they are from Britain’s former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles.
Thus, the Islamists are already pulling British strings through the supremely manipulative combination of the threat of violence and the lure of unbridled wealth.
Apparently oblivious to all this, however, Mr Brown has pledged to make London the global centre of Islamic banking. Accordingly, Britain’s major banks are eagerly embracing sharia finance, on the basis that it is a source of vast wealth.
What they fail to realise is that sharia is also a project for Islamising society, and wherever it is embraced it will use its position to do precisely that. The assumption is that sharia banking — which has at its heart the prohibition of interest — accords with ancient Islamic religious principles. Not so.
Sharia banking was devised by mid-20th century Islamist ideologues specifically to further their strategy for global Islamic rule by creating separate administrative systems.
Muslims are required to donate a proportion of their income to charity, including the money that goes through the sharia banking system.
Yet in many instances, the clerics deciding where this ‘charity’ money should go are the spiritual godfathers of terror, such as Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi, who supports suicide bombing in Iraq and Israel, and Sheik Muhammed Taqi Usmani, who has admitted he ran a madrassa that supported the Taliban, yet who sits on the sharia supervisory board of the Dow Jones Islamic Index Fund.
It’s no surprise, then, that many charitable donations end up being channelled straight into terrorist organisations such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
But apart from being a global money-laundering exercise for terrorism, sharia banking is also a beachhead in the attempt by radical Islam to infiltrate British and Western society.
The key point is that sharia does not recognise the superior authority of the secular law of the land. Sharia financial institutions may not be making this clear — they don’t want to frighten people away — but at some future time they may do so. This is how they will endeavour to spread sharia beyond their own territory.
There are already examples of sharia regulations over-riding commercial decisions. Citibank, for example, launched the Saudi American Bank (SAB) in Jeddah and Riyadh. In 1980, the Saudis abruptly seized the SAB, denied Citibank all future profits and ordered it to train Saudi staffers because the bank was judged insufficiently Muslim.
When trillions of pounds and dollars become locked into Islamic banking and Saudi and other Islamic institutions, who will be in a position to argue with the Islamists when they finally call in their IOUs?
But our politicians and financiers seem blind to this prospect — because they are mesmerised by the seductive prospect of so much wealth.
Moreover, the British establishment does not believe that what we are being subjected to is a religious war. That is why their response to the steady encroachment of Islamic radicalism in our society is so weak.
And that is why I fear the British Prime Minister is in danger of selling this country to those who are intent upon undermining our most treasured freedoms.
More than giving hostages to fortune, he is enabling fortune itself to hold Britain hostage.