THE video – filmed somewhere in Iraq or Syria – is beyond gruesome as it begins with journalist, James Foley, kneeling impassively before a knife-wielding man garbed in black, like a ninja assassin, a ski-mask covering his face.
Moments later the 40 year-old US reporter, who went missing two years ago, is beheaded in what his captors blandly described as an ‘execution’.
Another American newsman, Steven Sotloff, who went missing in Syria, is facing a similarly grim fate, as are up to 20 other Westerners, who have disappeared in the Middle East.
Whether you believe in capital punishment or not – I don’t, but that’s a debate for another day – this was anything but an ‘execution’.
Foley’s decapitation was an act of unspeakable barbarity; a celebration of butchery carried out by a piece of scum who desecrates the title: ‘human being’
The slaughterer said he was ‘sending a message to America’, the fabled Great Satan of Islamo-fascism’s warped mythology.
Meanwhile, to add further shock to the horror show is news that the killer speaks with a distinctive London accent and is said to be called ‘John’.
There’s no doubt Brits are among the homicidal filth parading under the black banner of the Islamic State (IS), formerly known as ISIS or ISIL, with Western intelligence sources estimating their number as high as 600.
Apparently, they are also the most bloodthirsty and take huge delight in their grisly handiwork.
A 16-year-old girl from the Midlands recently tweeted a photo of herself against a backdrop of severed heads, while a dead IS fighter was identified as English by his Liverpool Football Club season ticket and another by his membership card from an Ealing, West London, gym.
So, I’d wager, somewhere in Britain an impressionable kid, perhaps from a decent, god-fearing, Anglo-Asian family, will have seen the monstrous clip online and thought, ‘Hey, that’s cool and I want to be part of it, to fight, kill and die, if necessary, for the cause.’
Precisely what cause justifies such evil, perverted lunacy is beyond all comprehension. Equally so is the reason why some Muslim teens, brought up with all the advantages and values the UK provides, are drawn to it, like the student from Bristol, who chose IS, jihad and killing over studying medicine to save, not take lives.
What the cause demands, though, is chillingly transparent and intended to be delivered in stage payments of savagery.
IS is on a genocidal roll, proclaiming a Sharia ‘caliphate’ across the huge swathe of Iraq and Syria it now controls, where the bloodiest excesses of medieval cruelty are visited upon any man, woman or child who won’t embrace their fanatical take on Sunni Islam.
Hence, the spate of beheadings, disembowelments and crucifixions, the stonings to death and burials alive of minority unbelievers – including toddlers and women, who, if not murdered, are taken as sex slaves – like Christians and Yazidis, refusing to renounce ancient faiths that predate Islam.
The Kurds, Muslims whom IS considers heretics, currently stand as a bulwark against the advancing horde. But, lacking the hi-tech American weaponry IS filched from a craven Iraqi army in hasty retreat, tough Kurdish Peshmerga militia are left fighting a see-saw battle against an implacable foe.
Which is why even that most dovish of US presidents, Barack Obama, has been forced to send in fighter jets – supported by RAF planes, acting as ‘eyes in the skies’ – to curb what seems like an inexorable IS advance.
However, we are witnessing only phase one of the fanatics’ master plan.
Through its brotherhood of terror, IS’s aim is to extend the ‘caliphate’ westward and – mimicking Osama Bin Laden, whose Al-Qaeda cutthroats seem pussycats in comparison – its manifesto includes the return of Andalucía, formerly the Moorish province of El Andaluz.
Last week four civilians were found murdered in Egypt’s Sinai desert, their headless corpses the hallmark of IS, and its henchmen are said to be operating alongside Hamas in Gaza.
In the harshest reality check so far from a European leader, UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, warned, ‘The West is embroiled in a generational struggle against a poisonous brand of Islamic extremism that will bring terror to the streets of Britain unless urgent action is taken to defeat it.’
Cameron predicted the struggle will last ‘the rest of my political lifetime,’ adding, ‘The creation of an extremist caliphate in the heart of Iraq and extending into Syria is not a problem miles away from home…it is our concern here and now.
‘Because if we do not act to stem the onslaught of this exceptionally dangerous terrorist movement, it will only grow stronger until it can target us on the streets of Britain. We already know that it has the murderous intent.’
Cameron’s warning, though, maybe too late: IS’s tentacles already snake into Europe, where copycat versions of its dastardly flag have been unfurled in pro-Hamas demonstrations in France, Germany, Holland and the UK.
Meanwhile, an estimated 260 IS thugs are said to have already returned to Britain, some vowing to raise the black standard over Big Ben.
And therein lies Britain’s dilemma. Because, in common with the rest of Europe where there are large, Muslim minorities, the nation is now in the front line of potential terror attacks from an enemy within.
Porous borders, an undermanned frontier security force and police intimidated by accusations of Islamophobia don’t instil confidence, either.
But, mindful of the harm being done to Islam’s image, moderates in the UK’s Muslim community have now said they will assist anti-terrorism officers in identifying those in their midst who harbour only hatred for the country that nurtured them.
Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, said, ‘We are ready to support the police and intelligence agencies in their work to defeat terrorism and protect our nation.’
Those are wise and welcome words.
Because Britain’s population of approximately 3,000,000 Muslims, which can be very vocal when it wants to be, needs to stand up and be counted upon as never before in the war against the most evil scourge to plague the world since Nazism.