Monday, November 13, 2006


Imagine the climax of a film directed by George Romero or David Cronenberg.

Vaguely human figures are swathed in cloth, ready to bite pieces out of Tony Blair, John Reid and other parliamentaries in Westminster.

The horde of hooded women runs rampant through central London, knocking down statues of England's finest.

They enter the Abbey where they ululate at a high pitch and impale a bishop on a holy candlestick as the plaster cracks around them.

The evacuation of Downing Street is too little too late as a gaggle of these monsters overcome the PM in his hallway. They asphyxiate him with yards of cloth, then wrap him up like a pupa.

These living dead are not identikit mummies.

In this shariah splatter movie we follow one character home to her terrace after some grocery shopping for eggplant and chillies. Her capped husband expects the meal on the table at the right time, and the timely completion of other necessary duties that become a Muslim woman. May they be carried out mercifully without friction, he thinks. Several sociologists, professional psychologists and other experts will later state that this marital stress is the source of Muslim female aggression rather than Britain's ambient Islamophobia.

The burqa women meet regularly in high-street shops such as Boots the Chemists to mutter in their own languages. They tend to frequent the chippies not the hammams. Groups of mothers pray together. They share babysitting duties. Despite these banal activities, something compels them to a medley of sudden and highly choreographed violent acts.

Tourists are shocked when a small phalanx of these ladies begin yodelling and waving their arms in Piccadilly Circus after Jummah Prayers, just a couple of days after the Baqr Eid. The object of their wrath is unclear, but the Metropolitan police keep their distance.

The next day a chubby right-wing politician who has recently exercised his freedom of speech is found hacked to death with a crescent moon and star cut into his face. The forensics identify the weapons as very long manicured fingernails. The nail polish is traced to a brand sold exclusively at Harrods.

A few days later the naked, bloated bodies of three Cockerney skinheads float to the surface of the Thames to the screams of mothers pushing prams on the South Bank. The puffy white corpses have been wrapped in black burqas.

Paranoia stalks the streets of London. Spit rains down from the top deck of red buses on to many a woman in a burqa.

One such case engenders panic in the away supporters section at the Emirates Stadium, until police discover that she is the wife of one of the Arsenal team's sponsors. She is only carrying the Gunners' colours--no guns, grenades or strap-on bombs.

In the coming weeks, billboards featuring scantily clad women and alcohol are found almost every morning vandalized with blood red paint and Arabic slogans.

Pet dogs mysteriously disappear and reappear daily as mangled roadkill.

Muslim pundits appear on the news to tell the British public that those responsible are an extremist minority of militants, and not representative of the modest and homebound majority of British Muslim women.

The next morning the imam of the city's central mosque is found naked, dead and mutilated at the bottom of the number one minaret. He has been repeatedly slashed with knives and swords. The scars form geometric patterns that match the Islamicate designs lining the main door of the mosque. The victim's long beard has been shaved and bits of hair have been glued together crudely on the concrete beside his body. The dense grey bush of Arabic calligraphy reads 'Astaghfirullah' ('May Allah Forgive Me') . The imam's throat has been cut halal-style. In the fear-gripped capital, rumours of his castration circulate.

The soundtrack for Niqab Zombies! was assembled for October 31 but I've been finessing its fear quotient since Halloween. Giorgio Agamben via Nikos Papastergiadis on 'zombie multiculturalism' inspired the finishing touches.


LEADBELLY--Where Did You Sleep Last Night?
LITTLE ANN--Deep Shadows
LOMBARDO TWINS--Arabian Nightmare
PINCH--Qawwali V.I.P.
TORTOISE--TNT (Nobukazu Takemura remix)
BOLA--Ballast (Triangle)
SUBTLE--F.K.O. (Console remix)
ISOLEE--Hermelin (Original Mix)
CHURCH UNIVERSAL & TRIUMPHANT, INC.--Invocation For Judgement Against And Destruction of Rock Music
SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON--Your Funeral & My Trial