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FICTION on the WEB short stories by Charlie Fish

Allahu Akbar!
by Bick Parker

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Ahmed Alim stroked at his greying beard as he carefully considered his reply. The ageing cleric chose his answer well. "No-one here will become a martyr today, not if we follow what has been planned. It is Allah's wish that we are successful."

"Ahmed Alim," began Fouad, "I think I speak for my Islamic brothers here today, when I say that I am not afraid to die if anything goes wrong." His two friends, Azzam and Halim, sitting either side of him, uttered their agreement.

Ahmed Alim reached down beside his chair and unzipped his rucksack, taking from it three large phials which he placed on the coffee-table in front of him. "This is the blessed liquid of Allah, one for each of us," he announced. Fouad, Azzam, and Halim picked up their phials and put them away inside the rucksacks they’d brought with them to London earlier that day.

"Before we leave this hotel room, we shall pray for success," said Ahmed Alim, as he placed his topi on his head. Fouad, Azzam and Halim donned their prayer caps.

King's Cross Railway Station was bustling with activity as commuters eager to get home rushed to the platforms as arrivals were announced. If you need to get yourself noticed, this is the place to do it.

Ahmed Alim, Fouad, Azzam and Halim entered the station and came to a halt in the centre of the busy foyer. The four of them remained close to one another as they put their rucksacks down on the floor, took out the phials, and prepared for action.

"Allahu Akbar!" the four of them called out in unity. Then they uncapped the phials and began to sprinkle the contents around and in front of them.

The four were soon standing alone as commuters fled in horror-stricken panic, believing they were the victims of a terrorist attack.

With handguns drawn, an Anti Terrorist Team sprang from their hidden positions, and immediately opened fire on the four Asian men, whom they had followed from the hotel to the railway station. In but an instant, Fouad, Azzam, and Halim lay dead in the foyer. Ahmed Alim was barely alive as the Commander of the Anti Terrorist Squad slowly approached and stood over him.

Ahmed Alim summoned what little life he had left. "You misunderstand... we came to bless these people. We came with God in our hearts." He coughed blood. "God is Great!" were his final words.

The event was captured by mobile phone and the video aired on all channels that evening. The four were on a pre-planned mission of peace to spread the word of their faith. After close examination of their rucksacks, the Bomb Disposal Team revealed they contained only flower petals. It was also revealed that the phials contained only holy water.

In the words of a government spokesman appearing on TV that evening, "Intolerance, mixed with ignorance, is a lethal cocktail."

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