Muslims round the world have been transfixed by pictures of Iraqi civilian casualties on the Arab satellite channel, al-Jazeera. More than 70 civilians are reported to have been killed during the assault on Basra. The pictures included an iconic image of an Iraqi boy whose forehead had been blown off. They ask: is this the liberation that the Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Perle axis so gleefully promised the Iraqi people?
A trawl through our own papers and the UK news channels to find these images proved to be in vain. We switched channels repeatedly from the BBC to Sky to ITN and back again, and saw nothing of the slaughter of the innocents in Basra. What we found instead was a front-page story in The Sunday Telegraph about President Saddam Hussein having been so badly injured by the first US airstrike that he needed a blood transfusion. The story soon breathed its last when Saddam, for ever throwing a spanner in Western works, turned up on Iraqi TV yesterday, looking decidedly as if he had not had a recent close encounter with a cruise missile.
Later yesterday, we had another hot story, reported first in the Jerusalem Post, claiming that the US 3rd Infantry division had captured an Iraqi chemical weapons factory in Najaf, 250km south of Baghdad. The US commander Tommy Franks soon put a dampener on that by saying it was too early in the campaign to have found any chemical weapons.
It must be a coincidence that Richard Perle is a director of the Jerusalem Post and happens also to be chairman and CEO of Hollinger Digital Inc. Hollinger International (the parent group of Hollinger Digital) is the owner of both The Sunday Telegraph and the Jerusalem Post.
And remember that just last Tuesday, in a strangely under-reported section of his devastating resignation speech, Robin Cook said that Iraq probably didn't possess any actual chemical or biological weapons.
Many British Muslims are now very sceptical about what they see and hear and are seeking other sources of information to find out what is really going on in Iraq in our name, but without our consent. E-mails have been flying to and fro giving the latest links to pictures carried on aljazeera.net. The past few months have seen thousands of British Muslims working closely with non-Muslim colleagues to organise peaceful anti-war demonstrations. But now that many of their own MPs have ignored their opinions by backing our Government's decision to ally itself with an aggressive US agenda, many feel disenfranchised. Why, they ask, has the Government provided an isolated US with a figleaf of respectability to cover what they fear is the start of a neocolonial venture?
Yesterday, Tony Blair said that "coalition forces" were trying to reach Baghdad as swiftly as possible. British Muslims have begun asking themselves who will be next in the American firing line. Already, Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, has gone on record - in this very newspaper as it happens (November 5, 2002) - with his own bid by saying that "the day the United States finishes with Iraq, it should start with Iran". In the Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Perle axis, Mr Sharon has some powerful friends who are only too ready to lend a willing ear.
We do not know whether Baghdad - the one-time capital of the glorious Abbasid Caliphate - will fall quickly or at what cost. We can be sure, though, from what we have seen of the Iraqis, that any victory and celebrations will be shortlived.
Iraqis are not going to take their "liberation", or any new pax Americana, lying down - and nor are British Muslims going to forget what their Government did in their name.
The author is media secretary of The Muslim Council of Britain