Bombings and Shootings Rock Cool Britannia

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Whatever happened to British moderation? A killer blast Friday evening at a gay pub in London's Soho brought to three the number of bomb attacks on minority communities in the city over the past two weeks. And in the last week alone, a BBC news anchor was shot dead, the head of the corporation's news division received death threats and two youths were arrested after firing a weapon into a classroom.

The happy-hour blast at the Admiral Nelson pub killed two people and wounded more than 60, some of them blown out of the crowded bar by the force of the explosion. Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist unit immediately linked the incident to nail bomb attacks in Brixton on April 17 and Brick Lane on April 24, both of which targeted immigrant communities. A shadowy racist organization called Combat 18 claimed responsibility for the blasts, linking them to a campaign to force "Jews & non-whites" to leave Britain by January 1 or face "extermination." Extremism of any stripe, though, has traditionally received short shrift in the British political mainstream, and the bombers are sure to push the country's moderate majority to reaffirm its commitment to diversity and tolerance.