In the wake of the jihadi human bomb attack in Manchester, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May said: “We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish but an opportunity for carnage.”
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “ It is unbelievable that somebody has used a joyful pop concert to kill or seriously injure so many people.”
A headline in the Washington Post read: “In suburban Manchester, a search for what might have motivated the attacker”.
“Struggle to comprehend”? “Unbelievable”? “What might have motivated the attacker”? Really??
In 2006 I published my book Londonistan which analysed the supine response of the British political, legal and religious establishment to Islamic jihadi terrorism and the Islamisation of Britain. What follows below is the concluding chapter of that book. As the army patrols the streets of Britain to guard against further expected terrorist attacks, my warning about the deadly failure to face up to the true nature of the threat facing the west is surely even more urgent today.
Britain is in denial. Having allowed the country to turn into a global hub of the Islamic jihad without apparently giving it a second thought, the British establishment is still failing even now — despite the wake-up calls of both 9/11 and the London bomb attacks of 2005 — to acknowledge what it is actually facing and take the appropriate action. Instead, it is deep into a policy of appeasement of the phenomenon that threatens it, throwing sops to both radical Islamism and the Muslim community in a panic-stricken attempt to curry favour and buy off the chances of any further attacks.
This disastrous policy ignores the first law of terrorism which is that it preys on weakness. The only way to defeat it is through strength — the strength of a response based on absolute consistency and moral integrity, which arises in turn from the strength of belief in the values that are being defended. By choosing instead the path of least resistance, Britain is advertising its fundamental weakness and is thus not only greatly enhancing the danger to itself but is also enfeebling the alliance in the defence of the west.
Britain has a long and inglorious history of appeasing terrorism, thus bringing true the aphorism in which its ruling class so cynically believes that ‘terrorism works’. Now, however, this dubious national trait has been cemented even more firmly into the national psyche by the governing doctrine of multiculturalism, which has made it all but impossible even to acknowledge that this is a problem rooted within the religion of a particular minority community. The fervent embrace of ‘victim culture’ means instead that this minority has to be treated on its own assessment as a victim of the majority and its grievances attended to on the basis that it is these grievances which are the cause of terrorism. At the same time, however, this minority disavows any connection with terrorism and vilifies anyone who dares suggest to the contrary. Thus Britain is being forced to act on the basis that if it does not do so it will be attacked — by people who claim that terrorism runs totally counter to the values of their religion, but then demand that the grievances of members of that religion are addressed as the price of averting further attacks. This deeply manipulative and mind-twisting behaviour is the equivalent of holding a gun to Britain’s head while denying that this is being done, and threatening to run out of town anyone who points it out.
The intersection of an aggressive religious fanaticism with the multicultural ideology of victimhood has created a state of paralysis across British institutions. The refusal to admit the religious character of the threat means not only that Britain is failing to take the action it should be taking but, worse still, is providing Islamist ideologues with an even more powerful platform from which to disseminate the anti-western views which have so inflamed a section of Britain’s Muslims. The refusal to acknowledge that this is principally a war of religious ideology, and that dangerous ideas that can kill are spread across a continuum of religious thought which acts as a recruiting-sergeant for violence, is the most egregious failure by the British political and security establishment. The deeply-rooted British belief that violence always arises from rational grievances, and the resulting inability to comprehend the cultural dynamics of religious fanaticism, have furthermore created a widespread climate of irrationality and prejudice in which the principal victims of the war against the west, America and Israel, are demonised instead as its cause.
This mindset and the corresponding terror of being thought ‘Islamophobic’ have prevented the British from acknowledging the eruption of Islamist violence not just in Britain but around the western world. The British media either ignore it — as with disturbances in Sweden or Belgium — or, when they do report it, insist that Islam has nothing to do with it. When Muslim riots engulfed France in November 2005, the reaction of most of the British (and European) media was that they were caused by the poverty, unemployment and discrimination endured by the alienated youths who torched the country from Normandy to Toulouse. One writer suggested that those who saw Islamism on the march in France were merely exponents of a particularly virulent form of conservative thinking, expressed variously around the world through Russian racism, demagogic Hindu nationalism, Gallic exceptionalism, US Christian fundamentalism and Muslim fundamentalism which were all marching shoulder to shoulder in an attempt to stop the clock of history.
Yet the vast majority of the French rioters were Muslims; the rioters screamed ‘Allahu akhbar’, talked about jihad and expressed admiration for Osama bin Laden; and, more pertinently still, the French government asked Muslim imams to calm the unrest, which they did ‘in the name of Allah’ and issued a fatwa telling the rioters that such behaviour went against the religion. Yet despite all this evidence, British commentators insisted that Islam was irrelevant.
There was a similar reaction to the riots in Australia involving Lebanese Muslims in December 2005. Trouble flared on Cronulla beach in New South Wales when thousands of drunken white youths went on the rampage, attacking police and people of Middle Eastern appearance. It spread later with retaliatory attacks by groups of Arab youths who stabbed one man and smashed dozens of cars. Almost universally, the media described what happened as white racists attacking Arabs and described the disturbances, which went on for several days, as ‘race riots’.
But race was not the issue here. It was culture. There had never been any trouble with Lebanese Christians in Australia who had integrated well and were prospering. While white racists were certainly involved, the unrest was actually sparked by Lebanese Muslim attacks on two white Australian lifeguards, the tip of an iceberg of aggression by this minority which had gone all but unreported. It was the Muslim community which had been giving rise for years to a major problem of aggression but which Australia’s rigid multiculturalist mindset had transformed into Muslim grievances and never properly addressed.
One of the reasons why people shy away from acknowledging the religious aspect of this problem is, first, the very proper respect that should be afforded to people’s beliefs and, second, the equally proper fear of demonising an entire community. There is indeed a risk of such a discussion exposing innocent Muslims to attack. But there is a greater risk to the whole community if the roots of the problem are censored and never dealt with.
The key issue is the inability to grasp that, just because a problem has a religious character, this does not mean that all members of that religion suffer from that problem. There is a distinction to be drawn between Muslims and Islamists. Islamism is the politicised interpretation of the religion which aims to Islamicise societies. Many Muslims in Britain and elsewhere would not subscribe to this ideology. But it is the dominant strain throughout the Muslim world, and there has been so far no serious challenge to it — not least because those who do speak out against it run the risk of being killed.
Because it is so dominant, backed by powerful Muslim states and even more crucially by Islamic religious authorities, it constantly spreads its extremist messages of religious fanaticism and political sedition. That is why the development of the Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure in Britain was so calamitous. It is also why the most bitter criticism of the government’s subsequent appeasement of the Brotherhood has come from liberal British Muslims, who feel understandably betrayed as the ground is cut from under their feet.
The charge that pointing out the religious nature of this extremism is an act of bigotry against Muslims is deployed to shut down a vital debate which urgently needs to be had, not least within the Muslim community itself. The claim is a form of crude intimidation, and the fact that Britain is so cowed by it in itself shows how far it has already travelled down this dangerous path.
It also ignores the fact that some Muslims themselves are speaking out in similar vein. Sheikh Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari, the former Dean of the Faculty of Sharia at the University of Qatar, wrote in the London-based Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat:
‘Why won’t we take the opportunity of the appearance of the 9/11 Commission’s report to ponder why destructive violence and a culture of destruction have taken root in our society? Why won’t we take this opportunity to reconsider our educational system, our curricula, including the religious, media, and cultural discourse that cause our youth to live in a constant tension with the world?’
Aisha Siddiqa Qureshi wrote in Muslim World Today that ‘radical Islam threatens to subjugate the world and murder, enslave or convert all non-Muslims’, that radical Muslims ‘share Hitler’s goal’, and that liberals were not willing to defend their own institutions against this threat.
And Mansoor Ijaz wrote in the Financial Times shortly after the first set of London attacks:
‘It is hypocritical for Muslims living in western societies to demand civil rights enshrined by the state and then excuse their inaction against terrorists hiding among them on grounds of belonging to a borderless Islamic community. It is time to stand up and be counted as model citizens before the terror consumes us all.’
Such courageous Muslims are being betrayed by Britain’s pusillanimity. The Muslim community has got to come up with a different response from blaming Britain and the west. While no-one has the right to tell it how to organise its own religion, it does have a responsibility to address those aspects of its culture which threaten the state. Britain does this community no favours by pandering to its own tendency to self-delusion.
For Britain to start to address this properly, it would have to take a number of steps which showed unequivocally that it was refusing to compromise not just with terror but with the ideology that fuels it. That would mean showing that, while it had no problem with the practice of Islam as a minority faith that observed the same rules as all other minority faiths, it would not countenance the practice of Islamism, or clerical fascism, and would take steps to stop it.
It would first have to take robust steps to counter the specific threat posed by Islamist terrorism. To do this properly, it needs to recognise that this particular threat really is something new and does not properly correspond either to our definition of terrorism or to our definition of war but sits somewhere between the two. Consequently, it needs to develop new structures and new principles to deal with this new phenomenon. A start would be to construct special courts to deal with particularly sensitive cases in which intelligence could safely be brought forward as evidence, which is not the case at present.
To enable it to expel foreign radicals, it would repeal its Human Rights Act and either derogate or withdraw from both the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention on Refugees, drafting its own legislation defining refugee status. The claim that abolishing human rights legislation would be a regressive move that would leave Britain a less free society is very wide of the mark. Britain was arguably a freer society before European human rights law eroded the foundation of British liberty, the common law.
A properly motivated Britain would put a stop to the funding and recruitment for terrorism taking place under the umbrella of charitable work through intensive investigations of such organisations. It would shut down newspapers and TV stations spreading incitement to terrorism and war against the west. It would ban extremist organisations like Hizb ut Tahrir and the Muslim Association of Britain, recognising that while they may not advocate terrorism their advocacy of Islamification creates a conveyor belt to violence. It would certainly not grant Sheikh Qaradawi an entry visa. And it would introduce surveillance of subversives on campus through targeted covert work, as suggested by Professor Anthony Glees and Chris Pope.
Recognising that Islamist ideology is a conveyor belt to terror, it would end its strategy of cosying up to Islamist radicals. Instead, any materials advocating an Islamic takeover of the west would be treated as subversion, sedition or even treason and prosecuted. The curricula used in Muslim schools would be inspected by Arabic speakers and if contained similar incitement would be similarly dealt with. Imams would be regulated and monitored. Extremist imams would be expelled and extremist mosques closed down.
The message conveyed by all such moves would be that Britain has no problem with Islam as long as it poses no danger to the state. Since the Muslim community insists that it is moderate and has no truck with extremism, it should have no objection to such measures which would ensure that this would be the case.
Next, a properly motivated nation would set about the remoralisation and re-culturation of Britain by restating the primacy of British culture and citizenship. To do this, it would recognise that British nationhood has been eviscerated by the combination of three things: mass immigration, multiculturalism and the onslaught mounted by secular nihilists against the country’s Judeo-Christian values. It would institute tough controls on immigration while Britain assimilates the people it has already got. The principal reason behind the cultural segregation of Britain’s Muslims is their practice of marrying their young people to cousins from the Indian subcontinent. That has got to stop because it is simply a threat to social cohesion. The usual charges of racism would be faced down by reaffirming two things simultaneously: that Britain values its immigrants who make a great contribution to the country; and that in order to integrate them properly into British society, their numbers must be controlled.
It would abolish the doctrine of multiculturalism by reaffirming the primacy of British values. It would ensure that British political history is once again taught in schools, and that Christianity is restored to school assemblies. It would stop the drift towards the creation of a parallel Islamic jurisdiction under Sharia and would no longer turn a blind eye to the practice of polygamy, following the recommendation of Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui that imams should only be allowed to officiate at marriages upon the production of a civil marriage certificate.
It would halt the drift towards social suicide by ending the culture of equal entitlement ushered in by the application of secular human rights doctrine. An agenda that seeks to destroy western values by abolishing moral norms altogether and replacing them by transgressive behaviour has been serviced by human rights law. An end to this victim culture is essential both to restore social order to Britain and give it back its sense of its own identity. While it is being undermined from within it is not able properly to defend itself against the threat from without.
Finally, it would undertake a major educational exercise for both Muslims and non-Muslims. It would teach Muslims what being a minority means, and that certain ideas to which they may subscribe are simply unacceptable or demonstrably untrue. It would say loud and clear that the double standards from which Muslims think they suffer are actually a form of double-think. Any administration that was really concerned to fight racism would educate the nation in the historical truths about Israel and the Arabs, and tell Muslims in terms that they have systematically been fed a diet of lies about Israel and the Jews.
If Britain really understood the threat to the west, this is the kind of programme it would now be introducing. Unfortunately, there is very little chance of any of this happening. Britain is currently locked into such a spiral of decadence, self-loathing and sentimentality that it is incapable of seeing that it is setting itself up for cultural immolation. In the short term, this is likely to lead to the increasing marginalisation of British Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities caught in a pincer movement between radical Islamists on the one hand and a craven establishment on the other that is pandering to Islamist extremism. So much for the multicultural nirvana.
America’s principal ally is currently at a crossroads. With Islamist terrorism having erupted in London and still worse atrocities feared to be in the offing, the British government has even now only tightened up a few procedures. If there were to be more attacks, it is possible that it would finally be forced to take a more tough-minded approach. But to date, Londonistan still flourishes. Yes, a few more extremists have been locked up. Yes, a few thinkers have now questioned the wisdom of multiculturalism. But the push for Islamisation continues, British Muslims are still being recruited for the jihad, and the country’s elites are still in the grip of the nation-busting, universalist mindset that has hollowed out Britain’s values and paralysed it in the face of the assault by Islamism. A liberal society is in danger of being destroyed by its own ideals.
The emergence of Londonistan should be of the greatest concern to America, for which it poses acute dangers. Clearly, the fact that Britain has become Europe’s Islamist terror factory presents immediate and obvious risks to America’s physical security. On another level, there is the danger that Britain might cease to play such a staunch role in the continuing defence against the war upon the west. Tony Blair has said he will not stand again as Labour’s leader. Given the hostility of his party towards America, Israel and Iraq his successor is unlikely to share his passion for the cause. As for the Conservative party, which might come to power instead, it has lost its ideological way with many in its ranks having come to share the shrill prejudices of the left and a new leader, David Cameron, who has announced that he ‘loves Britain as it is, not as it once was’.
At a deeper, cultural level there is now a risk of the special relationship between Britain and America fracturing as Britain slides further into appeasement. But there is a more subtle peril still for America. After all, if Britain slept on its watch, so too did America and for similar reasons. Like British politicians and British intelligence, successive American administrations along with the CIA and FBI similarly failed to pay attention to or understand the rise of fanatical Islamism and what this meant for the world. Like their British counterparts, American officials dismissed the warnings they were given by occasional far-sighted officials and other players who did understand that a religious war was brewing. Indeed, America has an even greater horror than Britain of encroaching on religion’s private space. It too has gone to great lengths to avoid referring to the religious nature of the war declared on the west, calling the struggle instead — absurdly — a ‘war on terrorism’. As a Pentagon briefing paper observed:
‘America’s political leaders still think Muslim terrorists, even suicide bombers, are mindless ‘criminals’ motivated by ‘hatred of our freedoms’ rather than religious zealots motivated by their faith. And as a result, we have no real strategic plan for winning a war against jihadists.’
The cultural deformities of moral relativism and victim culture that have done such damage in Britain are present in American society too. At present, they are locked in conflict with traditional values in America’s culture wars. But it doesn’t take too much imagination to envisage that, if a different administration were installed in the White House, Britain’s already calamitous slide into cultural defeatism might boost similar forces at play in the United States.
Britain is the global leader of English speaking culture. It was Britain which first developed the western ideas of the rule of law, democracy and liberal ideals and exported them to other countries. Now Britain is leading the rout of those values, allowing its culture to become vulnerable to the predations of militant Islam. If British society goes down under this twin assault, the impact will be incalculable — not just for the military defence of the west against radical Islamism, but for the very continuation of western civilisation itself.
The west is under threat from an enemy which has shrewdly observed the decadence and disarray in Europe where western civilisation first began. And the greatest disarray of all is in Britain, the very cradle of western liberty and democracy, but whose cultural confusion is now plain for all to see in Londonistan. The Islamists chose well. Britain is not what it once was. Whether it will finally pull itself together and stop sleepwalking into cultural oblivion is a question on which the future of the west may now depend.