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Do not appease hatred

Britain and the West remain in a state of galloping cultural surrender to the Islamists

(One of our readers has just pointed out that very relevant article from September last year is also on the ICJS Website: The Muslim problem and what to do about it.)

Londonistan is a term of abuse coined by the French for a Britain that has allowed itself to become the European hub of al-Qa'ida. To me, it's also a state of mind, when people not only seek to appease but come to believe and absorb the ideas and assumptions of the enemy that intends to destroy them.

It's a state of mind that applies not just to Britain but throughout the West, where people refuse to face up to the reality of the jihad because they can't bring themselves to accept what must follow.

It's so much easier to take refuge in alternative explanations, particularly ones that blame themselves for their own victimisation. And just as they embrace their enemies, so they turn against their allies.

In Britain, the mainstream view is that Israel is the cause of the world's problems. People believe Israel is the cause of Islamic hatred of the West, global terror and world instability, and that the Jews are putting them directly at risk. They believe Israel's oppression of the Palestinians is the cause of Islamist rage; that the US was attacked on 9/11 only because it supported Israel; and that the only reason Britain is at risk from Islamist terror is because it supported the US in the Iraq war.

This rampant hatred of the US and Israel has come to dominate and distort political debate.

It was hysteria over Israel's conduct of the Lebanon war last summer that forced Tony Blair out of office earlier than he had intended to go. Indeed, sometimes it seems that Britain has turned into a latter-day Salem, with Israel, the US and their defenders the latter-day witches to be thrown to the flames.

Everything that happens is seen through the prism of this perceived conspiracy by Americans and Jews recklessly to put the world at risk in pursuit of their own interests. So Iran's threat to commit genocide against Israel, and its race to obtain the nuclear weapons to put this often repeated threat into practice, is dismissed as mere rhetoric and instead the biggest threat is perceived to be an attack by the US against Iran.

There is a persistent refusal to accept that we are in the throes of a holy war waged on the Western world for more than 25 years without our even recognising it because it doesn't fit our definition of war. It is a world war being fought in many disparate theatres with many proximate causes, but all with one single coherent aim: to defeat Western civilisation, establish Islam as the dominant power in the world and restore the medieval caliphate.

We can see the outcome: in the daily violence in the French suburbs, sanitised by the French Government but described by French police as a permanent intifada; in the similar violence in Belgium; in the murder of Theo van Gogh in The Netherlands and the terrorisation of Dutch politicians who speak out; and in the global riots, kidnappings and murders after the re-publication of the Danish Mohammed cartoons.

Yet little of this is reported and, when it is, it is generally presented as the fault of those being terrorised. Thus the French riots are blamed on French prejudice towards immigrants; the cartoon riots on media insensitivity towards Muslim feelings; and moves by the ultra-liberal Dutch or the Danes to ban the burka or restrict immigration as racism or xenophobia.

People have short memories. They think Islamist terrorism started with 9/11. But the jihad against us started back in 1979, when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini established his theocracy in Iran and declared his intention to wage war on the West and subjugate it to Islam. At the time, we weren't listening. But this ignited political Islamism across the world, gave rise to the rival Wahabi version in Saudi Arabia, ushered in a procession of terror attacks against Western interests throughout the 1980s and '90s, and exported Islamic theocratic rule as a global project.

At the same time, Britain and Europe experienced a mass influx of Muslims as the borders opened and the poor south migrated en masse to the north. The problem is that, unlike other immigrant groups, successive generations of Muslims have failed to integrate and instead try to colonise their host countries.

People are rightly concerned not to tar all Muslims with the brush of Islamist conquest. Indeed, many Muslims in Britain and across the world are deeply opposed to the jihad; Muslims are its most numerous victims. That's why I use the term Islamism, to distinguish those who believe in Islamic conquest from those who merely draw on Islam for spiritual sustenance. But at same time, it is false to deny that Islamism is the dominant force in the Muslim and Arab world, false to deny that it is radicalising millions of Muslims in the West, and false to deny the huge inroads it has made into Western society through this pincer movement of terrorism and cultural pressure.

For instance, opinion polls suggest that 40 per cent to 60 per cent of British Muslims would like to live under sharia law in Britain; almost one-quarter say the 7/7 bombings in London can be justified because of the war on terror; and nearly half think 9/11 was a conspiracy between the US and Israel. Why is Britain getting all this so grievously wrong? Briefly, it's because for decades its intelligentsia and political class have hollowed out British identity and values, creating a vacuum that is being exploited by radical Islamism. Britain has not only lost belief in itself as a nation but European liberals have turned against the very idea of the nation itself.

Rooted in the particulars of history, religion, law, language and tradition, the nation is seen as the cause of all the ills of the world, from prejudice to war.

So Britain's own culture has had to give way to multiculturalism. And this is the core of the muddle that is paralysing us. Because many people think multiculturalism is all about showing respect and tolerance to other cultures and faiths. Well, we should all support respect and tolerance. But that's not what multiculturalism is at all. The doctrine of multiculturalism holds that all minority values must have equal status to those of the majority. Any attempt to uphold majority values over minorities is a form of prejudice. That turns minorities into a cultural battering ram to destroy the very idea of majority culture at all.

A liberal, tolerant society - which is what Britain once was - welcomes and respects minorities. But the deal since the Enlightenment invented tolerance has been that, while the state makes no demands on minorities practising their faith and culture in the private sphere, minorities make no demands that the state adopt their own practices. Minorities do their own thing, but where their values conflict with the bedrock values of majority culture - freedom of speech, monogamy, women's rights - they must give way.

Many Muslims do not accept this. And multiculturalism gives them the muscle to insist that their practices must become mainstream. That's why in Britain we have areas under the informal parallel jurisdiction of sharia law and growing pressure for it to become incorporated into mainstream British society.

But precepts such as polygamy, the subordination of women or the death penalty for apostates or gays are totally inimical to Western society.

It is only if we act against the ideology that is spreading falsehood and hatred, and stop its advance under the umbrella of minority rights, that we have any chance of defending the free world. That means - while showing respect to Muslims who derive only spiritual sustenance from their faith - reasserting Western values and resisting any attempt to subvert them. It also means facing down in public the lies spread about the West.

Only if we stop deluding ourselves and take such action necessary for our survival will we stop sleepwalking to defeat.

Melanie Phillips is a columnist with the Daily Mail in London and author of Londonistan (Encounter Books, 2006). This is an edited extract from her address to a Quadrant dinner in Sydney last night.

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Its easy to assume that two old Colonial powers are simply watching 'Their chickens come home to roost', as such. Perhaps they are. While enjoying the friendship of many English & French nationals, I still recognise that as a Jew, I will never be fully accepted by them. Yet, in some sort of perverse irony, they both work so hard to accept, and to be accepted by groups of people who actively despise every important aspect of life they hold dear. Democracy, liberty, the rights of the individual? The ability to engage in debate over large and small details of a matter of Religious importance? Not under any sort of sharia state! Yet in the Midle East, the one country they both love to demonise offers all those rights to it's Citizens. Yet more perversity, with a subtle twist of irony, leaving me feeling both shaken and stirred.

Posted by Luke on 2007-03-21 12:14:57 GMT

I vote for Melanie Phillips to be President of the United States, or Prime Minister of Britain, or Secretary General of the UN, or leader of the EU. Clear thinking,clear speech, clear action - that's her way! Now, if it could only be implemented we'd have a safer world.

Posted on 2007-03-03 21:26:02 GMT

Aaah...the perfidy of Albion.Maybe the British are getting what they deserve.Those who cansort with a viper will be consumed by it.

Posted by Fiona on 2007-03-02 07:09:58 GMT

thx for your work

Posted by ron raab on 2007-03-02 06:34:09 GMT

I attended two of her presentations, which were largely identical as might be expected. The Australian has edited the transcript poorly. Whilst not changing her meaning, they have left out many of the 'best bits'. One can only hope readers follow the links to her website and subscribe to her mailing list or even better, read her book.

Posted on 2007-03-02 05:32:35 GMT