By Melanie Phillips
(Encounter Books, 200 pages, $25.95)
Has this book been reviewed before? If so, in light of the recent terror-bombings in Britain, another review may be called for. British Journalist and George Orwell Prize-winner Melanie Philips has written a chilling book, setting out how confused thinking, left-liberalism and obeisance to political correctness have led to Islamicist terrorism and extremism striking deep roots in Britain.
A major villain, she argues, is Blair -- not former Prime Minister Tony in this case, but Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, who emerges as a man driven by fear of seeming politically incorrect. An employment tribunal found that he had racially discriminated against three officers at a training school who had been disciplined for, in one case referring to Muslim headwear as "tea-cosies," and in another case for having, perhaps in honest mistake, pronounced "Shi'ites" as "shitties" and having said he felt sorry for Muslims who fasted during Ramadan. Sir Ian responded to this finding by declaring that he was "unrepentant," repeating that the remarks were "Islamophobic" and declaring that the police must "embrace diversity." When questioned about the murder of Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh for questioning Islamic attitudes to women, Sir Ian responded: "There were lots of fundamentalist Muslims who didn't shoot him," revealing a certain logical gap. She might have mentioned how, in words reminiscent of the confessions of Darkness at Noon or 1984 or China's Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, John Grieve, assistant deputy commissioner in the Metropolitan Police Service, and head of its Racial task force, groveled that "I am a racist. I know because Sir William Macpherson said that I am; the Home Secretary said that I am; countless members of the public inquiry said that I am ....The Metropolitan Police Service is an institutionally racist organisation. It must be because Sir William Macpherson said that it is; the Home Secretary said that it is ..."
This was not sarcasm but was intended literally and at its face value. Ray Honeyford commented in the Salisbury Review:
It clearly conveys the impression of a man experiencing inner torment, after having been reduced to the level of a small child by a chastising and tyrannical father. It is not only the words themselves that are disturb, even though they are indeed chilling, coming as they do from the mouth of a mature adult. It is the identity of the person who uttered them that causes the greatest feeling of alarm in the reader.
Melanie Phillips has something shocking on almost every page:
At various conferences to discuss the terrorist threat, senior police officers declared their respect for the Muslim Brotherhood and its mouthpiece in Britain, the Muslim Association of Britain, despite its extremist views and support for terrorism in Iraq and Israel. This enraged secular Muslims who were present, who protested that by cosying up to such extremists the police were betraying the Muslim community.
A particular favorite of the police contact unit appeared to be a Sheik who had called for suicide bombings in Israel and Iraq as a religious duty, and claimed: "We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America!" She documents the reaction of Muslim bodies in Britain to the London terrorist bombing, denial that they were anything to do with Muslims and threat of more to come often being combined in the same sentence.
Former Home Secretary Charles Clarke said that "there can be no negotiations about the reimposition of Shariah law, there can be no negotiation about the suppression of equality between the sexes, there can be no negotiation about the ending of free speech. These values are fundamental to our civilization and are simply not up for negotiation." This was attacked as an assault on Islam.
All this is combined with a resurgence of Jew-hatred such as we might have thought perished in the West about 1945.
Melanie Phillips quotes a 2004 Home Office survey which found 26% of Brtitish Muslims felt no loyalty to Britain, 13% defended terrorism, and about 16,000 were prepared to engage in or actively support terrorism. A third believed Western society was decadent and immoral and that Muslims should seek to bring it to an end. The former Metropolitan Police commissioner, Lord Stevens, revealed that up to 3,000 British-born or British-based people had passed through Osama bin Laden's terrorist training camps. Other surveys gave at least equally alarming results: a BBC poll found 15% of British Muslims supported the 9/11 attacks. Even though these numbers were minorities, with a total Muslim population of 1,600,000, growing rapidly every week, they added up to very substantial numbers in absolute terms.
Four out of 10 British Muslims want Sharia law (which includes punitive stoning and amputation) introduced into parts of the country, and a fifth have sympathy with the "feelings and motives" of the suicide bombers who killed 52 people in the London terrorist bus and tube attacks.
Melanie Phillips claims: "British Muslims are overwhelmingly horrified and disgusted by the louche and dissolute behaviour of a Britain that has torn up notions of respectability. They observe the alcoholism, drug abuse and pornography, the breakdown of family life and the encouragement of promiscuity, and find themselves in opposition to their host society's guiding values."
That, perhaps, is where the other Blair, Tony Blair, comes in. Whether on not things will change under Gordon Brown is hard to say, but it is impossible to deny that the Blair government, for all Blair's military support of the U.S. alliance and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has presided over an ethos, first known as Cool Britannia, which could command little respect or loyalty from anyone. What does one make of a society where trading inspectors prosecute the vendors of pornographic videos on the grounds that their content is less pornographic than advertised, and where the Queen is made to confer a knighthood on a notorious icon of the drug culture? That is another aspect of Londonistan and, along with other elements, goes to make a very disturbing whole. Meanwhile, the director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity said in 2006: "The more fundamentalist clerics think it is only a matter of time before they will persuade the government to concede on the issue of Sharia law. Given the Government's record of capitulating, you can see why they believe that."
I am not always in agreement with Christopher Hitchens, but a comment from him is apt here:
I find myself haunted by a challenge that was offered on the BBC by a Muslim activist named Anjem Choudary: a man who has praised the 9/11 murders as "magnificent" and proclaimed that "Britain belongs to Allah." When asked if he might prefer to move to a country which practices Sharia, he replied: "Who says you own Britain anyway?" A question that will have to be answered one way or another.
The implications of the book are compelling, though to borrow a certain title and call them an inconvenient truth would be an understatement: Britain is going to have to bite on some very tough political bullets if it is going to survive as anything like the nation it has been.
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