Friday, June 16, 2006

Civil War in Europe, Londonistan, and Appeasing Barbarism

There is talk here and here, of civil war in Europe. This talk is at least partially inspired by this book review in Asia Times Online by Spengler. From Spengler's book review of Melanie Phillips Londonistan:

She [Phillips] warns that the West faces a religious war with Islam. I concur, and recommend Londonistan as indispensable background.

Britain, Phillips warns, is reaping what it has sown. A large minority of British Muslims are disaffected at best and seditious at worst. Phillips cites a 2004 Home Office survey finding that 26% of British Muslims felt no loyalty to Britain, 13% supported terrorism, and about 1% (up to 20,000 individuals) were "actively engaged" in terrorism or support for terrorism.

Another poll found that 32% of British Muslims agreed that "Western society is decadent and immoral and that Muslims should seek to bring it to an end". In the event of a violent collision between the West and Iran, for example, civil conflict might arise in Britain on a scale resembling that in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.

Phillips accuses British security services with complicity in the gestation of a terrorist apparatus in London. Her documentation of overt terrorist activity centered in London is exhaustive, and raises the question of why the open scandal was tolerated. Saudi, Algerian and Egyptian requests for extradition of suspected terrorists were refused, and Arab diplomats vented their frustration over British recalcitrance in public.

A cynically narrow concept of national interest guided this policy, she argues, charging that MI6 (Military Intelligence Section 6, now officially known as the Secret Intelligence Service) believed "that if the Islamists were being left undisturbed to conduct their activities on the assumption that they would not then attack Britain".

But that can explain only part of the story, and Phillips searches for deeper causes of Britain's cowardice. "Denial" is a recurrent theme. She cites an unnamed "foreign intelligence source" as follows:

During the 1990s, many attempts were made to enlighten the British about what was happening. But they refused to see this problem as having a religious character. If this was a religious problem, it became a religious confrontation - and the specter of a religious war was too horrendous. A religious war is different from any other war because you are dealing with absolute beliefs and the room for compromise is very limited. Religious wars are very protracted and bloody, and often end up with a very high toll of lives.

That is not denial, though, but revulsion. The British establishment may have recoiled in horror from the prospect of religious war precisely because it has sufficient institutional memory to know just what such wars entail. Religious war, however, is precisely what it will have, on the worst possible terms, and with an extensive fifth column in place.

.... In any case, Western liberalism, including the sexual habits of English curates, does not appeal to Muslims. On the contrary, Phillips says:

British Muslims are overwhelmingly horrified and disgusted by the louche and dissolute behavior of a Britain that has torn up the notion of respectability. They observe the alcoholism, drug abuse and pornography, the breakdown of family life and the encouragement of promiscuity, and find themselves there in opposition to their host society's guiding values. What they are recoiling from, of course, is the breakdown of Western values. After a visit to the United States in 1948, Sayed Qutb wrote: "Humanity today is living in a large brothel!"

Revulsion and contempt color Muslim attitudes toward the British leftists who most desire to appease them. That is not a recipe for co-existence but for escalation, as last year's subway bombings should have made clear. But the issue now is not terrorism but rather outright war.

The British authorities may have turned a blind eye to terrorism directed against others, and may even have dragged their feet at confronting the terrorist threat at home that erupted in the July 7, 2005, subway bombings. Terrorism is dreadful but, like many nasty things, one can develop a tolerance for it. Now it is not merely terrorism that the West confronts but a strategic debacle of intolerable proportions in the form of Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons.

In that sense Melanie Phillips' book comes too late, for it reports a set of circumstances shortly to be overthrown by events. She is writing about 1938, and we are entering 1939, when the West will have to respond to an external challenge in a way that it never could to an internal threat. Britain will have the religious war it sought to dodge.

Londonistan by Melanie Phillips. Encounter Books: New York 2006. ISBN: 1594031444. Price: US$25.95, 213 pages.

For more information by and about Melanie Phillips, read this interview, or this article by Ms. Phillips.

Here is a short excerpt from the excellent interview linked above:

FP: What is your perspective of the alliance of the Left and radical Islamism?

Phillips: It’s remarkable, to put it mildly, that the left – with its obsessions with issues like gay rights, equality for women and sexual licence – should have forged an alliance with radical Islamists who preach death to gays, the subjugation of women and the stoning of adulterers. It is an eye-opener to see, on the streets of London, so-called ‘progressives’ marching shoulder to shoulder with radical Islamists under the metaphorical banner of human rights and the literal banners of Hamas. Both the left and the radical Islamists have put aside their differences because they recognise the value of using each other in pursuit of their common objective, the destruction of western society.

In other, less topsy-turvy times, the rest of the country would have raised an eyebrow at such an alliance and at the noxious views it is spewing out, which in turn so closely reflect the views of neo-fascist groups and white supremacists: hatred of Israel, Judeophobic tropes about a global Jewish conspiracy that endangers the world, loathing of capitalism and America. But alas, such is the extent of Britain’s moral and cultural slide, and so poisonous has been the effect of the opposition to the war in Iraq, that far from being denounced such views are finding expression in mainstream society and public debate.

She also comments in the interview about the link between political correctness, multiculturalism, and appeasement in the face of unspeakable barbarity.

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