October 14th 2006

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: COMMONWEALTH-STATE RELATIONS: Will Howard override WA on natural gas?

EDITORIAL: Bushfires: an ounce of prevention

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Behind the move to lift cloning ban

INTERNATIONAL TRADE: Farmers protests over free trade in Cairns

TRADE POLICY: Why WTO trade talks failed

STRAWS IN THE WIND: The decline of Labor, the fate of Smith Street, Blair's departure and the Regensburg Address

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: T3 sell-off will not end Telstra's woes

HOUSING: Urban planning is destroying the great Australian dream

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: North Korea's nuclear ambitions: is China really powerless?

ANTI-LIFE CAMPAIGN: The selective indignation of Senator Stott Despoja

OPINION: The case for optional preferential voting

BIOTECHNOLOGY: The ascent of Mount Improbable

The debt trap (letter)

The Pope and Islam (letter)

The Ice epidemic (letter)

BOOKS: LONDONISTAN: How Britain is Creating a Terror State Within, by Melanie Phillips

BOOKS: SCOURGE AND FIRE: Savonarola and Renaissance Italy, by Lauro Martines

Books promotion page

LONDONISTAN: How Britain is Creating a Terror State Within, by Melanie Phillips

by Bill Muehlenberg

News Weekly, October 14, 2006
Britain's homegrown terrorists

How Britain is Creating a Terror State Within
by Melanie Phillips
Gibson Square, 2006
Rec. price: AUD$52.95

This is a very important book. It is also a very frightening book. Its thesis is that Britain has largely created a culture which breeds Islamic terrorism. British authorities have certainly done very little to discourage it, and in many ways have actually aided and abetted home-grown terrorism.

Indeed, "London has become the epicentre of Islamic militancy in Europe". That is, it has "become the major European centre for the promotion, recruitment and financing of Islamic terror and extremism".

This book examines how and why this has happened. Two broad reasons are given: first, Britain no longer believes in itself, no longer cherishes its founding values, and no longer thinks it has a role to play in the world.

Threat misunderstood

Second, British authorities have seriously misjudged the threat of Islamic terrorism. Therefore Britain is engaged in a policy of denial, appeasement, blaming itself, and hiding its head in the sand. These two major factors have led to London becoming the "hub of European terror networks".

Says Phillips, "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 a cultural immolation." A nation that helped give the world such values as freedom, democracy and rule of law is now in the process of routing those very values.

In this volume well-documented chapters provide the evidence of this alarming situation. Phillips examines numerous factors that have contributed to the demoralisation of England. Large numbers of Muslim migrants, multiculturalism, rampant anti-Americanism, secularisation, the victim culture and postcolonial guilt have all led to a loss of national self-belief. The Judeo-Christian heritage has largely been scuttled.

This severely weakened national self-identity has been further encouraged by a decrepit Anglican church, which seems to have lost its theological moorings. Liberal religion is not good at attracting new members, so today more people go to a mosque in London than to an Anglican church.

Coupled with this national social suicide is the inability of British authorities to comprehend Islamic extremism, and how it flourishes in such an environment. Even after 9/11, they have largely failed to appreciate the threat that is among them. Indeed, al Qaeda was actually formed as a movement in Britain. Yet the leadership and intelligentsia of the nation refuse to acknowledge that what they are up against is a religious ideology.

The ideology of holy war will not be appeased by turning Muslim immigrants into clients of the welfare state. In spite of tax-payer subsidised housing, health care and other social benefits, Muslim communities in Britain remain enclaves. Assimilation has been eschewed, while the maintenance of a separate identity, culture and lifestyle has been pursued.

British values have been rejected, and many Muslims seek to implement Sharia law across the land. While perhaps most Muslims just want a peaceful life in a peaceful country, Islamists in Britain are quite specific about their goal: turning it into a Muslim nation.

Phillips has very incisive chapters on some of the main culprits: the rights industry, multiculturalism, unchecked anti-Semitism, etc. Consider what she calls the human rights jihad. By denigrating the host nation, and granting every conceivable right to immigrants who often despise the British way of life, the rights ideology has contributed to the hollowing out of British society and has created conditions which breed Islamist extremism.

Commonsense security measures and anti-terrorism laws have been dismantled, weakened, or prevented from proceeding, in the name of human rights. In the hope of not offending the Muslim minority, Muslim groups are treated with kid gloves, even as victims, and fear of Islamophobia has become the main obsession amongst Britain's elite.

Phillips documents how the rise of judicial activism and the human rights culture has led to a diminution of British sovereignty, a self-loathing of British values and the collapse of national security. And concepts such as multiculturalism have simply compounded the problems. The reigning British thinking now is that all cultures and values are equal, and any attempt to impose the majority (host) culture and its values on the minorities is inherently 'racist'.

Assimilation has been renounced as chauvinistic, racist and oppressive. The education system, for example, teaches the value and worth of all non-Western cultures, while the achievements of the West are ignored or ridiculed.

And in the name of diversity and respect for other cultures, the Judeo-Christian heritage of the host culture is being ravaged. Indeed, Christianity is viewed as divisive and exclusive, whereas Islam and other religions are not. And this nicely suits radical Islamists. Since al Qaeda "treats religion with the utmost seriousness, it understands very well the crucial significance of Christianity in the life of the British nation. Dethrone Christianity, and the job of subjugating the West is halfway done."

This aversion to the host religion is best exemplified by Prince Charles. He goes out of his way to praise Islam as a religion of peace, while simultaneously minimising and denigrating Christianity, the faith he is meant to protect. Indeed, he has said that the King should not be Defender of the Faith (Christianity), but 'defender of faith'. Interestingly, he has travelled extensively in the Muslim world, but has never once visited Israel.

Anti-Semitism is indeed a big factor in all this, argues Phillips. The British have in the main swallowed the Arab/Muslim propaganda concerning Israel and the Jews. Instead of seeing Israel as the sole democracy in a part of the world filled with dictatorships and oppression, and the front line of defence in the war against the West, Israel is viewed as the great Satan, the cause of the world's ills.

Instead of rejecting this blatant anti-Semitism, many Britons are actually embracing it.

Taken together, the effect of all this has been to "create a climate in Britain that has alarming echoes of Weimar in the 1930s. There is the same combination of amorality and appeasement, of decadence and denial. The narrative of Islamists who threaten the West has been widely adopted as the default political position."

At bottom, Britain in particular and the West in general are in a war against a fanatical religious ideology. The Islamist terrorists have a non-negotiable agenda: the destruction of Israel, America and the West. Until Britain and the West acknowledge and understand the ideological basis of the terrorism they face, they will never be able to successfully challenge it.

Religious extremism cannot be ignored, denied or appeased. It must be confronted. But an anaemic Britain which has abandoned its heritage and embraced its enemies is in no condition to fight. Fear of Islamophobia and a loss of belief in itself have paralysed Britain, preventing it from taking the sensible and necessary steps to defend itself.

Phillips concludes by offering some practical steps as to how Britain can turn things around. It is a nation at the crossroads. It can learn from its mistakes, regroup and move on. Or it can continue down the path of appeasement and denial, and simply wither on the vine. A choice must be made, and a book like this helps us all to decide which way we will proceed.

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