- The Washington Times - Monday, February 26, 2007

The terrorist bombings that struck London in 2005, killing 52 persons and wounding 700, revealed long-ignored problems in Britain’s response to Islamist extremism — problems explored by British journalist Melanie Phillips in her book, “Londonistan.”

Mrs. Phillips says that despite the staunch anti-terrorist stance of Prime Minister Tony Blair, many elements of British government and society continue attempting to “appease” radical Islam.

A columnist for British newspapers for the past 20 years, Mrs. Phillips currently writes for the London Daily Mail and maintains her own Web site (www.melaniephillips.com). The following are excerpts from a recent e-mail interview with Mrs. Phillips:

Question: After describing the British confrontation with radical Islam, you conclude that Britain must either “pull itself together” or go “sleepwalking into oblivion.” Is the crisis that serious?

Answer: Yes, I think it is. Britain is under attack by the Islamic jihad through a pincer movement of terrorism and cultural pressure. It is currently not defending itself adequately on either of these fronts because it is still mired in confusion over how to deal with a war waged by members of a minority faith.

Certainly, there have been some recent security successes in thwarting major terrorist plots against the UK. But the British police are nevertheless undermined by their excessive concern not to antagonize the Muslim community. So, for example, they make their intelligence available to Muslim leaders before undertaking counterterror raids, in order effectively to obtain their permission. A senior London police officer recently even suggested that Muslims wishing to provide information to the police should entrust such information to “honest brokers” in the mosques who would then pass it on. This is clearly absurd advice, which potentially compromises security.

Meanwhile, on the cultural front, the government, which has recently been making more robust statements about Islamist extremism and multiculturalism in order to pacify the increasingly agitated British public, nevertheless has declared that London will become the global hub of Islamic banking — despite the fact that global Islamic banking is controlled by Wahhabis determined to Islamize the West — and has now made available Shariah-compliant mortgages, in addition to turning a blind eye to polygamy and refusing to act against the forced “marriage” of Muslim children.

Q: How significant was it that the terrorist bombers who struck London on July 7, 2005, were, as you say, “British boys”?

A: Immensely significant. Although they were born and raised in Britain, it was clear from the defiant video message made by the 7/7 ringleader before he blew up himself and his fellow Britons that they did not regard themselves as British at all, but as “soldiers” at war with the United Kingdom. This is the terrible truth with which Britain is finding it so hard to come to terms — that young people born and bred in Britain, who have attended ordinary British schools and universities and who played cricket and helped the handicapped and appeared quite ordinary, nevertheless feel no allegiance to or identification with Britain and instead want to murder its citizens and destroy its society. …

Q: Why has Britain done such a poor job of assimilating many of its recent immigrants?

A: The problem has arisen from a lethal combination of two things: radical Islamism and multiculturalism. British Muslims mainly came … from Pakistan and Bangladesh. These places were radicalized by Saudi Wahhabism and other extreme jihadi sects, which also have invested billions of dollars in creating a radical infrastructure of mosques and other institutions across the Western world in order to Islamize these countries. So British Muslim institutions passed on these radical ideas to the generation of Muslims who were born in Britain.

At the same time, the doctrine of multiculturalism, which has been the British orthodoxy for decades, meant that British schools, universities and other institutions refused to transmit or uphold the core principles of British national identity. Instead, they told new immigrants that their “own” culture would be celebrated. The result was that all immigrants found they had nothing to integrate into, even if they wanted to. …

Q: Your most famous previous book, “All Must Have Prizes,” was a critique of egalitarianism in British schools. Do you see a connection with the problems of the education system and the rise of the terrorist threat in Britain?

A: Yes, in that the root cause of Britain’s education disaster is the loss of belief in the core purpose of education: the transmission of a society’s culture to the next generation. An intelligentsia that has lost faith in the British nation — and indeed in the idea of “the nation” itself — has torn up Britain’s cultural map. The result has been young people left culturally adrift in a sea of ignorance, unable to think for themselves and no longer knowing what values they must defend. …

Q: Why is there a rise in anti-Semitism at the same time British officials express concern about “Islamophobia”?

A: “Islamophobia” is a term of abuse designed to shut down legitimate and necessary discussion about radical Islamism and its effects. One of those effects is the widespread dissemination of the medieval and Nazi-style anti-Semitism, which is pouring out of the Arab and Muslim world, along with lies and libels about Israel.

Since the intelligentsia in Britain are overwhelmingly left-wing, and since the left has adopted the cause of Palestinianism, the media promulgate the obsessive propaganda of anti-Israel hatred as the truth. … The result is the steady delegitimization of Israel, the sanitizing of its attackers and a rise in anti-Semitic discourse and attacks on British Jews.

Q: Has the decline in Christian belief contributed to Britain’s failure to respond to the threat of radical Islam?

A: Yes, secularization has hollowed out British culture by systematically undermining values underpinned by Christian teaching — such as married family life. The resulting vacuum means that radical Islamism is rushing to fill the gap. …

Q: What are the prospects for the British future after Prime Minister Tony Blair leaves office?

A: It is not clear which Labor politician will succeed Tony Blair as prime minister, although the current chancellor of the exchequer, Gordon Brown, is the most likely candidate. But Blair was hounded out of office early because of his support for America and Israel.

The level of hatred of both America and Israel among the British public at this time is hard to exaggerate. … So whoever becomes prime minister will almost certainly seek to appease this popular rage by distancing himself from America; the leader of the opposition Conservative Party, David Cameron, has said so in terms, and Brown has made noises in this direction, too.

This does not augur well for the alliance with the United States in the defense of the free world. Nor does it augur well for Britain. If Britain really imagines that its interests will be better served by weakening the special relationship and by seeking to appease radical Islamism, it will not be long before it has a very rude awakening indeed.

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