Londonistan: a book review by Tony Pearce
Tony Pearce reviews a new book by journalist Melanie Phillips which argues that Britain has been sytematically subverted by Islamic agendas which politicians have allowed to flourish unhindered.
first published 03/07/2007
"In this groundbreaking study, Melanie Phillips shows how Britain’s imperial policy of “benign neglect” towards radical Islamist groups in the 1980s and 1990s came close to malign complicity in the activities of some of the most determined terrorist organizations ever to emerge in Europe." Amir Taheri
a review by Tony Pearce
Melanie Phillips’ book ‘Londonistan’ does much more than just analyse the terrorist threat to Britain as a result of the British state’s appeasement of Islamic radicals over a number of years. She puts this dire situation into the context of the systematic eradication of Britain’s heritage, especially the influence of Christianity, and its replacement by politically correct situation ethics which have created a spiritual void into which Islam is now flowing. This destruction has taken place because the British establishment has lost confidence in itself as a result of post colonial guilt and the assault of the radical left allied to Islamic radicals upon its institutions.
Reading her penetrating analysis it is hard to believe that Melanie is not a Bible believing Christian. Coming from a Jewish point of view she shares the concerns of many Christians today about the way our society has become a ‘post-Christian society where traditional morality has been systematically undermined and replaced by an ‘anything goes’ culture in which autonomous decisions about codes of behaviour have become unchallengeable rights.’ (Page 25). ‘The slow death of Christianity in Britain meant the transfer of belief from messianic redemption to secular utopia. Saint Paul yielded to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and the doctrine of Original Sin was replaced by the doctrine of Original Innocence.’ (Page 124).
This has created a society ruled by moral relativism which has ‘destroyed the notion of objectivity, so that truth and lies were stood on their heads. This opened the way for the moral inversion of ‘victim culture’ which holds that since minorities are oppressed by the majority they cannot be held responsible for what happens to them.’ This in turn allows ‘British Muslims, who consider themselves to be pre-eminently victims of Western culture to turn reason and justice on their heads by blaming any wrongdoing of Muslims on others.’ (Page 26).
British Muslims insist that they are under attack by ‘Islamophobes’ and a hostile West. Therefore ‘any attempt by British society to defend itself or its values, either through anti-terrorist laws or the reaffirmation of the supremacy of Western values is therefore denounced as Islamophobia. … Such deception and intimidation have worked. So profound is the fear of being branded a racist among British liberals, so completely do they subscribe to the multicultural victim culture, that the obvious examples of illogicality, untruths and paranoia in much Muslim discourse have never been challenged. Instead of attacking Islamic extremism, British liberals attacked Islamophobia. Instead of defending Britain against its attackers, they turned their rhetorical guns upon their own nation.’ (Page 26-7).
Melanie goes on to analyse how Islamic radicals have skilfully exploited the weaknesses in British society to gain a foothold in the nation. A combination of the human rights legislation and a craven policy of appeasement allowed some of the most vociferous supporters of terrorism, wanted in Middle Eastern Muslim countries for their crimes in their homelands, to set up shop in Britain. As long as they did not carry out terrorist atrocities in Britain they were free to maintain an international network which had its hub in London while sponsoring terrorism abroad. ‘Over the years the governments of India, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, France, Algeria, Peru, Yemen and Russia, among others lodged formal or informal protests about the presence in Britain of terrorist organisations or their sympathisers.’ (Page 84).
When the chickens came home to roost with the London bombings of 2005 mistakes already made by the government were compounded. Bending over backwards not to offend the mainstream Muslim community, the government and the police sought advice from people who condemned terrorism in general but also used the threat of terrorism to push for their own agenda. ‘Sir Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, was quick to say that ‘the real victim of these bombings in the Muslim community of the UK.’ And if the Muslim community was the real victim, then it followed that the British, far from being the targets of terrorism, were actually to blame for causing it by supporting the war in Iraq. This moral inversion was then turned into a threat that unless the British changed their foreign policy they could expect more of the same.’ (Page 135)
“ In February 2006 we came within a hair’s breadth of having our freedom to make legitimate criticisms of religion taken away when the government’s law banning religious discrimination was defeated in the Commons. This bill had been one of the Muslim Council of Britain’s demands..."
So in order to defend itself against terrorism the British state needs to give the Muslims what they want. Since one thing the Islamic fundamentalists want is to have Shari’a (Islamic) law established alongside British law and applicable to the British Muslim community, this would effectively mean allowing a state within the state to arise. In February 2006, Dr Patrick Sookdheo, director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, warned that the day was coming when Islamic communities in Britain would do just that. ‘In a decade you will see parts of English cities which are controlled by Muslim clerics and which follow, not the common law, but aspects of Muslim Shari’a law. It is already starting to happen – and unless the Government changes the way it treats the so-called leaders of the Islamic community, it will continue.
The most fundamentalist clerics think it is only a matter of time before they will persuade the Government to concede on the issue of Shari’a law. Given the government’s record of capitulating, you can see why they believe that.’ (Page 160).
In February 2006 we came within a hair’s breadth of having our freedom to make legitimate criticisms of religion taken away when the government’s law banning religious discrimination was defeated in the Commons. This bill had been one of the Muslim Council of Britain’s demands at the last election and Labour had promised to deliver it (thereby securing the Muslim vote). It was narrowly defeated as a result of a back bench rebellion. This was an answer to the prayers of many Christians who saw that as the law was framed it would shut down our freedom to debate religious differences and particularly to prevent any criticism or even questioning of Islam. It would have effectively taken away our freedom of speech.
With the growing influence of Islam has come an increasing hostility towards Israel and the Jewish community. Melanie points out that most of the educated classes in Britain now believe that Israel is at the root of the terrorist threat. They believe that if Israel were to give land for peace the problem would be solved. They fail to realise that Israel is the front line of the jihad which aims ultimately to subjugate the whole world to Islam. For the Islamic radicals it does not matter how much land Israel does or does not give to the Palestinians. It simply matters that Israel exists in what they see as Islamic space and therefore Israel must be destroyed. For many in Britain today Israel’s attempts to defend itself against genocidal forces seeking their destruction are seen as illegitimate and the most blatant anti-Semitism is accepted without question.
Islamic anti-Zionist movements not only call for the destruction of Israel but also disseminate classic anti-Semitic texts like Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ and the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion.’ Conspiracy theories of Jewish plans to dominate the world abound with Hezbollah for example declaring: ‘The Jews are the enemy of the entire human race’; ‘Zionism dictates the world and dominates it’; ‘The Torah inspires the Jews to kill.’ (Page 172). As anti-Israel demonstrators march through London chanting ‘We are all Hezbollah now’ and blatantly racist anti-Semitic material is openly distributed in central London, there are real fears for the safety of the Jewish community here.
"much of the official church has signed up to the notion that Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all monotheistic religions ..with no real theological differences between them. As a result the church fails to recognise the fundamental hostility towards the Christian message which is at the heart of Islam."
Since the left wing have always made anti-racism one of the main planks of their programme, one would expect them to be outraged by some of the material coming out of radical Islamism. But as Melanie points out in her chapter ‘The Red-Black Alliance’ much of the radical left has joined forces with radical Islamism under the cover that ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend.’ Both the radical left and radical Islam hate America, Israel and Christianity. On the other hand their end view of what society should be like could not be more different. In an Islamic state there would be no place for practising homosexuals, women would be clothed in chadors and subject to men, and the will of Allah would be supreme, all of which would put most of the radical left in line for prison or execution.
One reason for this strange alignment is the fact that the end of the Cold War and the collapse of communism have meant the dream of a worker’s revolution replacing capitalism in the West has faded into fantasy. The British left alighted on the Palestinian cause as a weapon against Western society. ‘Since the left demonises America and Western capitalism, and lionises the third world and all liberation movements, the Palestinian Arabs were a natural cause to be championed – victims of American imperialist power through the actions of its proxy – Israel.’ (Page 186).
Melanie links all this with the thinking of Italian communist, Antonio Gramsci. ‘He grasped that the most effective means of overturning Western society was to subvert its culture and morality. Instead of mobilising the working class to take over the world, the revolution would be achieved through a culture war, in which the moral beliefs of the majority would be replaced by the values of those on the margins of society. And this would be brought about by capturing all of society’s institutions – schools, universities, churches, the media, the legal profession, the police, voluntary groups - and making sure that this intellectual elite all sang from the same subversive hymn sheet.’ (Page 124). By this means ‘the moral beliefs of the majority would be replaced by values of those on the margins of society, the perfect ambience in which the Muslim grievance culture could be fanned into the flames of extremism.’ (Page 186).
The way that the majority of churches have been captured by this mindset is set out in Chapter 8 of the book ‘On their knees before Terror.’ Melanie gives a remarkable accurate account of the catastrophe that has taken over much of Christianity not just in Britain but throughout the western world. ‘Faith in God and belief in the fundamentals of Christianity have been replaced by worship of social liberalism. The Church stopped trying to save people’s souls and started instead trying to change society. It signed up to the prevailing doctrine of the progressive class that the world’s troubles were caused by poverty, oppression and discrimination.’ (Page 215)
When it comes to dealing with Islam much of the official church has signed up to the notion that Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all monotheistic religions and therefore children of Abraham with no real theological differences between them. As a result the church fails to recognise the fundamental hostility towards the Christian message which is at the heart of Islam. Also ‘it has allowed itself to absorb much of the Islamist and Arab narrative of hostility to Israel and the Jews, thus positioning itself as an unwitting ally of those who would destroy Christianity itself.
The result is an astounding silence by the Church about the persecution by Muslims of millions of Christians around the world. Churches are being burned down and Christians terrorised and killed by Muslims in Sudan, Congo, Egypt, Indonesia, Egypt, Nigeria, Lebanon, Somalia, the Philippines and elsewhere. Yet in the face of this global persecution of its followers, the church that represents them is almost totally silent.’ (Page 217). According to many such church leaders the greatest threat to Christianity comes from ‘Christian Zionists’, those who believe that Israel has a right to exist and is a fulfilment of biblical prophecy.
Melanie’s book is a wake up call to a church and a nation that is sleep walking to disaster. Attempts to appease the Islamists are doomed to failure, since their issue with both Israel and western society is not ultimately over territory or how we behave. It is over the fact that we exist. When Osama bin Laden sent a letter to the American people he gave them a list of his demands. Some way down the list was the demand to stop supporting Israel, Kashmir and so on. But at the top of the list was the statement: ‘The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam.’
As our country abandons its historic faith and mocks at Christianity, Islam is rising with greater and greater demands. Sadly much of the professing church is asleep and often helping bring about the disaster that is coming upon us. Let us pray that the Lord will have mercy and that many Christians will awaken from their slumber.
Ed footnote: The distinction is well made between honest, hard-working and law-abiding Muslims and those Islamists who seek to use violent means to impose their religious ideology on society and nation states.
And Christians are mindful of Jesus' injunction to "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matt 5:44) and not to "be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good" (Rom 12:21).
Tony Pearce publishes Light for the Last Days
Melanie Phillips is an Orwell Prize winning British journalist and author. Her articles appear mainly in the Daily Mail newspaper and cover political and social issues from a conservative perspective; she has also written for The Guardian, and is a regular panelist on the BBC Radio 4 programme The Moral Maze and BBC One's Question Time.