How Islam Beheads Democracy
by James Jackson on December 14, 2009
“Tell me,” I recently asked a leading British politician. “Had the movie Life of Brian been a parody of Islam rather than of Judao-Christian belief, would a single member of the Monty Python team currently be alive?” He could provide no real answer. So I shall endeavour to do it for him.
You see, the right to give offence is the very bedrock of pluralism and western liberal democracy. Deny that right, and freedom narrows, and the walls of debate close in. Refuse to defend that right, and it is the extremists who prevail. Humour, argument and the rough and tumble of basic rudery are the stuff of liberty and our way of life. Outrage never killed anybody—until Islam became involved.
Suddenly, everyone is scared; everyone tiptoes about; everyone is oversensitized to the smallest of slights or off-message remarks. Hell, you could even lose your head if you’re not careful. No one wants to be the next Daniel Pearl. So we cower and we grind our teeth and we think dark things. What a shame.
Every nation deserves a spiritual centre, and organised religion provides it. Religion can reinforce identity, create a unity of purpose, give a people strength and focus at times of trial or celebration, and add dimension and soul to the corporate whole. Without a core common value system—often bolstered by belief - a country takes a first step towards committing suicide. And without acknowledgement of its Christian foundation, and in its chaotic adoption of multiculturalism, Britain has set out along that path.
At its best, religion has given us great buildings and fine music, has encouraged philanthropy, has inspired writers and artists, and brought hope and light to millions in their darkest hour. We would be impoverished for its absence. Just look at the Czech Republic. It is common to hear the atheists of today–themselves adherents to an aggressive cult–mount a sustained attack on the notion of faith. They dismiss too lightly the fact rite and ritual and spiritual quest have always been part of Man. They forget too easily the worst atrocities of the Twentieth Century were perpetrated by Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, the most committed and tyrannical of irreligionists.
Of course, religion—like humankind itself—has its imperfections. Without some element of doubt, it becomes intolerant and loses humanity. Listen to a bible literalist and you will see what I mean. Islam does not involve or invite doubt; it is about obedience and its holy book is considered the actual word of God. Not much wriggle-room for jokes or compromise. Islam is never going to embrace the “coffee and biscuits in the crypt” approach and gentle idiosyncracies that are so much part of the Anglican (and British) tradition. Add to this the foreign imams who populate British mosques, who have no stake or belief in our way of life, who show no loyalty to our country and who do not even speak our tongue, and the seeds of tension and misunderstanding are sown. Yet the political class continues to express surprise at the apparent rise of the nationalistic far Right.
In promoting, and then imposing the liberal-left conceit of multiculturalism, that political class created a value-free and grievance-ridden swamp in which all views were equal, any creed had merit, and where radical Islamisation could take root without any fear of challenge. Tread lightly, the police were told. Ignore the problem, the Security Services were commanded. Woe betide those who cautioned against the Balkanisation of Britain and the steady erosion of her values in favour of some hybrid mess. For they were deemed racist.
So the terrorist attacks came, innocents and innocence died, and the Labour administration of Blair and Brown tried to hang tough by proposing ID cards for the populace and ninety-days detention without charge. Beyond this, and in the name of integration, the concept of faith school—of whatever flavour—was also assailed. None wished to single out Islam for criticism and few had appetite to argue that traditional Christian belief has served both country and society well. Freedom died just a little bit more. All because of our tolerance for intolerant Islam and its madrasas; all because of our tolerance for a political elite that has sold democracy short.
When the suicide-vest detonates—or a police raid goes in—it is customary for Moslem community leaders (and, indeed, their communities) to argue the terrorist suspects were “not Moslem.” The bleak truth is - they are. The bombers have been nurtured within Islamic schools, brainwashed by Islamic imams, recruited by Islamic spotters, and trained in Islamic camps. The evidence is more than circumstantial, the common denominator more than incidental. Islam must take its share of responsibility, for without recognition of the problem there can be no lasting cure.
That same politician to whom I spoke, talked movingly of Moslems lying dead in graves beside their Christian comrades across the battlefields of World War II. A comforting thought, until one remembers there are fewer than five hundred Asian Moslems in the entire British armed forces. It is a sad truth—and a real one—that to earn a place in the heart and consciousness of a nation, you must first be prepared to shed your own blood for it. Few British Moslems appear willing to volunteer. They cannot then complain of being shunned. Too often it is they who keep aloof; too often it is they who seem contemptuous of the land in which they choose to settle and whose benefits they enjoy.
Sharia has no place in western civilisation. Wahabi-based extremism is incompatible with our cherished and hard-fought-for freedoms. And in a nominally secular and open-faced democracy, the donning of a full veil should be considered as inappropriate and threatening as the wearing of a balaclava. The veil conceals. The veil divides. The veil subjugates. The veil sets a Moslem firmly apart from the wider social milieu. To those who have joined the mass migration to our shores, the message should be clear—buy into our system or bug out. That is the compact.
Islam needs a New Testament or an Enlightenment. Islam needs a liberal interpretation of the Koran. Islam needs to remove an ossifying theology from the state. Islam needs to lighten up. Islam needs to laugh at itself and permit us to laugh at it. Unless and until this occurs, Moslems will forever be viewed with suspicion and latent hostility by large swathes of the British public.
As for the members of Monty Python—Islam would have ensured a most uncomfortable ride.