Yesterday morning I awoke to the news that there had been some terrible event. At first, I wasn’t sure what it was and that bafflement lasted through my breakfast. Apparently, according to Radio 4, something terrible had happened to some Muslims in Paris. The Today programme said there had been a terrorist attack, many people were dead, and an earnest voice said that, ‘Muslims of Europe are now in danger.’
I heard other voices saying the right wing in France was about to go on the rampage and wondered if there had been an Anders Breivik style massacre. Others said that multiculturalism was now under serious threat. A Muslim commentator, Egyptian German, Dr Asiem El Difraoui, discussed the impact the attacks on Paris may have on French politics:
‘We are a couple of weeks away from regional elections. We know that the extreme Right is emerging as a very strong party,’ he said, highlighting the concerns he shares with the BBC and the Liberal/Left.
‘I really hope that France is not going to react hysterically,’ he went on, explaining: ‘Paris is in shock. It’s much too early to draw conclusions.’
Which conclusions was he waiting for, one wondered. By about 8.30am the fog of liberal obfuscation had faded and I was clear, like everyone else, that this was the terrorist attack by Isil in the heart of Europe, long promised by them. One hundred and twenty seven young people had been shot dead, one hundred more were critically injured. They were not Muslims at all, but Christian and secular, out and about at a rock concert, a football match and drinking in popular bars.
It was clear that the co-ordinated attacks had been committed by well trained young men who took time coolly reloading their assault rifles and Skorpion sub-machine guns. Nothing, certainly not the French security services employed by President Holland’s Socialist government, had stood up to their determination to kill and maim the ‘infidel.’
So we knew who was responsible, and for many of us, it wasn’t really a surprise. What was a shock was the strange tone of the comments and those that followed.
A BBC reporter speaking from Paris mentioned, ‘Ill-disguised fear,’ and a future of ‘subtle divisions,’ which will be, ‘ever harder to repair.’
Why were people obliged to hide their fear when they were being shot at and bombed? What were these ‘subtle divisions?’ Divisions between Muslims and secular society are already obvious and getting deeper, from London and Paris to the holiday beaches in north Africa. Fear in the UK has been intensified by the Rushdie affair, the London bombings, and more recently the mass rape of young white girls by Pakistani men in northern cities and Oxford.
BBC reporters see life in a way that I do not recognise. This was followed by a similar statement from the Metropolitan Police, who said with Utopian confidence: ‘We cannot let the terrorists defeat us. It comes down to trust between communities.’
It is sad that the police have swallowed that empty word, ‘communities’, which most of us recognise do not exist anymore, certainly not in our cities, except in the imaginations of social engineers. In reality there is no ‘trust’ to lose.
In all these comments there was no mention of Islam, the need for it to reform or for its followers to integrate within the countries where they have chosen to live. Online Twitterers were also fretting about the future of their own creed, multiculturalism. No one expressed any anguish about the dead French kids. They worried that Muslims in Europe might be less safe today than they were yesterday and might be ‘stigmatised.’
This thinking is much more of a puzzle than the killings themselves. It is probably easier to fathom out the mental workings of a psychopath than unknot the loops and twists, turns and convolutions in the modern liberal mind. From what I can fathom, Muslims, all of them, are seen as victims by the Left and institutions such as the BBC, and therefore deserving of support in any circumstances.
We’ve heard this before, of course, over the 9/11 attacks in New York, and the London bombings of 7/7. Somehow these were crimes committed against Muslims by the West, and anyone who thinks differently is an oppressor, supporter of Israel, or worse suffering from an irrational, hate filled, stigmatising bout of ‘Islamaphobia.’
Out to lunch, I sat in a trendy, rather expensive cafe, eating my ‘veggie special,’ listening to similar equivocations. English people all around me were saying that these attacks were the fault of Europe and America because of their recent foolish adventures in the Middle East. A friend said she’d been reading the Koran to find out more about it. Some said that the Charlie Hebdo cartoons had been unnecessarily provocative. I suggested that cartoons are a part of our history, by their nature provocative. They could look at Gilray’s attacks on the Prince Regent if they wanted to see something really outrageous.
I suggested that if we stop drawing images of the Prophet to keep Muslims happy, we will then face a demand over something else; an end to girls walking about in short skirts, drinking or carrying alcohol in the street, keeping dogs as pets or blind people taking guide dogs in buses or taxis. All those demands were made last year in east London, where there was a determined attempt by Muslims to form segregated, ‘no-go’ areas governed by Sharia Law.
But most people don’t care about cartoons; they care more about their own safety. Rather than admit that, there is a temptation to spout public pieties. Many like to posit the comforting view that ‘most Muslims are peaceful.’
El Difraoui made a good point when he worried about ‘polarisation’ in European thinking. It has obviously already happened. This is not just a war between Islam and the West but between western educated liberals of the sort who have formed into groups calling for ‘No Borders,’ and who like to go and ‘hang out’ in Calais with migrants, and the rest of us, who quite unwillingly and unexpectedly, find ourselves wanting more borders and walls to keep us safe and free.
None of us ‘little Englanders,’ Ukippers or ordinary Tories, ever expected to lead our lives in a ‘fortress Europe,’ or wanted to take refuge inside a stockade. People of my generation grew up in a country which was pleased to belong to a ‘common market’. The future was about negotiation and exchange, one European culture merging happily with another. The rise of religion as an issue, certainly something as exotic and remote as Islam, was as unthinkable as burning Protestants at Smithfield.
None of us saw this conflict with Islam coming. It has been brought to us by mass migration and multicultural ideas, which rather than bringing people together have encouraged separation. Hiding away from this now, a strong culture cringing before a weaker one, can only lead to yet more disaster and defeat.
We must start to assert the superiority of our own Christian/Secular culture over Islam, and expect people living in Europe to obey European laws and customs, or return to the myriad Islamic countries where it seems that, strangely enough, millions of Muslims do not wish to live.