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9/11: Why be so afraid of the M-word?


WHEN, 20 years ago, Muslim fanatics flew passenger aircraft into New York’s Twin Towers, the BBC reported that the perpetrators were ‘terrorists’. All the newspapers agreed that terrorists were to blame, as they always do when there is mass murder on our streets orn Aldgate tube station or on London Bridge. Or again, sometimes these terrorists are described as ‘extremists’ or ‘gunmen’ or ‘men armed with knives’.

Why can’t we tell the truth that such murderous attacks are being perpetrated by Muslims and that they are always proud to claim that their atrocities are committed in the name of Islam? Why don’t we call them by their proper name – the name by which they themselves wish to be called? They wouldn’t complain if we did this. In fact, they would regard it as good publicity for their cause.

If marauding tribes of Yorkshiremen descended on Hampstead and Islington, indulging in wholesale slaughter while singing On Ilkla Moor Baht At and waving pictures of Freddie Trueman, even the coy BBC wouldn’t describe them as terrorists, gunmen and men armed with knives; they would say, ‘It’s those barbaric Yorkies yet again!’

So when the murdering knifemen, gunmen and assorted decapitators celebrate their killing by shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ why do we not give them the credit they are asking for? In short, why don’t we believe them?

It’s not as if all this is new. Islam has a venerable CV.

In AD 732 a Muslim army of as many as 200,000 was defeated by the Christian Charles Martel at Tours. If that battle had been lost, all Europe would have fallen to militant Islam. In 1565 the relief of the Siege of Malta by a Christian alliance ensured that the Mediterranean did not fall into Muslim hands and so give them a toehold in southern Europe.

Following the defeat of the Muslim Turks by the Knights of St John at Malta in 1565, there came the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571, when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of Spain (including its territories of Naples, Sicily and Sardinia), the Republic of Venice, the Papacy, the Republic of Genoa, the Duchy of Savoy, the Knights Hospitaller and others decisively defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire.

There was that other September 11 in 1683 when Christian armies under Jan Sobieski arrived at the gates of Vienna and defeated the last substantial Muslim aggression: the last, that is, before the one which we face at present. New York 9/11, London 7/7, followed by London Bridge, Manchester, Paris, Lyon, Vienna and so many more places. And then there is their wholesale persecution of Christians in Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria and a score of other locations. Funnily enough, none of these perpetrators is described as Muslim.

I’m not the first to notice these facts. The character of Islam has long been understood by some of the finest minds in Europe. R G Collingwood described it as ‘a barbarism’ and Samuel Coleridge had this to say in his On the Constitution of Church and State (1830):

‘That erection of a temporal monarch under the pretence of a spiritual authority, which was not possible in Christendom but by the extinction or entrancement of the spirit of Christianity, this was effected in full by Mahomet, to the establishment of the most extensive and complete despotism that ever warred against civilisation and the interests of humanity.’

We have a choice: either we die of political correctness or we fight fire with fire. But the cringing, self-recriminating West is in denial about the threat from militant Islam. It is not as if we were not told about it. Among a great many warnings was that issued by Professor Marcello Pera, former President of the Italian Senate, soon after 9/11:

‘In Afghanistan, Kashmir, Chechnya, Dagestan, Ossetia, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Bosnia, Kosovo, the Palestinian Territories, Egypt, Morocco and much of the Islamic and Arab world, large groups of fundamentalists, radicals, extremists – the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Muslim Brothers, Islamic Jihad, the Islamic Armed Group and many more – have declared a holy war on the West. This is not my imagination. It is a message they have proclaimed, written, preached, communicated and circulated in black and white. Why should I not take note of it?’

While the threat from militant Islam is real enough, the greater danger lies within. Collingwood pointed out that Rome fell not principally because it was overcome by barbarians – though the task of the barbarians was made much easier by the fact that Rome no longer believed in itself, its traditional form of life, its culture, its civilisation. A century ago, T E Hulme – killed by one of the last shells to be fired in the Great War – wrote:

‘In the history of every civilisation a time comes when its rulers lose its confidence in its gods, its values and its mission; and then, in some way not understood, it begins to die out and less civilised races take its place. In Western Europe today, there is a decline in courage, faith and hope that seems exactly like the decline that led to the fall of Athens, Sparta and Rome.’

Collingwood obliged by writing our own epitaph for us back in 1943:

‘Civilisations sometimes perish because they are forcibly broken up by the armed attack of enemies without or revolutionaries within, but never from this cause alone. Such attacks never succeed unless the thing that is attacked is weakened by doubt as to whether the end which it sets before itself, the form of life which it tries to realise, is worth achieving. On the other hand, this doubt is quite capable of destroying a civilisation without any help whatever. If the people who share a civilisation are no longer on the whole convinced that the form of life which it tries to realise is worth realising, nothing can save it.’

Twenty years on from 9/11, and we mark this terrible anniversary by appeasement and national self-hate.

The Western civilisation created and defended – often to the death – by the Judaeo-Christian culture and tradition has capitulated, content to fight fire and barbarism with Woke.

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Peter Mullen
Peter Mullen
Peter Mullen is a Church of England clergyman, writer and broadcaster

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