By Guy Millière / Gatestone Institute
London, June 5, 2017. A minute of silence is held at Potters Field Park, next to the City Hall, to pay tribute to the victims of the London Bridge jihadist attack three days before. Those who came have brought flowers, candles and signs bearing the usual words: “unity”, “peace” and “love”. Faces are sad but no trace of anger is visible. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, a Muslim, gives a speech emphasizing against all evidence that the killers’ ideas have nothing to do with Islam.
A few hours after the attack, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May also refuses to incriminate Islam, but dares to speak of “Islamic extremism”. She was immediately accused of “dividing” the country. On election day, June 8, her Conservative party lost the majority in the House of Commons. Jeremy Corbyn, a pro-terrorist, “democratic socialist”, who demands the end of British participation in the campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS), led the Labour party to thirty more seats than it had earlier. In spite of three attacks in three months, Britain does not seem to choose the path of vigilance and determination. June is not even over but the media barely talk about terrorism any more. A devastating fire destroyed a building in North Kensington, killing scores of residents. Mourning the victims seems to have completely erased all memory of those killed in the terrorist attacks.
Then, in the early hours of June 19, a man who acted alone drove a van into a crowd of Muslims leaving Finsbury Park Mosque in London: the main “threat” to the British right now was soon presented in several newspapers as “Islamophobia”.
The United Kingdom is not the main Muslim country in Europe, but it is the country where, for decades, Islamists could comfortably call for jihad and murder. Although most jihadist movements were banned by the British government, more discreet organizations have emerged and demurely spread the same message. The Islamic Forum for Europe, for example, depicts itself as “peaceful”, but many of those it invites to speak are anything but that. One was Anwar al-Awlaki, who for years planned al-Qaeda operations until he was killed in Yemen in 2011 in an American drone strike. The Islamic Human Rights Commission uses the language of defending human rights to disseminate violent statements against Jews and the West.
The most flamboyant radical preachers have all but disappeared. The most famous among them, Anjem Choudary, was recently sentenced to five years and six months in prison for his open support of the Islamic State, but hundreds of imams throughout the country continue similar work. No-go zones, forbidden to the “infidels”, continue to grow in big cities, and sharia courts continue to dispense a form of justice parallel to, but different from, the national one. Khuram Shazad Butt, one of the three London Bridge terrorists, could raise the Islamic State flag in front of cameras, be the main character of a documentary on jihad in Britain and still be considered “low priority” by the police. Salman Abedi, the Manchester killer, travelled to Libya and Syria for training before he decided to act; he could easily cross borders without being stopped.
Attempts to sound an alarm are rare, and quickly dismissed. Left-wing British politicians long ago chose to look the other way and indulge in complicity. Conservatives did not do much to help, either: after the uproar sparked by Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech in 1968, British conservatives avoided the subject and became almost as complacent as their political opponents. In 2002, while portraying Islamism as the “new Bolshevism”, Margaret Thatcher noted that “most Muslims deplore” terrorism. She described the “jihadist danger” without saying a single word on radical Muslims spreading Islamism in her own country.
In 2015, David Cameron said, “We need far more Muslim men and women at the head of British companies, more Muslim soldiers at the highest command posts, more Muslims in parliament, Muslims in a position of leadership and authority”. He did not mention those who were joining jihad in London even as he was speaking.
When he was at the head of Britain’s UKIP party, Nigel Farage said that there is a Muslim “fifth column” in the country. He was ferociously criticized for these words. Paul Weston, chairman of the GB Liberty party, was arrested by the police in 2014 for reading in public a text on Islam written by Winston Churchill. One wonders how Churchill would be regarded today.
Britain — in spite of the Brexit referendum and even though it is more undermined by Islamization than most other European countries — is fully imbued with a European, defeatist state of mind that corrodes its existence and is present throughout Europe.
At the end of World War II, Europe was exhausted and largely destroyed. The idea that prevailed among politicians was that it was necessary to make a clean sweep of the past. Nazism was described as the rotten fruit of nationalism and military power, and the only war that seemed to have to be waged was a war against war itself. Decolonization added the idea that the Europeans had oppressed other peoples and were guilty of crimes they now had to redeem. There was no mention of how, throughout history, recruits to Islam had colonized the great Christian Byzantine Empire, Greece, Sicily, Corsica, North Africa and the Middle East, most of the Balkans and eastern Europe, Hungary, northern Cyprus and Spain. Cultural relativism gained ground. The anti-Western revision of history gradually gained ground in media, culture, politics and education.
Immigrants from the Muslim world arrived in increasing numbers. They were not encouraged to integrate or respect the countries to which they came. In school, their children were told that European powers had misbehaved towards the Muslim world and that Muslim culture was at least as respectable as the Western one, maybe even more
When violence erupted and riots took place, European politicians chose to placate them. European populations sometimes tried to resist, but they were constantly told that criticism of immigration and Islam is “racist”. They were intimidated, pushed to shut up.
What is happening now in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe is merely a continuation.
European political leaders all know that radical Islam has swept throughout the continent, that hundreds of Muslim areas are under Islamic control, that thousands of potential jihadists are there, hidden among the immigrants and ready to murder, and that the police are overwhelmed.
They know that radical Islam has declared war on the Western world and that it is a real war. They see that they are prisoners of a situation they no longer control and that reversing the course of events would involve drastic actions they are not ready to take, such as closing thousands of mosques, taking back lost territories by force, arresting thousands of suspects, and deporting foreign jihadists.
They are aware that an apparently unstoppable replacement of population is underway in Europe and that there will be more attacks. They speak as if to limit the damage, not prevent it.
European populations also see what is happening. They watch as entire areas of European cities become foreign zones on European soil; they view the attacks, the wounded, the corpses. It seems as if they have simply lost the will to fight. They seem to have chosen preemptive surrender.
British political commentator Douglas Murray writes in his important new book, The Strange Death of Europe: “Europe is committing suicide. Or at least its leaders have decided to commit suicide”. He then wonders if the Europeans will agree to go along with what is happening. For the moment, it seems, the answer is yes.
Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe. Copyrighted material is republished here with the permission of the Gatestone Institute.
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