Выбрать главу

That’s true – although I wonder for how long even our decayed establishments can keep up the act. After the London bombings, the first reaction of Brian Paddick, the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, was to declare that “Islam and terrorism don’t go together.” After the Toronto arrests, the CSIS Assistant Director of Operations, Luc Portelance, announced that “it is important to know that this operation in no way reflects negatively on any specific community, or ethnocultural group in Canada.” Who ya gonna believe? The RCMP diversity outreach press officer or your lyin’ eyes? In the old days, these chaps would have been looking for the modus operandi, patterns of behaviour. But now every little incident on the planet is apparently strictly specific unto itself: all jihad is local. The Islamic Army of Aden PR guy seems by comparison to have a relatively clear-sighted grasp of reality.

Melanie Phillips makes a point that applies to Britain, Canada and beyond: “With few exceptions, politicians, Whitehall officials, senior police and intelligence officers and academic experts have failed to grasp that the problem to be confronted is not just the assembly of bombs and poison factories but what is going on inside people’s heads that drives them to such acts.” These are not Pushtun yak herders straight off the boat blowing up trains and buses. They’re young men, most of whom were born and all of whom were bred in London, Toronto and other western cities. And offered the nullity of a contemporary multicultural identity they looked elsewhere – and found the jihad. If we try to fight it as isolated outbreaks – a suicide attack here, a beheading there – we will never win. You have to take on the ideology and the networks that sustain it and throttle them. Instead Toronto’s mayor expresses bafflement that young lads should turn to terrorism in a city with “very good social services”. A reader in Quebec, John Gross, emailed me to distill Hizzonner’s approach as: “Don’t get mad, get even… wimpier.”

Well, if the mayor wants to make himself a laughingstock, what’s the harm? Only this – that the more rubbish spouted by officials in the wake of these events, the more the averagely well-informed person will resent the dissembling. In that sense, Mayor Miller, M Portelance, Commissioner Paddick et al are colluding in the delegitimizing of the state’s institutions. That doesn’t seem like a smart move.

One final thought: Miss Phillips is one of Britain’s best-known newspaper columnists. She appears constantly on national TV and radio. No publisher has lost money on her. Yet Londonistan wound up being published first in New York, and its subsequent appearance in Britain is thanks not to Little, Brown (who published her last big book) but to a small independent imprint called Gibson Square.[3] I don’t know Miss Phillips’ agent, but it’s hard not to suspect that glamorous literary London decided it would prefer to keep a safe distance from this incendiary subject.

As I always say, that’s how nations die – not by war or conquest, but by a thousand trivial concessions, until one day you wake up and you don’t need to sign a formal instrument of surrender because you did it piecemeal. How many Muslims in Toronto sympathize with the aims of those arrested last week? Maybe we could use a book on the subject. But which Canadian house would publish it? And would the fainthearts at Indigo-Chapters carry it?

* * *



The west with its insistence on democracy seems to us eminently gharib, foreign, because it is a mirror of what frightens us, the wound that 15 centuries have not succeeded in binding: the fact that personal opinion always brings violence. Under the terror of the sword, political despotism has obliged Muslims to defer discussion about responsibility, freedom to think, and the impossibility of blind obedience.

Islam And Democracy (1992)

In this section we look at the tensions, trivial and profound between Islam and the west, starting with the 2006 Danish cartoons crisis that ensnared my comrade Ezra Levant in the clutches of the “human rights” regime. The decision by a small newspaper in Jutland to print various depictions of Mohammed was whipped up by opportunist imams into a pretext for global rioting – much of it directed not only against Denmark, but against infidels in general. In Lahore, the usual excitable young lads from the religion of pieces destroyed the local McDonald’s. Apparently the lively Pakistanis had burned every single Danish target in the city (one early Victor Borge LP left behind by the last British governor) and had been obliged to diversify. So they dragged Ronald McDonald out of the joint, torched him in the street and danced around his flaming remains shouting “Death to America! Death to Britain! Death to Tony Blair!” Which I don’t even get. I mean, Ronald and Tony seem kind of similar from a distance but even on the all-infidels-look-alike-to-me-especially-when-they’re-alight thesis they’re not that easily confused.

Ezra Levant’s magazine, The Western Standard, argued that you couldn’t cover this story without showing the cartoons. In consequence, it was banned from Canada’s bookstore chains. Paul McNally of McNally Robinson defended his action thus:

We feel there is nothing to gain on the side of freedom of expression and much to lose on the side of hurting feelings.

Not exactly Voltaire, is it? “I disagree strongly with what you say but I will fight to the death for your right to say it as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody’s feelings.” Maybe it could be Canada’s new national motto. What’s clear is that the weak response to each assault on liberty only invites more:


Unfit to print

The Western Standard, March 13th 2006

AS PERICLES told the war-battered Athenians, “To a man of spirit, cowardice and disaster coming together are far more bitter than death striking him unperceived at a time when he is full of courage and animated by the general hope.”

Yes, I know. Bit of a downer for an opening number, but that’s the way I feel. I am by nature a happy warrior, but in this last month I’ve seen way too much cowardice and disaster coming together.

The Danish cartoons story was a test, and the civilized world failed it. Not all of us are in the mood to have tests sprung upon us. We have other plans, we’re washing our hair, whatever. I can understand that as an initial theoretical position – in the way that in the movie the taciturn loner ex-boxer or semi-alcoholic former fastest gun in the west says, “I nearly killed a man back in ’58. I ain’t gonna fight again.” But in the final reel he discovers he has to, whether he wants to or not. That’s the point we reached in the cartoons story.

Many parties have behaved wretchedly in these last few weeks -European Commissioners, the British Foreign Secretary, the US State Department, significant chunks of the incoming Canadian cabinet, the dead-again Christians who lead the United Church of Canada – but the western media have managed to produce a uniquely creepy synthesis of craven capitulation and self-serving pomposity. As the great Australian wag Tim Blair observed:

Journalists can spend entire careers mouthing off about their commitment to free speech without ever having the chance to properly demonstrate it. I once had a theory that the lack of repression in modern democracies drove journalists to invent McCarthyesque threats, so much did they crave an opportunity to stare down those who would silence them.



Burning bridges

Gibson Square Books subsequently agreed to publish The Jewel Of Medina, a novel telling the story of Mohammed’s first wife from her betrothal to the Prophet at the age of six. Envisioned by its author, Sherry Jones, as a “bridge-builder” between Islam and the west, the novel was cancelled by its original publisher, Random House in New York, after they received “cautionary advice not only that the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.” On September 4th 2008, Martin Rynja at Gibson Square stepped into the breach and announced that he would publish The Jewel Of Medina in Britain and the Commonwealth. On September 27th, his home in London was firebombed, and publication was indefinitely postponed.