“Atheists don’t fly planes into buildings” – it was a point delivered with all the certainty of a man who feels he has just delivered a killer blow to his opponent who was in this case, yours truly. His ‘point’ repeated thousands of times on atheist and secularist websites and social media (from whence he had gathered this bon mot) was greeted with rapturous applause by those who shared his faith. The response?
‘Neither do Presbyterians…nor Baptists…nor Catholics…nor Anglicans….not even Charismatics….and in fact neither do the majority of Muslims”. But for the simplistic worldview of the Atheist Fundamentalist this point is missed. In their world they put together two and two and make 25. This is how they work:
- All religions are essentially the same.
- All religions should be treated the same.
- The people who flew the planes into the twin towers were Muslims.
- Muslims are religious.
- Religious makes or inspires people to fly into buildings or be suicide bombers.
- Therefore we have to be suspicious about all religions and sideline them out of public life. All religions must be treated as potential threats.
But there is another kind of simplicism that works another way.
- All religions are essentially about peace, love and understanding.
- Islam is a religion of peace – is that not after all what it means? (this is one of the half truths that our rulers are desperate to believe – Islam means submission. Peace is only possible for those who submit to Allah)
- The vast majority of Muslims are peaceful.
- Therefore those who claim to kill in the name of Islam, shouting ‘Allah is great’ are not in fact real Muslims.
- Anyone who makes any connection between Islam and terrorism is Islamaphobic.
It appears to me that the liberal elites whether of the Left or Right in our culture seem to hold both these irrational views at the same time. It’s why its as sure as night follows day that whenever there is an Islamist terror attack, within hours you will get senior politicians pointing out that this was nothing to do with Islam. It’s why Douglas Murray gets banned from the media, universities and any establishment where the Establishment are afraid of his views. And its why in our third part of the review of his book we now turn to look at Islam –
There is no doubt that The Strange Death of Europe sees Islam as the primary threat facing Western Civilisation today. This may be wrong – it may be exaggerated – and it may be driven by an irrational fear and ignorance of what Islam really is. But it cannot just be dismissed because we don’t like it – and it doesn’t suit our paradigm that either all religions are equally good, or all are equally bad. It seems to me that there are those who are so obsessed with hating the Christian background of their own culture that they are willing to ignore or distort the teachings of Islam – solely as a means to attack their real hatred. Or perhaps even worse – there are those who have such a hatred for the Jews that they are willing to excuse and even endorse the ideology that wants to wipe them out. What does Murray argue about Islam?
Islam is Great – Christianity is the real Problem
Firstly he points out that the liberal elites are so determined to show that their belief that Islam is compatible with Western civilization that they will do their utmost to promote what amounts to a re-writing of history and a distortion as serious as those who want to portray all Islam as barbaric. And they combine this understanding of Muslims as the new oppressed people (and themselves of course as the Social Justice Warriors/Saviours of the Oppressed) with their hatred of their own Christian traditions, by building up the former and demeaning the latter.
“An exhibition called 1001 Islamic inventions toured London science Museum among others, insisting that almost everything in Western civilisation had in fact originated in the Islamic world “page 106
I noticed this in a small way at the Edinburgh book festival. In the small religious section the majority of books were about Islam – and in particular trying to show how Islam was compatible with being British. Our liberals clearly believe that they have the power to liberalise Islam – and in their ignorance of history they just assume that all religions have the same basic history. What starts out in violence and darkness will soon be enlightened by the Enlightenment. But what if their history is as fanciful as their philosophy and understanding of human psychology? Why should government policy be based on their delusions?
Questioning Islam is Verboten.
Murray points out that whenever anyone tries to question Islam they are immediately attacked as Islamaphobic. For example Pim Fortuyn was a Marxist University Prof, a gay man and a high profile advocate of promiscuity and almost every other libertarian attitude. Only when he got onto the subject of Islam did he become right-wing! He was assassinated.
“Politicians, academics, journalists and others had learnt the tough lesson that criticising Islam, in the manner in which Dutch society was able to criticise every other religion, was at the very least something that changed your life and was also – unless you have police protection – likely to be deadly. The country that in the past had fostered religious doubt and produce rationalist thinkers like Spinoza, was now very anxious on the subject of religion” page 139
In fact such is the fear of Islam, or of being accused of being Islamaphobic that our liberal elites are even prepared to change our whole culture for the sake of accommodating their fears.
“In September 2015 officials in Bavaria began to warn local parents to ensure their daughters did not wear any revealing clothing in public. ‘Revealing tops and blouses, shirts and shorts or mini skirts could lead to misunderstandings’, one letter to locals warned. In some Bavarian towns, including Mering, police warned parents not to allow their children to go outside alone. Local women were advised not to walk to the railway station unaccompanied.” Page 196
Even worse than that officials and politicians are sometimes too scared to face up to the implications of what is going on. The Rotherham case is the worst example we have of this. Over 1500 girls were abused because they were white girls and their abusers considered themselves to be immune of prosecution because of the authorities fear of being accused of being Islamaphobic and racist.
“This habit of attacking the secondary symptoms of the problem rather than the primary problem has many causes. Not the least of them is that it is infinitely easier to criticise generally white skinned people, especially if they are working class, than is to criticise generally darker skinned people whatever their background. And not only is it easier, but it elevates the critic. Any criticism of Islamism or mass immigration – even criticism of terrorism and rape attacks – can be seized upon by anyone else as a demonstration of racism, xenophobia or bigotry. The accusation, however untrue, can come from anywhere and can always carry some moral taint. By contrast, anybody who criticises someone as a racist or a Nazi is somehow elevated to the position of judge and jury as an antiracist and anti-Nazi. Different standards of evidence also apply.” Page 241
How did we get to the stage where criticizing a particular religion is now considered to be racist? What kind of ignorance is that that assumes that all Pakistanis are Muslim (tell that to the two million plus Pakistani Christians) or that all white people are Christian? To conflate race and religion is the mistake not only of the theocrat but also apparently the Western liberal.
In a free society Douglas Murray and others should be free to criticize Islam, Christianity or any religion, without being subject to abuse, banning and threats of litigation. Freedom of religion is the foundation for freedom of speech and thought. When European governments and elites deny their Christian heritage and forget their past we end up with a society where critiquing the Koran will be seen as equivalent to supporting the KKK. Secular Liberalism cannot help itself. It so believes itself to be ‘god’ that anyone who goes against its doctrines will be banned – in this respect questioning Islam is on a par with questioning Same Sex Marriage which itself is seen as being on a par with racism, genocide etc. The white Middle-Class guilt complex leads us down some very strange paths! One of which is that there will shortly come a time when my even writing an article like this could be considered a ‘hate crime’.
Anti-Semitism is on the Rise in Europe largely because of the growth of Islam
“In 2003 report into anti-Semitism by the European monitoring Centre was quietly shelved when it found that the upsurge in anti-Semitic activity in Europe was caused by a rise in attacks on Jews by young Muslims. “Page 142
“It found that despite increased security measures at synagogues across the continent, 70% of European Jews said they would avoid attending synagogue. In 2016 fear of anti-Semitism and terror attacks would keep the majority of the continent’s Jews away from practising their faith.” Page 289
Murray is correct in saying that our media, political and academic establishments just don’t want to admit the connection. But it is something that is real. It’s not just in Charlottesville that people have marched with Swastikas demanding the death of the Jews.
Murray pointed out in an article in The Spectator that the “popular al-Jazeera star and leading cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi when he said:
‘Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hands of the believers.’
Yet the British media and political class seem far more obsessed with condemning the few right wing fascists in Charlottesville, than they are in condemning those who hate the Jews in our own country and our own political movements.
It is disingenuous and demonstrably false to say that this has nothing to do with Islam. A number of years ago I was talking with a liberal Imam’s daughter who would have described herself as a Western Liberal Muslim. I suggested to her that we go to the cinema and watch Schindler’s List. Her response? “No, I couldn’t go and see that. Its Jewish propaganda. The Holocaust probably didn’t happen – but even if it did, the Jews probably deserved it”. This from a liberal!
It is State Doctrine that Islam has nothing to do with Terrorism.
“When in 2007 two car bombs were left in London by a Muslim doctor in the NHS and a Muslim PhD student, the new Labour Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, said that it would be wrong to describe such attacks as Islamic terrorism because these terrorists were in fact behaving contrary to their faith. Henceforth, she said, it would be more appropriate to describe such events as anti-Islamic activity. “Page 153
It’s the arrogance and ignorance of some of our leading politicians that astounds me. Firstly how dare they pronounce themselves as Islamic theologians and dare to tell Muslims what is ‘real Islam’ or not?! Secondly why are they so ignorant? They fail to grasp one of the most essential differences between Christianity and Islam is that Islam is a political system as well as a faith. That is not the extreme fringe – that is of its essence. This does not mean that all Muslims are terrorists – such an argument would be demonstrably false and ignorant. As false and ignorant as the argument that Islam has nothing to do with Islamist terrorism. Nor does it mean that we are to regard our Muslim neighbours as the enemy infiltrating our society – life is much more complex than that. However we can love the people without loving the ideology.
Where are we heading?
We need to do some careful thinking here. There is such a thing as Islamaphobia – ‘the irrational fear of Islam and Muslims’. And yes it can sometimes be tied with both racism and a cultural superiority – in much the same way that Dawkins and co can sneer at African Christians because they regard them to be less advanced and rational. No Christian should be an Islamaphobe and no Christian should see their Muslim neighbours as anything less than themselves – human beings made in the image of God – part of that world which God so loved that he sent his only begotten Son. Our hearts should be filled with love for our Muslim brothers and sisters not fear for ourselves.
But love does not mean blindness. We need to be aware of what we are walking into. The de-christianisation of Europe and the possible Islamisation of the continent will not be good for anyone – Christian, Muslim or atheist. Murray’s perspective as a gay atheist is correct.
“Mohammed is now the most popular boy’s name in England and Wales. The official line is so what, Britain will still remain Britain when most of the men are called Mohammed rather than Harry or Dafydd. “
`’By 2015 there were more British Muslims fighting for ISIS than for the British armed forces. ‘`P313
The official line, usually said by those who live in their gated communities, is that there is no reason to worry because Muslims are only 4.4% of the population. They think that what is needed for the UK to become a Muslim country is a Muslim population of 51%. They do not grasp that the tipping point is probably around 10%. Why? Because most Islamic communities combine religion, politics, family and community in a way which makes them strong and coherent. Let me put it another way – if 10% of the population of Scotland were strong biblical Christians who followed Christ through this Word our country would be completely turned upside down. It is the same with Islam. Although I would argue that the consequences for the wider society of a strong Islam are much more dangerous.
Next week we will turn to another reason why Murray considers that is so important – the weakness of the West morally, spiritually and intellectually.
But let me leave you with a couple of thoughts.
“Not only has Saudi Arabia not made one Syrian into a Saudi citizen, it has also refused to allow the use of 100,000 air-conditioned tents there are erected for only five days a year by pilgrims and the Hajj. At the height of the 2015 crisis the single offer the Saudis did make as to build 200 new mosques in Germany for the benefit of the country’s new arrivals” page 316
One of the admirable things about Muslims is that they are not ashamed to propagate and stand up for their faith. For those who think that all religion is essentially irrational or cultural and essentially a private thing, they cannot grasp the significance of this. It is outwith their comprehension and therefore outwith their ability to deal with. John Knox once said about Queen Mary – ‘I fear the saying of Mass more than I fear 10,000 French soldiers’. That statement is also incomprehensible to the point of nonsensical to the modern Western mind but, irrespective of the truth of the details, it declares an important truth. Ideas matter – and in the war of ideas – the consistent and coherent ideology of Islam is currently running rings round the confused, emotive and irrational Godless ideology of our Western elites.
Lastly from a Christian perspective I return to the question of what the Lord of history is doing in permitting this ‘death of Europe’. It could be that it is a judgment – after all Turkey was once the stronghold of Christianity, then North Africa – and look where the church is now in those countries. Southern Africa, China and South America will probably be the growth areas for the church in the 21st Century.
But Europe can still be resurrected. This week I was speaking to a pastor who was telling me that his church now has some 150 Muslims from the Middle East who have become Christians. Maybe the Lord is sending us all these Muslims so that the Church here can communicate the love of Christ, not the fear of Mohammed. The question is – are we up to the task? Maybe we should begin by loving our Muslim neighbours enough to want to communicate the Good News of Christ to them?