A review of Londonistan: How Britain is Creating a Terror State Within. By Melanie Phillips.
Gibson Square, 2006.
This is a very important book. It is also a very frightening book. Its thesis is that Britain has largely created a culture which breeds Islamic terrorism. British authorities have certainly done very little to discourage it, and in many ways have actually aided and abetted home-grown terrorism.
Indeed, “London has become the epicentre of Islamic militancy in Europe”. That is, it has “become the major European centre for the promotion, recruitment and financing of Islamic terror and extremism”.
This book examines how and why this has happened. Two broad reasons are given: First, Britain no longer believes in itself, no longer cherishes its founding values, and no longer thinks it has a role to play in the world.
Second, British authorities have seriously misjudged the threat of Islamic terrorism. Therefore Britain is engaged in a policy of denial, appeasement, blaming itself, and hiding its head in the sand. These two major factors have led to London becoming the “hub of European terror networks”.
Says Phillips, “Britain is currently locked into such a spiral of decadence, self-loathing and sentimentality that it is incapable of seeing that it is setting itself up for a cultural immolation.” A nation that helped give the world such values as freedom, democracy and rule of law is now in the process of routing those very values.
In this volume well-documented chapters provide the evidence for this alarming situation. Phillips examines numerous factors that have contributed to the demoralisation of England. Large numbers of Muslim migrants, multiculturalism, rampant anti-Americanism, secularisation, the victim culture, and postcolonial guilt have all led to a loss of national self-belief. The Judeo-Christian heritage has largely been scuttled.
This severely weakened national self-identity has been further encouraged by a decrepit Anglican church, which seems to have lost its theological moorings. Liberal religion is not good at attracting new members, so today more people go to a mosque in London than an Anglican church.
Coupled with this national social suicide is the inability of British authorities to comprehend Islamic extremism, and how it flourishes in such an environment. Even after 9/11, they have largely failed to appreciate the threat that is among them. Indeed, al Qaeda was actually formed as a movement in Britain. Yet the leadership and intelligentsia of the nation refuse to acknowledge that what they are up against is a religious ideology.
The ideology of holy war will not be appeased by turning Muslim immigrants into clients of the welfare state. In spite of tax-payer subsidised housing, health care and other social benefits, Muslim communities in Britain remain enclaves. Assimilation has been eschewed, while the maintenance of a separate identity, culture and lifestyle has been pursued.
British values have been rejected, and many Muslims seek to implement Sharia law across the land. While perhaps most Muslims just want a peaceful life in a peaceful country, Islamists in Britain are quite specific about their goal: turning it into a Muslim nation.
Phillips has very incisive chapters on some of the main culprits: the rights industry, multiculturalism, unchecked anti-Semitism, etc. Consider what she calls the human rights jihad. By denigrating the host nation, and granting every conceivable right to immigrants who often despise the British way of life, the rights ideology has contributed to the hollowing out of British society and has created conditions which breed Islamist extremism.
Commonsense security measure and anti-terrorism laws have been dismantled, weakened, or prevented from proceeding in the name of human rights. In the hope of not offending the Muslim minority, Muslim groups are treated with kid gloves, even as victims, and fear of Islamophobia has become the main obsession amongst Britain’s’ elite.
Phillips documents how the rise of judicial activism and the human rights culture has led to a diminution of British sovereignty, a self-loathing of British values and the collapse of national security. And concepts such as multiculturalism have simply compounded the problems. The reigning British thinking now is that all cultures and values are equal, and any attempt to impose the majority (host) culture and its values on the minorities is inherently ‘racist’.
Assimilation has been renounced as chauvinistic, racist and oppressive. The education system, for example, teaches the value and worth of all non-Western cultures, while the achievements of the West are ignored or ridiculed.
And in the name of diversity and respect for other cultures, the Judeo-Christian heritage of the host culture is being ravaged. Indeed, Christianity is viewed as divisive and exclusive, whereas Islam and other religions are not. And this nicely suits radical Islamists. Since al Qaeda “treats religion with the utmost seriousness, it understands very well the crucial significance of Christianity in the life of the British nation. Dethrone Christianity, and the job of subjugating the West is halfway done.”
This aversion to the host religion is best exemplified by Prince Charles. He goes out of his way to praise Islam as a religion of peace, while simultaneously minimising and denigrating Christianity, the faith he is meant to protect. Indeed, he has said that the King should not be Defender of the Faith (Christianity), but ‘defender of faith’. Interestingly, he has travelled extensively in the Muslim world, but has never once visited Israel.
Anti-Semitism is indeed a big factor in all this, argues Phillips. The British have in the main swallowed the Arab/Muslim propaganda concerning Israel and the Jews. Instead of seeing Israel as the sole democracy in a part of the world filled with dictatorships and oppression, and the front line of defense in the war against the West, Israel is viewed as the great Satan, the cause of the world’s ills.
Instead of rejecting this blatant anti-Semitism, many Britains are actually embracing it.
Taken together, the effect of all this has been to “create a climate in Britain that has alarming echoes of Weimar in the 1930s. There is the same combination of amorality and appeasement, of decadence and denial. The narrative of Islamists who threaten the West has been widely adopted as the default political position.”
At bottom Britain in particular and the West in general are in a war against a fanatical religious ideology. The Islamist terrorists have a non-negotiable agenda: the destruction of Israel, America and the West. Until Britain and the West acknowledge and understand the ideological basis of the terrorism they face, they will never be able to successfully challenge it.
Religious extremism cannot be ignored, denied or appeased. It must be confronted. But an anaemic Britain which has abandoned its heritage and embraced its enemies is in no condition to fight. Fear of Islamophobia and a loss of belief in itself has paralysed Britain, preventing it from taking the sensible and necessary steps to defend itself.
Phillips concludes by offering some practical steps as to how Britain can turn things around. It is a nation at the crossroads. It can learn from its mistakes, regroup, and move on. Or it can continue down the path of appeasement and denial, and simply wither on the vine. A choice must be made, and a book like this helps us all to decide which way we will proceed.
6 Replies to “A review of Londonistan: How Britain is Creating a Terror State Within. By Melanie Phillips.”
Very interesting and thoughful-thank you for sharing. Yes, multi-culturalism is great yet it risky as there is change and acceptance is inevitable-worse case is the people take on a new identity by the influences of whatever (religion, values, etc) and in what is purported above, a people without a grounding in which chaos and destruction have an upper hand on while the people (who won’t acknowledge the way of life is not normal anymore) are eventually overtaken.
A fascinating book and one I’ve been thinking of reading for some time. Multiculturalism and the anti-Semitism we see in this country also need challenging if we are to avoid becomming dhimmis and living in a very different country.
I note with concern the recent media coverage of the Israeli assault on Hezbollah. Most TV media and newspapers, bar a few brave ones, highlighted the plight of the Lebanese but didn’t care much that Israel has had to put up with Arab states and their militant Islamofascists nearby wanting Israel blown off the face of the earth.
It was also good to hear the PM challenge Australian Muslims to accept Australian values and learn the English language. Nothing irks me more than seeing the segregated enclaves of Muslims that appear to be emerging in Western Sydney and the lack of their teachers/imams using the English language instead of Arabic. As Phillips indicates for Britain, we here in Australia need to challenge our thinking and attitude toward Islam so we don’t become Australiastan.
Andrew Dinham, Hope Valley, South Australia
Wow. Reading this review makes me think “that’s Australia”. Perhaps we haven’t quite gone down that path to the degree Britain has I don’t think we are far behind. I am very thankful we have a Prime Minister with enough guts to stand up and actually tell the Islamic community they should assimilate, learn our language and share our values. But of course the Islamic community attacked him for this, accusing him of encouraging another Cronullan riot.
It would be interesting if someone investigated Australia in the same way Philips has I think the results would be just as shocking.
I think the religious, cultural and ethical pluralism that is flowering in Australia is going to lead to some pretty disastrous results.
Damien Spillane, Sydney
I think that while we can celebrate multiculturalism we can also be positive and show the newcomers the way I mean the right way e.g. the law of our country our customs and if they are looking for a new life they will get it if they work hard for it after all they take the first step to a new life when they migrate from their home country.
Its a pity that this is the outcome of failure to assimilate. Many migrant groups are very eager to mix and find that the locals are very resistent. I suppose a smaller group may find it difficult to create a separate society within, I don’t believe vey many would want to. One would notice the conspicuous concentration of West Indian groups urban areas. The fear of isolation was fueled by an altogether hostile reception by the natives. In hindset, ‘hello and how do you do’ may have solved many problems today.
Are there any no-go zones in London for non-Muslims?