My favorite headline of the year so far comes from The Daily Mail in
Her Majesty's Government is not alone in feeling it's not always helpful to link Islam and the, ah, various unpleasantnesses with suicide bombers and whatnot. Even in his cowboy Crusader heyday, President Bush liked to cool down the crowd with a lot of religion-of-peace stuff. But the British have now decided that kind of mealy-mouthed "respect" is no longer sufficient. So, henceforth, any terrorism perpetrated by persons of an Islamic persuasion will be designated "anti-Islamic activity."
Well, yes, one sort of sees what she means. Killing thousands of people in
Still, it should add a certain surreal quality to BBC news bulletins: "The Prime Minister today condemned the latest anti-Islamic activity as he picked through the rubble of
A few days ago, a pre-trial hearing in an
"Allahu Akbar," responds young Ahmed. God is great.
How "anti-Islamic" an activity is that? Certainly, not all Muslims want to fly planes into the Pentagon. But those that do do it in the name of their faith. And anyone minded to engage in an "anti-Islamic activity" will find quite a lot of support from leading Islamic scholars. Take, for example, the "moderate" imam Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who once observed that "we will conquer Europe, we will conquer
What could be more moderate than that? No wonder Mr al-Qaradawi is an associate of the Islamic Society of Boston, currently building the largest mosque in the north-east, and also a pal of the present Mayor of London. The impeccably moderate mullah was invited to address a British conference sponsored by the police and the Department of Work and Pensions on "Our Children, Our Future." And, when it comes to the children, Imam Qaradawi certainly has their future all mapped out. "Israelis might have nuclear bombs," he said, "but we have the children bomb and these human bombs must continue until liberation." As Maurice Chevalier used to say, thank heaven for little girls, they blow up in the most delightful way. The British Home Secretary would respond that not all moderate imams are as gung-ho to detonate moppets. Which is true. But, by insisting on re-labeling terrorism committed by Muslims in the name of Islam as "anti-Islamic activity," Her Majesty's Government is engaging not merely in Orwellian Newspeak but in self-defeating Orwellian Newspeak. The broader message it sends is that ours is a weak culture so unconfident and insecure that if you bomb us and kill us our first urge is to find a way to flatter and apologize to you.
Here's another news item out of Britain this week: A new version of The Three Little Pigs was turned down for some "excellence in education" award on the grounds that "the use of pigs raises cultural issues" and, as a result, the judges "had concerns for the Asian community" — ie, Muslims. Non-Muslim Asians — Hindus and Buddhists — have no "concerns" about anthropomorphized pigs.
This is now a recurring theme in British life. A while back, it was a local government council telling workers not to have knick-knacks on their desks representing Winnie-the-Pooh's porcine sidekick, Piglet. As Martin Niemöller famously said, first they came for Piglet and I did not speak out because I was not a Disney character and, if I was, I'm more of an Eeyore. So then they came for the Three Little Pigs, and Babe, and by the time I realized my country had turned into a 24/7 Looney Tunes it was too late, because there was no Porky Pig to stammer "Th-th-th-that's all, folks!" and bring the nightmare to an end.
Just for the record, it's true that Muslims, like Jews, are not partial to bacon and sausages. But the Koran has nothing to say about cartoon pigs. Likewise, it is silent on the matter of whether one can name a teddy bear after Mohammed. What all these stories have in common is the excessive deference to Islam. If the Three Little Pigs are verboten when Muslims do not yet comprise ten per cent of the British population, what else will be on the blacklist by the time they're, say, 20 per cent?
A couple of days later,
You remember the Three Little Pigs? One builds a house of straw, and another of sticks, and both get blown down by the Big Bad Wolf. Western civilization is a mighty house of bricks, but who needs a Big Bad Wolf when the pig's so eager to demolish it himself?
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Steyn on Britain and Europe.
Posted by Harry at 11:00 AM