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By Melanie Phillips
Melanie Phillips's aptly titled Londonistan is a sobering analysis of the penetration of Islamic fundamentalism into British public life. It is the most important study published to date exposing the looming disaster which faces Britain (and most European countries) if the prevailing policies of appeasing Islamic extremism are not reversed.
Awarded the George Orwell prize in journalism in 1996, Phillips writes a regular hard hitting column in the London Daily Mail on political and social issues. In her new book, she maintains that the concept of multiculturalism, which liberals and most western Jews have vigorously supported over the years, has served as a Trojan horse enabling Islamic fundamentalists to establish a prime international hub for the recruitment, promotion and financing of global terror in London, the cradle of Western democracy.
She describes in graphic detail how, with the benign tolerance of British intelligence and the police, liberal immigration laws were exploited to enable some of the most radical agents of international terrorist organizations to find safe havens, create networks and even achieve respectability within British society.
The book provides dramatic descriptions of the disarray, decadence and lack of moral fiber as the governing class, bureaucracy and even the Church of England prostrated themselves at the feet of Islamic extremists. Phillips quotes chapter and verse of the cowardly responses to outrageous demands of the jihadists and their supporters by politicians, including a number of Parliamentarians. Several even became cheerleaders for suicide bombers in a desperate effort to curry votes from a growing Muslim constituency.
There are today two million Muslims in Britain and there is a shrinking minority of Britons courageous enough to publicly oppose terrorism. Even their efforts are being undermined by authorities who display deference to groups like the Muslim Council of Britain, who make outlandish threats, indulge in intimidating behavior and even identify with suicide bombers.
The chapter covering the groveling behavior of the Church of England displays how the combined impact of appeasement to Muslim extremists and the increasing acceptance of post-modernism have undermined British national identity and encouraged the Church to retreat from its Judeo-Christian traditions. These trends are intensified by the increasing acceptance of Christian replacement theology and the repeated application of crude double standards against Israel, which frequently assume anti-Semitic overtones.
The chilling chapter dealing with the burgeoning growth of aggressive anti- Semitism suggests that Anglo Jewry is en route to being relegated to pariah status. The radical right and extreme left are now converging with Islamic extremists towards generating an accelerating climate of hatred against Jews. They continuously relate to global Jewish conspiracies and repeatedly challenge Israel's right to exist. The renewed efforts by branches of the National Association of British teachers to carry resolutions boycotting Israeli lecturers and academic institutions exemplify the extremes to which anti-Israeli initiatives are being taken.
It is, of course, also bizarre to observe leftists proudly marching under a common anti-Israeli platform purportedly based on human rights, side by side with Jihadists who deny female equality, preach death to gays, promote censorship and endorse suicide bombing against innocent civilians.
British Jews, many of whom still remain in a state of denial and minimize the extent of the anti-Semitic avalanche surrounding them, should read Londonistan. It will demonstrate to them that while dialogue with Muslims is undoubtedly a worthy objective, the present climate will make it difficult to reign in the excesses of extremists.
The London daily The Independent on May 10 reported that over 700 supporters of al-Qaida are currently living in Britain. A few days later the British Home Secretary John Reid confirmed in Parliament that London's July 7, 2005 suicide bombers who killed 52 innocent civilians were home grown terrorists motivated by a desire to achieve martyrdom. But even after the London bombings, hate-mongering from radical Islamic imams and lay leaders continues unabated.
Today there are obvious parallels to the policies of appeasement which dominated the European scene in the 1930s prior to the advent of Churchill. However, the danger now emanates from within.
Londonistan is thus a last minute wake up call for the British to act now before it is too late. As in the past, the instinctive response from Islamic radicals and their apologists will be to demonize Melanie Phillips as an Islamophobe. But if the leaders of the nation who forged the foundations of Western democracy remain unwilling to defend their way of life, one truly has cause to be concerned for the long term survival of Western civilization.
The writer chairs the Diaspora-Israel relations committee of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.