(photo credit: Christine Darg)
Islamic extremism poses the greatest threat to the Western World, and endangers the very essence of democracy, a British baroness said Tuesday.
"The threat of a militant and totalitarian form of Islam poses the greatest threat to our cultures today, and Israel is standing at the front-lines of this struggle against militant Islam which would destroy the values of our societies," Baroness Caroline Cox said in an address at the House of Lords.
Cox, an outspoken supporter of Israel, was speaking in the Moses Room at the conclusion of the Jerusalem Summit Europe, which held its first meeting in London this week. Hundreds of evangelical Christians attended the summit, which was coordinated with the Knesset's Christian Allies Caucus.
The erudite baroness of Queensbury, who, together with John Marks, wrote The West, Islam and Islamism: Is ideological Islam compatible with liberal democracy?, told The Jerusalem Post that a recent public opinion poll reporting that 40 percent of Muslims youths in the UK wanted to live under Islamic law was indicative of a growing state of malaise that threatened to destroy Britain's society and core values.
"The sad thing is that growing in our midst there is a significant portion of youth who seem to believe in values that are absolutely antithetical to the spiritual, political and cultural values on which this nation has been based over the centuries," Cox said.
"Given their continuous embrace and manifest endorsement of terror activities, this represents not only a political threat but a physical threat which demonstrates their ruthlessness in their commitment to do everything they can to take over our society and to destroy our faith and freedom."
The meeting at the House of Lords, which was attended by several fellow peers and MPs as well as the chairman of the Christian Allies Caucus, MK Benny Elon (National Union-National Religious Party) and British Jewish and Evangelical leaders, included a slide show presentation of Palestinian media clips demonizing Israel and praising "martyrdom" presented by the head of Palestinian Media Watch, Itamar Marcus.
"Violent Islam is clearly the greatest problem mankind is facing today," said Lord Malcolm Pearson, a prominent Euro-skeptic who was presented with the Jerusalem Summit's' third Henry "Scoop" Jackson award by the Russian tycoon Michael Cherney, who has helped fund the summits, for his fight against the Soviet Communist regime.
"The dark shadow of the collective human spirit has moved from Soviet Communism to violent Islamism," Pearson said.
Christian and Jewish leaders at the meeting agreed the attitude of Muslim youth in the UK, as reflected in the poll, was indicative of a general problem in a politically-correct, complacent society that was guided by short-term political interest.
"It is a shame that one-third of our young people do not feel as strongly the need to uphold Christian laws that are the backbone of this nation," said Pamela Thomas, the national director of Bridges for Peace UK, an evangelical organization.
"The poll did not surprise us at all because of the education in the Madrasa system in the UK," said Andrew Balcombe, the chairman of the Zionist Federation of the UK and Ireland, referring to Islamic religious schools. "There is gender and creed apartheid which causes considerable political and social problems."
The speakers said the threat posed by Islamic extremism exceeded the menace of Soviet Communism, and was reminiscent of the threat of Nazi Germany during the period of appeasement.
"We feel ourselves living in the 1930s all over again," Cox said.