Here’s Briton Melanie Phillips speaking about Muslims in Britain, and also finding excessive fault with multiculturalism (~15:00 min):
Phillips wrote a book called Londonistan, and perhaps she’s the British equivalent of a neo-conservative, having been ‘mugged by reality’ to some extent, for which she draws special ire from her former fellow travelers. As a columnist who started out for the British Left-Of-Center Guardian, and moved to the Daily Mail, Phillips targets that unholy marriage of Islamism and multiculturalism.
In the case of Britain, civil society has managed to create a space which shelters a number of Muslism immigrants operating outside of British law, sometimes bringing tribal customs and Sharia courts with them. Obviously, this is a problem.
Islamism and Islam, for Phillips, are two different creatures. There are Muslims who subscribe to the faith, and emigrate from their home countries. They come to the West for economic opportunity, political stability and all the other reasons people immigrate to the West. In the case of America, for example, they are particularly free to practice their religion, and perhaps have their religion insulted by South Park or the likes of Terry Jones.
Islamists, on the other hand, are a different matter. They range from the radicalizing Tsarnaevs, to Al Qaeda, to Anwar al-Awlaki and the Muslim Brotherhood. They subscribe to a form of Islamic ideology that sees itself in a global struggle against the encroachment of outside ideas, particularly the freedoms, culture, and influence of the West at the moment. Islamists are reactionary, ideological, and often advocate violence. They have serious issues with modernity, demanding and seeking solidarity and soldiers for the front lines against all enemies. Islamists seek to re-establish the kinds of laws and society that would enforce strict and impossibly ideal and narrow Islamic codes. This form of Islamic idealism has many wings and various sympathizers. It’s the kind of idealism we’re battling both abroad and on our soil, sometimes effectively, sometimes not very effectively at all. Some Islamists have even imported Western fascistic and socialist ideology and fused them with their own Islamism. A toxic brew.
Islamism is a major force throughout the Middle East and Muslim world right now, and at the very least, perhaps we can recognize that the Islamists mean harm to other Muslims as well.
So, how does Phillips think Britain should handle Muslim immigration? By highlighting terms which Britons should be quite clear about: There are laws to follow, forms of government to understand, a language to master and traditions which they might one day be expected to defend. This means locking horns with the multicultural Left.
The West is not merely a stop on the global benefits welfare chain. We’re not necessarily here to offer asylum or student visas to those who don’t particularly care to be here, nor those Islamists who travel from mosque to mosque, calling for jihad. Of course this is closer to the melting-pot approach that was once dominant in the U.S., which has since been on a slow decline due to the rise of multiculturalism here as well. I doubt this is a coincidence.
I’d add that America is obviously more than just a well-educated university faculty, or the talking heads on T.V. There are many other ideals, beliefs and virtues besides those like the new atheism, environmentalism, feminism and multiculturalism etc. Such secular ‘-isms’ tend to have universal aspirations, and many of their followers believe in these ideals with a kind of secular faith, rallying around these ideas and often presuming them to be universally true. As in Europe, universities and the media are natural draws for people who want to pursue such idealism, eventually influencing the culture and politics.
If Britain can show us anything, it’s that allowing the secular ‘-isms’ to be the highest things around, right alongside Muslim immigration and Islamism, is asking for serious trouble.
Now, I don’t think Phillips has everything right (nor obviously do I have everything right, for that matter) but her voice, like that of Christopher Hitchens, and Lars Hedegaard, are interesting voices of dissent tracing paths out of the Marxist, socialist and multiculturalist European Left. They have important truths to tell us.
Sayyid Qutb isn’t a bad place to start to understand a little more, I’ve been told.
Michael Totten’s various interviews over the years with the Muslim Brotherhood are not inspiring. They’re Islamist lite, perhaps, and not likely the kinds of people we can do much business with.
A great piece here: Lawrence Wright At The New Yorker: ‘The Man Behind Bin Laden’
Also, check out that sophisticated link between the Brotherhood, Muslim world and multiculturalist Europe, Tariq Ramadan. He sure knows how to speak the language:
***Inevitably, criticism comes from the Left that highlights Phillips’ Jewishness. “She’s a shill for Israel” etc. Well, there you go. Anti-American, anti-semitic victimhood is all the rage in many quarters in Europe these days. Where’s that getting them?
Ever closer to the ideals which they hold aloft, and which move forever out of view.
Related On This Site: Why Lars Hedegaard Still Matters…Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’…Morality away from a transcendent God, but back toward Hume through the cognitive sciences?: Franz De Waal At The NY Times 10/17/10: ‘Morals Without God?’
People think I’m crazy, but NPR is the manifestation and mainstreaming of 60’s idealism. This idealism will always need money, and gravitates towards the public purse. Foundations which served other ideals naturally attract idealists. A Few Thoughts On NPR And Current Liberal Establishment Thinking Under Obama…
You know it’s getting bad when even a former NPR exec says it’s getting out of hand: Jack Shakely At The Los Angeles Review Of Books Reviews Ken Stern’s ‘With Charity For All’
Theodore Dalrymple argues that France has the potential to handle Muslim immigration better because of its ideological rigidity, which can better meet the ideological rigidity of its Muslim immigrants…Theodore Dalrymple Still Attacking Multi-Culturalism In Britain
How do you reasonably deal with relativism anyways?: From Virtual Philosophy: A Brief Interview With Simon Blackburn