World leaders will today wear their best grave faces and pronounce their most solemn sympathies. There will be a chorus of condemnation with a recapitulation of our common humanity. Paris is in mourning, the world is in shock, and the Prime minister will chair a meeting of COBRA. They will say that these weren’t Muslims, but terrorists. And they will preach that terrorism has no religion, because religion, true religion, is about wonder, love and dews of peace.
“They are cutting us all down, one by one,” tweeted eyewitness and victim Benjamin Cazenoves. The enemy is not banging at the gate: we have welcomed him in through the front door, and gifted him free board and lodging. He repays us with horror, terror, death and destruction. We can’t say we weren’t warned. “Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future,” said Emil Nona, Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, exiled in Erbil. “Please, try to understand us,” he pleaded. “Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here. You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles. You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.”
Our freedoms are being eroded, our values confounded, our civilisation defeated. Killing the Islamists one by one will not end the carnage: they want to die; they are eager for death. We must tackle Islamism at its theo-political, socio-ideological, spiritual-inspirational source. But that requires some unpalatable truths to be told by a few prophets, and we don’t like to listen to prophets because they tell unpalatable truths. Far easier to listen to the grave-faced politicians intoning their most solemn sympathies, and finding comfort in the Prime Minister’s chairing of COBRA.
10 years ago, in the wake of the 7/7 London bombings, when Boris Johnson was not a frivolous politician but a serious journalist, he wrote a piece for the Spectator entitled ‘Just don’t call it war‘. “It is time,” the sub-editor summarised, “to reassert British values in the face of extremist Islam”. But Boris Johnson went much further than that. Consider:
..we are novices not just at dealing with suicide bombers, but with suicide bombers as British as the fish-and-chip shops in which they grew up. They were born in our NHS, these killers. They were coddled by our welfare state, they were fed on our butties and our Spangles, they played cricket on our glum and bemerded streets. They were washed by the rains and blessed by the suns of home.
..The threat from Islamicist nutters preceded 9/11; they bombed the Paris Métro in the 1990s; and it is evident that the threat to British lives pre-dates the Iraq war, when you think that roughly the same number of Britons died in the World Trade Center as died in last week’s bombings.
..You can’t claim to be draining the swamp in the Middle East when the mosquitoes are breeding quite happily in Yorkshire.
..We — non-Muslims — cannot solve the problem; we cannot brainwash them out of their fundamentalist beliefs. The Islamicists last week horribly and irrefutably asserted the supreme importance of that faith, overriding all worldly considerations, and it will take a huge effort of courage and skill to win round the many thousands of British Muslims who are in a similar state of alienation, and to make them see that their faith must be compatible with British values and with loyalty to Britain. That means disposing of the first taboo, and accepting that the problem is Islam. Islam is the problem.
..To any non-Muslim reader of the Koran, Islamophobia — fear of Islam — seems a natural reaction, and, indeed, exactly what that text is intended to provoke. Judged purely on its scripture — to say nothing of what is preached in the mosques — it is the most viciously sectarian of all religions in its heartlessness towards unbelievers.
..The trouble with this disgusting arrogance and condescension is that it is widely supported in Koranic texts, and we look in vain for the enlightened Islamic teachers and preachers who will begin the process of reform. What is going on in these mosques and madrasas? When is someone going to get 18th century on Islam’s mediaeval ass?
The problem is Islam? Islam is the problem? He wouldn’t say that now, of course: the sophist-politician has triumphed over the journalist-prophet. But he was right then, and his clear-cut words are written down for posterity; words which, were he to write them today, would surely get him suspended from the back benches, deselected from the Approved List of Candidates or sacked from the Cabinet, were he to be in it. The Twitter storm would be intolerable: appalling racism, islamophobia, cultural ignorance, religious bigotry..
Politicians don’t want to know about sectarian strains of Salifism or wings of Wahhabism. They don’t want to delve into quranic scholarship or debate the historical legitimacy of the Hadith. They don’t grasp the Islamic theology of aberrational innovation versus the ‘pure’ Islam of their prophet Mohammed and his companions. And so, for want of speakers of truth about the nature of Islam and the inspiration of the jihadi mindset, we must go on enduring carnage, death and terror. They will continue cutting us down, one by one, until we are led by religiously-literate and spiritually-quickened politicians who will confront the historical, theological and intellectual inspiration of this evil ideology, instead of just waiting to intone another chorus of grave-faced sympathies when the Paris attacks are reenacted on the streets of London, as they surely one day will be.