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This is a very important book. It is also a very frightening book. Its thesis is that Britain has largely created a culture which breeds Islamic terrorism. British authorities have certainly done very little to discourage it, and in many ways have actually aided and abetted home-grown terrorism.
Indeed, "London has become the epicentre of Islamic militancy in Europe". That is, it has "become the major European centre for the promotion, recruitment and financing of Islamic terror and extremism".
This book examines how and why this has happened. Two broad reasons are given: First, Britain no longer believes in itself, no longer cherishes its founding values, and no longer thinks it has a role to play in the world.
Second, British authorities have seriously misjudged the threat of Islamic terrorism. Therefore Britain is engaged in a policy of denial, appeasement, blaming itself, and hiding its head in the sand. These two major factors have led to London becoming the "hub of European terror networks".
Says Phillips, "Britain is currently locked into such a spiral of decadence, self-loathing and sentimentality that it is incapable of seeing that it is setting itself up for a cultural immolation." A nation that helped give the world such values as freedom, democracy and rule of law is now in the process of routing those very values.
In this volume well-documented chapters provide the evidence for this alarming situation. Phillips examines numerous factors that have contributed to the demoralisation of England. Large numbers of Muslim migrants, multiculturalism, rampant anti-Americanism, secularisation, the victim culture, and postcolonial guilt have all led to a loss of national self-belief. The Judeo-Christian heritage has largely been scuttled.
Coupled with this national social suicide is the inability of British authorities to comprehend Islamic extremism, and how it flourishes in such an environment. Even after 9/11, they have largely failed to appreciate the threat that is among them. Indeed, al Qaeda was actually formed as a movement in Britain. Yet the leadership and intelligentsia of the nation refuse to acknowledge that what they are up against is a religious ideology.
The ideology of holy war will not be appeased by turning Muslim immigrants into clients of the welfare state. In spite of tax-payer subsidised housing, health care and other social benefits, Muslim communities in Britain remain enclaves. Assimilation has been eschewed, while the maintenance of a separate identity, culture and lifestyle has been pursued.
British values have been rejected, and many Muslims seek to implement Sharia law across the land. While perhaps most Muslims just want a peaceful life in a peaceful country, Islamists in Britain are quite specific about their goal: turning it into a Muslim nation.
Phillips has very incisive chapters on some of the main culprits: the rights industry, multiculturalism, unchecked anti-Semitism, etc. Consider what she calls the human rights jihad. By denigrating the host nation, and granting every conceivable right to immigrants who often despise the British way of life, the rights ideology has contributed to the hollowing out of British society and has created conditions which breed Islamist extremism.
Commonsense security measure and anti-terrorism laws have been dismantled, weakened, or prevented from proceeding in the name of human rights. In the hope of not offending the Muslim minority, Muslim groups are treated with kid gloves, even as victims, and fear of Islamophobia has become the main obsession amongst Britain's' elite.
Phillips documents how the rise of judicial activism and the human rights culture has led to a diminution of British sovereignty, a self-loathing of British values and the collapse of national security. And concepts such as multiculturalism have simply compounded the problems. The reigning British thinking now is that all cultures and values are equal, and any attempt to impose the majority (host) culture and its values on the minorities is inherently `racist'.
Assimilation has been renounced as chauvinistic, racist and oppressive. The education system, for example, teaches the value and worth of all non-Western cultures, while the achievements of the West are ignored or ridiculed.
Anti-Semitism is indeed a big factor in all this, argues Phillips. The British have in the main swallowed the Arab/Muslim propaganda concerning Israel and the Jews. Instead of seeing Israel as the sole democracy in a part of the world filled with dictatorships and oppression, and the front line of defense in the war against the West, Israel is viewed as the enemy, the cause of the world's ills.
Taken together, the effect of all this has been to "create a climate in Britain that has alarming echoes of Weimar in the 1930s. There is the same combination of amorality and appeasement, of decadence and denial."
At bottom Britain in particular and the West in general are in a war against a fanatical religious ideology. The Islamist terrorists have a non-negotiable agenda: the destruction of Israel, America and the West. Until Britain and the West acknowledge and understand the ideological basis of the terrorism they face, they will never be able to successfully challenge it.
Religious extremism cannot be ignored, denied or appeased. It must be confronted. But an anaemic Britain which has abandoned it heritage and embraced its enemies is in no condition to fight. Fear of Islamophobia and a loss of belief in itself has paralysed Britain, preventing it from taking the sensible and necessary steps to defend itself.
Phillips concludes by offering some practical steps as to how Britain can turn things around. It is a nation at the crossroads. It can learn from its mistakes, regroup, and move on. Or is can continue down the past of appeasement and denial, and simply wither on the vine. A choice must be made, and a book like this helps us all to decide which way we will proceed.