Even on Fox News they still refer to ‘radical Islamists’, presumably to distinguish them from the overwhelmingly vast multitude of moderate Muslims who mind their own business as they go about practicing their religion of peace. They got one thing right. They certainly mind their own business. There is nothing to see here as the hands and heads come off and the bombs go off; nothing to do with us.
What really impresses me is the inoffensive, head-scarfed, top-to-toe covered, Muslim lady who regularly fronts the cameras to explain how moderate and peaceful she and her community are. I assume she is sped from place to place in a very fast jet. Of course, maybe there is more than one of them? I can’t tell. What I suspect is that she (or they) will be beaming and cheering when the Islamic flag is raised aloft over some Western European parliament building.
OK, where is this going? Let me explain by way of analogy.
When Liverpool Football Club brought home the first of its European Cups in 1977 half of the city was out on the streets to welcome the returning heroes. It is likely the overwhelming majority of those cheering and clapping had never been to a match. And of those who attended matches perhaps only a quarter were fanatical.
Half-a-million people were on the streets. Only two per cent were fanatics; the other 98 per cent were moderates. They were all cheering. The representatives of their tribe had tasted victory. It was a heady brew.
Who are these sporting fanatics and what drives them? ‘I don’t know’ is my answer, but what is abundantly clear is that they wear their fanaticism like a badge of honour. It distinguishes them from the crowd. And the crowd acknowledges their commitment. They are congratulated personally by their workmates and friends when their team wins.
They simply couldn’t be fanatics without the tacit approval and acknowledgement of the much greater number of the non-fanatical. The head couldn’t live without the body. How do I know all of this? I was a fanatic in my youthful days, suffering serious funk when Liverpool lost and exhilaration when they won.
We have to start coming to terms with the painful fact that extremism does not exist in a vacuum. Rabble-rousers are successful only when there are sufficient numbers willing to be roused. Even then a mob will quickly run out of steam if people are booing and/or making fun on the sidelines. That is why Sir Oswald Mosley flunked in England while Herr Hitler swept all before him in Germany.
Islam is the problem not radical Islam because radical Islam would have no legs but for the tacit underpinning it gets and/or believes that it gets from the hearts and minds of millions of ordinary people who would describe themselves as moderate Muslims; and who, in fact, are moderate. There is no deception going on just a complete lack of appreciation of their part in the unfolding conflict.
Our Western modern way of life depends absolutely on the separation of church from state. Laws can then be made by man without deference to religious writings. For example, we can make it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of gender or sexual orientation whatever passages found in the Bible may say. However, if the very basis of a faith is that there is no separation of church from state, that God’s law as written in a particular text must prevail, we have a problem.
This problem will not go away by pretending it doesn’t exist. It might not exist if a billion-and-more people did not go around identifying themselves as Muslims, albeit peaceful ones. But they do. I am a Christian. But I am more likely to define myself as a Liverpool supporter or as a conservative. And, in any event, Christ told me to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s.
Tony Blair doesn’t think the problem exists. Yes, he recently argued that Western leaders should prioritise combating radical Islam; which, however, he also said, “warps Islam’s true message”. I wonder what message that is exactly, and why so many imams haven’t caught on to it. They must be reading a different Koran and Hadith to Blair’s copies.
What is to be done? I think the only thing to be done is to recognise that we are in something akin to a hundred years’ war for our cultural survival. It is not a war to defeat Al-Qaeda or the mullahs in Iran on the battlefield. It is a long drawn out conflict between quite different ideologies.
I don’t know how it should be fought, but I suggest that whether Obama bombs ISIS forces is neither here nor there. Cut off a head and another will grow. Victory is by no means assured, particularly as no-one appears to be willing to face up to the threat among the mainstream political class and the Christian churches have turned into appeasing milksops.