On Monday evening, at 10:33PM a suicide bomber attacked the crowded foyer of the Manchester Arena. The Arena was packed with thousands of young women and girls, along with their parents, all there to watch the US pop-star Ariana Grande perform. Just as the concert came to a close and parents were streaming into the foyer to collect their children, just as young women and girls were making for the exits, a suicide bomber, fuelled by a hateful ideology, detonated a homemade bomb packed with ball-bearings and screws concealed in the rucksack he carried. As the smoke cleared, twenty-two people lay dead and fifty-nine were injured. The police and emergency services were soon at the scene, tending to the wounded and beginning their initial investigations into what people had reported as ‘a massive bang’. The internet, especially Twitter, flooded with information, some false, some true; before news stations caught on and began breaking the news to the nation. Almost immediately, thoughts turned to Islamic terrorists – but understandably no-one dared jump to conclusions in a fluid situation.
As the method of attack became clearer, the motives and origin of the attacker became easier to gauge, after all, there is really only one form of terrorism in which the attackers are prepared to accept death as an unavoidable element of their assault – the sort where you’re promised a coterie of pliable virgins and a river of honey in heaven if you’re ever so brave enough to brutally murder defenceless women and children. The sort that proclaims a martyrdom of the attacker and not the victims, in that satanic inversion of values that comes with all poisonous ideologies.
As soon as the nature of the attack was known, statements came from the police and from political leaders, forming part of the endless politically correct display which has accompanied every terrorist attack in the UK and Europe for the last fifteen years. Within hours of the attack, before even so much as a whimper of anti-Islamic sentiment surfaced in the wider public, the defensive manoeuvres had begun. This operation, let us call it ‘Operation Pacify the Public’, began with the police and political top-brass. There were calls for ‘unity’ and warnings against ‘hate crimes’, of ‘Manchester standing together’ of ‘coming together in the face of terror’ – if this had been the first attack, such banalities wouldn’t have rung quite so hollow. But on your umpteenth helping of platitudinous sentimentality you begin to hunger for something a little more sustaining, you begin to wonder just what exactly is there to be done about this recurring nightmare. Read without context, such statements from our leaders might appear to be an admirable stoicism but in light of the facts, these words are nothing more than verbal pacifiers. In fact, the appeals for calm and disclaimers of ‘#notallmuslims’ or ‘this isn’t about Islam’ were so voluble (when compared to any nascent signs of a backlash) that one begins to wonder just who our leaders worry about more – the public or the terrorists themselves.
Do our leaders worry about the fact that we are slowly realising the extent of their inaction on problems of integration and radicalisation? Or that we might wake up to the negative sides to their self-indulgent immigration policies, their unwillingness to defend their own culture? Their fawning worship at the shrine of ‘tolerance’ and ‘multiculturalism’, which they put above the health of their society and the lives of their citizens? It is very telling that the only solution to this problem that our leaders could suggest is purely procedural, more police on the streets, raise the threat level and – oh the irony! – deploy members of the armed forces at key points. So, firstly they assure us that we will not be cowed by the activity of terrorists, that life will go on as normal, and then they suspend campaigning in the general election and deploy troops on the streets. To an extent, the calls to ‘carry on as normal’ are correct; indeed, what else could one do? But our leaders are required to be more reflective and more active, they must actually do something about this problem. Border controls must be tightened, those foreign jihadists present on British soil must be deported to their countries of origin. Those terrorists on watch lists must be imprisoned. Harsh things must be said and done in the defence of the community – a town centre civil rights-style love-in with an impromptu poetry slam isn’t going to cut it. No amount of vigils and candle-lighting is going to solve our deep societal problems.
Europe, and the West more generally, is facing two existential threats. Firstly, there is a crisis of self-confidence and belief which has its roots in the abandonment of the Christian faith and the opprobrium heaped on Western cultures by Marxist post-colonial theorists in the aftermath of the fall of the European empires. Secondly, there is the rise of Islam in Europe, both as a demographic force and in its violent interpretation by Wahhabi Salafists and others. Let us be clear, this is not at all to say that ‘all Muslims are terrorists’ – there are 1.6 billion Muslims of various different sects, some more or less fundamentalist. That being said, is it entirely unfair to say that Islam, the religion itself has no relationship to the crimes committed in its name? Like all faiths and ideologies, like all human passions and modes of life, Islam is open to violent interpretations. Is it more amenable to violent interpretations than other faiths? Well, even a passing familiarity with the history of the rise of Islam would answer in the affirmative. Muhammed and his successors didn’t conquer half the world by organising ecumenical cake sales. The Eastern Roman Empire and the Sassanids, after a long struggle with one another, collapsed under the pressure of the invading Islamic armies. All the Christian provinces of North Africa and the Middle East were swept away and the Muslim invasion of Europe began, firstly with raids on Italy and the Balkans and then with the conquest of Spain and the attempted invasion of France. Even after the Crusades, the Islamic attempts to conquer Europe didn’t completely cease until the failed siege of Vienna in 1683 and the 15-year long ‘Great Turkish War’ which ended in defeat for the Ottoman Empire – to put that in context, the English Civil War had ended over thirty years before. Only the Europeans have forgotten this portion of their history, but it is well-remembered amongst our friends in ISIS, for example. Indeed, their statement on the Manchester attack is telling:
“With Allah’s grace and support, a soldier of the Khilafah [Caliphate] managed to place explosive devices in the midst of the gatherings of the Crusaders in the British city of Manchester, in revenge for Allah‘s religion, in an endeavour to terrorise the mushrikin [polytheists], and in response to their transgressions against the lands of the Muslims. The explosive devices were detonated in the shameless concert arena, resulting in 30 Crusaders being killed and 70 others being wounded. And what comes next will be more severe on the worshippers of the Cross and their allies, by Allah’s permission. And all praise is due to Allah, Lord of the creation.”
Certain Surah (verses) of the Qur’an and the hadith seem peculiarly well adapted to violence – they not only relate historical events, as violent stories in the Bible do, but they also mandate the reproduction of this violence. To fundamentalist Muslims, these verses are not just historical narratives, they are instructions. And Islam is an entirely fideistic faith – there is no place for philosophy or reason in the Qur’an, since the book itself is believed by Muslims to be the Word of God and a purely divine revelation. Since Islam (especially Sunni Islam) also has no central authority, no religious institutions as such, and no widely respected hierarchy, interpretation is all-important.
But these things have become unsayable in the West. Islam is guaranteed a kind of protection not given to other faiths, even mild critiques of certain tenets of that faith are labelled as ‘Islamaphobic’ – an entirely meaningless buzzword. For fear of being named as bigots, we have been forced to say that the violent terrorist attacks which have plagued Europe and the West for the past fifteen years have nothing to do with Islam. Even more; our leaders themselves have, on numerous occasions, named Islam as the ‘Religion of Peace’ which all amounts to very good PR for the world’s fastest-growing religion but it is hardly grounded in any serious study of the faith at all.
So, again we have suffered a massacre to occur on our soil and against our people and what are we to do? Nothing. We must shut up and carry on as if nothing whatsoever had occurred. At the same time, we must deploy soldiers on our streets – the very soldiers our government has done its best to get rid of. And most of all, we Must. Not. Mention. Islam.
To put it bluntly, we’re in the middle of a religious war which we don’t want to fight and daren’t see. Our bewildered leaders don’t have a clue what’s going on and they can’t bear to re-evaluate their liberal values in the light of new information. The peoples of Europe, indoctrinated from birth into hating their own heritage are ripe for conquest. As ex-Christian countries, we are being targeted by Muslim fundamentalists fighting to establish a ‘World Ummah’ and destroy the ‘infidels’. Hiding behind displays of pure sentimentality and mantras of ‘unity’ and ‘tolerance’ we hope to outlast our enemy’s hatred. We paint this as some sort of strength, as if inaction were the same as stoic restraint but it’s time to realise that refusing to face your problems is not courageous, it’s just cowardly. The more our leaders try to silence dissent against their own anti-Western agenda, the more violent the inevitable reaction will be. Something must be done before reciprocal violence replaces necessary dialogue and a society-wide discussion on the place of Islam in the West. It’s time we understood that the refusal to fight great evil is the participation in that evil, that pacifism is not just a shield for the morally upright but a mask for the cowardly, that hollow words don’t constitute noble aims and that most importantly, it’s time for this silent cowardice to end.