Monday, February 06, 2006

Self-loathing, Confidence & Cultural Power

The editors of UK’s Telegraph acknowledge the sad truth about the current state of British and Western cultural self-esteem in the wake of Muslim protests in London over the Danish cartoons. These protests included:

A two-year-old girl born in this country is dressed up in an "I Heart Al-Qaida " cap. Demonstrators call for "a real holocaust", with the horrible insinuation of holocaust-deniers everywhere: that the genocide never took place, but that it should have done.

The Telegraph notes, incredulously, that the only people arrested by London’s Metropolitan Police were "not Islamist protesters, you understand, two counter-demonstrators who were apparently provoking trouble by carrying images of Mohammed." The passive reaction of the London police to open calls for violence and mayhem on the part of Muslim protestors leaves the Telegraph’s editors wondering why? Why is Muslim incitement to violence tolerated, when non-Muslim Britons have been arrest and charged for so much less? The editors begin to sense the answer.

Asked why it had not arrested any of the demonstrators, the Met refused to answer - or, to be precise, it said "the decision to arrest at a public order event must be viewed in the context of the overall policing plan and the environment the officers are operating in". Might there be a connection between this cowardice and the contempt some Muslims feel for us? Is it not at least possible that the self-loathing they encounter, from the moment they go to school, turns some boys from Tipton and Wanstead and Beeston against their country?

After all, the question of whether it is possible to be a good British Muslim is not a new one. Hundreds of millions of Muslims lived peacefully under the British Crown, in India, Sudan, Malaya and elsewhere. They saw no conflict between their faith and their civic loyalty, fighting for Britain even when we went to war against the Ottoman Caliph. The difference is that, in those days, we had confidence in ourselves, and conveyed this confidence to others.

Compare that attitude with the apologies we heard yesterday from the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, the former Met chief Lord Stevens and others, all of whom seemed to be more upset about the depiction of the Prophet in Jyllands-Posten than about the fact that a tiny minority in this country seems bent on the murder of the rest of us.

If there is any silver lining to the Danish cartoon controversy, it will be to underscore the emerging realization in Europe that Islam is alien and antagonistic to core Western values, and to wake Europeans to the dangers of Muslim immigration. Possibly, too, it will encourage Europeans to re-examine the poison of self-loathing they have allowed others to incite within their own cultures and finally reject it. It won’t happen quickly, but if the editors of the left-ish Telegraph can see it, perhaps there is some small reason to hope.

Hat tip: Andrew Stuttaford, in the National Review Online.


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