December 18, 2003


The tide is turning and we are unprepared (Kevin Myers, 14/12/2003, Daily Telegraph)

The local council in High Wycombe has banned an advertisement on a library notice-board for a carol service in the neighbouring All Saints church, on the grounds that Buckinghamshire now has "a multi-faith community and passions could be inflamed by religious issues". In France, a government committee has advocated the banning of Muslim headscarves in schools.

Each affair confirms that something irreversible has occurred in Europe: Islam has taken root in what for the best part of 1,500 years was the evangelical heart and administrative home of Christianity.

The British response has been the typified by the Buckinghamshire approach, which is to make the majority conform with rules which in practice had been devised to deal specifically with a minority. The French attitude is characteristically centrist, and one which would have been recognised by the Sun King or by Napoleon: government by edict. [...]

The worst consequence of Enoch Powell's "rivers of blood" speech was that it prevented all reasoned debate about immigration. Anyone who questioned immigration was promptly locked up in an intellectual box called "racism", to be reviled, mocked and ignored. Immigration thus became a standard feature of British and European life, and within my lifetime, millions and millions of non-Christian Asians and Africans poured into the traditionally white, Christian cities of a dozen countries.

Islam is much like Christianity: its spectrum is very broad, and many forms of it encourage moderation and toleration. But there are extremes which have no parallel in Christianity, nor even in communism or Nazism: the suicide bomber who believes that paradise awaits those who die in the act of the killing the infidel is a creature for whom the European mind, and European institutions have been wholly unprepared. And at a less extreme level, though the experience of communism has prepared them intellectually for the idea of national disloyalty, Europeans are hopelessly ill-equipped to deal with an abiding mass loyalty to foreign entities by their fellow citizens.

It's not like they can say they haven't been warned.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 18, 2003 8:24 PM

Well, they shouldn't have to, but if you don't have an assimilationist policy, you can't be surprised not to get assimilation.

Have you read David Lodge's "Nice Work"?

Posted by: Harry Eagar at December 19, 2003 12:39 AM

Have it. Haven't read it yet. I like his stuff very much though--further proof, as if any was necessary, that all humor is conservative.

Posted by: oj at December 19, 2003 12:46 AM

Granted the challenge of Islam in Europe is very different than in North America, but I am more than a little suspicious of the implication that Moslems were behind the banning of the choir notice or would have been insulted by it. The far left in Britain controls a lot of municipal governments and Christianity is an easy target these days.

Posted by: Peter B at December 19, 2003 5:09 AM


No, the Moslem community said banning the choir notice was absurd. It was the deracinated Brits who did it.

Posted by: OJ at December 19, 2003 8:16 AM

I asked about "Nice Work" because it has some thoughtful stuff about the social outlook of Islamic immigrant workers in Britain.

No wonder you like his work. All you heterodox Christians stick together, don't you?

Posted by: Harry Eagar at December 19, 2003 3:46 PM