Killing the messenger after the London attacks
After last Wednesday’s deadly attack outside London’s Houses of Parliament, the left-wing British media expressed outrage – not at the appalling way in which Islam and Islamic terrorism have transformed life and sown death throughout the Western world, but at the purported moral depravity of those who dare to connect the dots.
In the Guardian, Jon Henley and Amber Jamiesen sneered at Marine Le Pen for “linking the London attack to migrant policy, despite the attacker being British.” (My emphasis.) They smeared as “xenophobic” Nigel Farage’s argument “that the London attacks proved Donald Trump’s hardline immigration and anti-Muslim policies were correct.” The Independent‘s Maya Oppenheimer censured Farage’s comments, too, countering his critique of multiculturalism by saying he’d “failed to mention the fact many of the victims of the attack were in fact foreigners themselves.” (My emphasis again.) Needless to say, the issue wasn’t Britishness vs. foreignness; it was Islam. But to say so was verboten. As Theresa May said (in what already seems destined to become an immortal statement), “Islamist terror” has nothing do with Islam.
Islam is a religion of hate. But when that hate manifests itself in jihadist terror, the proper leftist move is to turn away from the reality of that hate – which last Wednesday sent several innocent people to a hospital or a morgue – to the purported “hate” of decent, law-abiding individuals who have had quite enough of murderous jihadist hate. Instead of acknowledging that a large minority (if not an outright majority) of British Muslims support sharia law in the U.K. (and that more than a few privately applaud terrorism), you’re supposed to invoke the fantasy of a Britain in which all citizens, infidel and Muslim, share the same values and live together in harmony – except, of course, for the horrid Islamophobes, who, simply by mentioning the Islamic roots of Islamic terror, are exploiting terrorism, dishonoring its victims, and subverting social harmony.
And so we had the Guardian editorial on the terrorist attack, which cast the reality-deniers as good guys who believe in “standing together” and the truth-tellers as voices of “cynicism.” While praising MPs for their readiness “to emphasise the need for solidarity,” the editorial deplored Farage and UKIP leader Paul Nuttall, who “renewed their baseless and disgraceful campaign to drive a wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims in Britain.” The paper’s Nesrine Malik agreed. When she first heard of the attack, she wrote, a “familiar knot” appeared in her stomach. Why? Because of the horror of mass slaughter? Because, yet again, innocent people had lost their lives to jihad? No. Because she realized that she’d once again have to brace herself “for a predictable battle to separate fact from hysteria, plead for a sense of proportionality and entreat the hurt and the angry not to generalise.” For Malik, as for her paper’s editors, the real bad guys aren’t the terrorists: they’re people like Tommy Robinson (who “was at the scene stirring hate while the shock was fresh”) and Nigel Farage (who was “spewing predictable bile”).
The “right wing,” charged Malik, had plainly been “waiting in the wings, almost grateful that the imaginary fears it had been trying to provoke had become real ones.” (My emphasis yet again.) Now try to make sense of that: Robinson and Farage are selling “imaginary fears,” but on Wednesday those “imaginary fears” became “real ones.” Never mind that the “fears,” far from being products of anyone’s imagination, are based on a very real experience of terrorist acts in which thousands of very real people have died. “There was no respect for the dead, dying and grieving, there was just an opportunity,” wrote Malik. On the contrary: it’s Malik and her ilk who show less concern for the dead victims of Islamic terrorism than for the reputation of Islam. For Malik, Robinson and Farage are part of a “hate industry” that, she maintained, has grown with each of “the three Islamic terror attacks in London since 2005.” You’d think the fact that London had been subject to three Islamic terror attacks since 2005 would make it clear what the real “hate industry” is.
The same kind of thinking was on display at the Independent, where an outraged Holly Baxter denouncedRobinson for saying that Muslims “are waging war on us,” that they’ve been doing so “for 1,400 years,” and that “Muslims make up only 4 per cent of the UK population, look at the continued chaos and destruction they cause, what do you think it will be like with 20 per cent?” For Baxter, Robinson’s statement was a disgusting display of hate, and proved that “London needs a Muslim mayor now more than ever” – for at a time when ISIS is pushing the idea of a war between Islam and the West, “[t]he existence of a Muslim mayor of London symbolically destroys that narrative from the outset.” No, the existence of a Muslim mayor of London – one who has defended terrorists, shared platforms with radical imams, blamed terrorism on the West, and sought to punish anti-Islam speech – shows just how successful Islam has been in that war.
Critics of Islam, complained Baxter, are “racists” who should “at least have the common decency to admit it’s all a far-right careerist exercise rather than anything to do with ‘protecting the innocent.’” Sunny Hundal made the same argument in another piece for the Independent: “No wonder the far-right was so quick to capitalise on the Westminster terror attack – it relies on atrocities for support.” That “far-right,” he seethed, was like a pack of “jackals circling their prey.” Get that? In this picture, the jackal isn’t the terrorist – it’s the critics of his guiding ideology. Maintaining that Islam’s critics “hate the very idea of cosmopolitan communities” (no, they hate barbarism), Hundal called on Londoners to learn from the spirit of the Battle of Britain: “Keep Calm and Carry on.” But there’s a big difference between now and then. During World War II, Brits named their enemy. Everyone openly recognized Nazism as a monstrous ideology. And the media didn’t respond to German bombings in the East End by slandering Churchill as a “Naziphobe.”