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muslimIt takes all sorts to make a world and all shades of opinion to make a good discussion or even a good argument. There is, however, as Chesterton reminds us, a world of difference between an argument and a quarrel. The former is animated by charity and a genuine desire to arrive at the truth; the latter is animated by animus and an apparent desire to allow one’s irritation with an opponent to get the better of one. I am mindful of this crucial difference as I prepare to respond to Mr. Masty’s recent riposte to my earlier piece, “The Arabic Writing on the Wall.”

There is no doubt that Mr. Masty finds my articles irritating, as his response to my recent pieces on distributism and modern art make apparent. In order to avoid the possibility of our differences descending to the lamentable level of the quarrel I do not intend to respond directly to Mr. Masty’s article, except to say that there is much in it with which I agree and some aspects of his criticism that I accept.

The aspect of my own article which I most regret is its shrillness and its tendency to over-simplify the problem of Islamic immigration to Europe. During the recent World Cup the English expatriates with whom I gathered to watch my country’s deplorable performances in the competition included many Englishmen of Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi descent. I do not know whether they were raised as Muslims or Sikhs or Hindus because it did not seem polite to ask. I do suspect, however, that most of them were now practicing no religion, unless we choose to raise secular relativism to the level of religious faith. The sad fact is that to assimilate into English culture means to abandon the faith of one’s fathers for the faithlessness of secularism, in which all that really matters is panem et circenses, which in English terms means beer and football.

Is football better than faith? Should we rejoice whenever a Muslim abandons his faith and raises a glass to Mammon and Manchester United? Such questions represent part of the conundrum at the very heart of multiculturalism. Do we genuinely respect the minority cultures and religions in our midst and actively encourage their flourishing or do we expect minorities to adopt and adapt to the culture that is hosting them? This was addressed with characteristic adroitness by Chesterton when he discussed “the great American experiment” of multiculturalism, “the experiment of a democracy of diverse races which has been compared to a melting-pot.” Chesterton asserted that the experiment required a strong sense of national identity, which was the unifying force that allowed the many races to meld into the one nation. The metaphor of the melting pot “implies that the pot itself is of a certain shape and a certain substance; a pretty solid substance. The melting-pot must not melt.”[1] The paradox to which Chesterton points is that the very diversity necessitates unity. The pot must be solid enough and strong enough to withstand the heat caused by the multicultural experiment. If the pot melts, America, as we know it, or England and Europe, as we know them, will cease to exist.

But what if the experiment causes such an ethnophobic reaction that the pot will melt unless it is made of totalitarium, that most terrible of modern metals? If the melting-pot is reforged in this particularly mean and Machiavellian metal the land of the free soon becomes the home of the slave. Take, for instance, Britain’s Race Relations Act, which makes it a serious offense, punishable with imprisonment, to publish material considered likely to incite racial hatred. Is such a law necessary in a multicultural society? Perhaps it is. But a society in which free speech is circumscribed in this way has become less free than it was before such an act was passed into law. And once the precedent of creating “hate crimes” has thus been established it is a short step, already taken in many European countries, to make it illegal to call homosexual practices a sin. And so we can see how, via a circuitous but seemingly inexorable route, “hate crimes” against ethnic groups have led to Christian clergyman being arrested for preaching and teaching traditional sexual morality.

Similarly the efforts in parts of Europe to eradicate radical Islam by forcing Muslims to adopt western dress and abandon the burqa is not only an infringement of the religious liberties of Muslims but threatens the religious liberties of Christians also. In order to seem non-discriminatory, the banning of the burqa is usually accompanied by the banning of the wearing of crosses or crucifixes in public places. It is in this context that the violence and hatred reigning in many multicultural societies pose a real threat to freedom because, as Oscar Wilde reminds us, anarchy is freedom’s own Judas.

And yet is all such talk merely alarmist scaremongering? Are things really as bad as all that in England and elsewhere?

Mr. Masty appears to think that such talk is indeed alarmist and he cites statistics to imply that everything is fine in England and that the vast majority of Muslims in the United Kingdom are proud to be British. This may or may not be so. I do not know. I do, however, share Mark Twain’s healthy skepticism about statistics even though I must confess, rather shamefully, that I sometimes stoop to using them in order to buttress my own arguments.

enoch powellI would agree with Mr. Masty that the most extreme predictions about multicultural meltdown, such as that predicted by Enoch Powell in his famous or infamous “Rivers of Blood” speech in 1968, given incidentally and ironically on Hitler’s birthday (April 20), have not materialized. And yet few in 1968 could have predicted, even in their most lurid dreams, the extent to which the multiculturalist dream has turned into an ethnophobic nightmare.

Even as I write, England is being rocked by news of the horrific and systematic sexual abuse of at least 1,400 children by racist Muslim gangs in just one city in Yorkshire. I use the word “racist” advisedly because these Muslim gangs targeted white girls for their attacks and abused their victims racially (e.g., “white bitch”) as they abused them sexually. The abuse, including numerous gang rapes of children and teenage girls, was ignored by the local council in Rotherham because it was thought that tackling the problem would harm “community cohesion”. Incidentally the same council had earlier removed children from the care of foster parents whose “crime” was their political support for the UK Independence Party, on the presumption that anyone who voted for the ethnocentric UKIP was ipso facto incapable of raising children in the appropriate multiculturally “correct” fashion. The local police in Rotherham, in the interest of “community relations”, acted against some of the men who attempted to rescue their abducted daughters from the Muslim gangs, rather than acting against the abusers. Here is a slice of the reporting of this multicultural horror story from the UK’s Daily Telegraph, published on September 3:

In Rotherham … the hundreds of young girls horrifically abused by Pakistani perpetrators had so little faith in the police and social services that many of the victims and their families did not even bother to report grooming and rape. So disempowered were the communities who suffered that they assumed, with ample cause, the authorities would be heedless of their plight and blind to children’s pain. Labour’s suspension yesterday of four councillors and its intention (as yet unannounced) to abolish all police commissioners will not compensate for the evil consequences of a total severance of trust.

In a very different illustration of the curse of disempowerment, young British men, many of them university-educated, have turned to jihadism for reasons that politicians cannot fathom. While there are no excuses for those who torture and kill, it is safe to assume that only the deeply estranged would choose such a pathological route to asserting their own power.

It would of course be wrong, indeed scandalous, to tar all Muslims with the same brush. Any vaguely civilized person of whatever religious faith would be horrified and sickened by this racist manifestation of sexual abuse or by the acts of terrorism carried out by fanatical Islamists in the Middle East. Yet it simply will not do to ignore the ugly reality in the interests of papering over the cracks in England’s collapsing multicultural society.

51u07yai+ILThe Telegraph’s reference to university-educated British Muslims, “deeply estranged” from the indigenous culture and turning to Islamic fundamentalism, reminds me of a real-life incident which it saddened me deeply to recall in my autobiography, Race with the Devil. I spoke of a friend of mine in high school, a child of Pakistani immigrants, who appeared to be thoroughly integrated into the niceties of British culture, manifest in my memory by his predilection for pornographic magazines. About thirty years later, I met him again. We were now middle-aged men but the shared memories of our teenage friendship fused a brief renewal of the old bond between us. At this point, however, the conversation took a bizarre and unsettlingly surreal turn. My friend espoused to me his anti-Zionism and his hatred of Israel. He had become a radical Islamist. Here is how I deal with this alarming metamorphosis in Race with the Devil:

This conversion of my old friend from adolescent hedonism to Islamic radicalism has caused a good deal of soul searching on my part. It shows the radicalizing of the Muslim community in the past thirty years and the consequent balkanization of British culture into warring sub-cultures. This is tragic. But is it more tragic than the triumph of hedonism? Would my Pakistani friend be happier, or a better person, if he had spent a life of self-gratification, addicted to the demands of his lower passions? Is pornography, prostitution and abortion a better and more liberating option than Islam? Should I be sad for my friend that he has become so embittered, or pleased that he has rejected the meretricious zeitgeist? In an ideal world I would have liked to have discussed religion and not politics with him. I would have liked to have discussed my conversion to Catholicism and to have asked him to explain his path from hedonism to religious conversion. Unfortunately we do not live in an ideal world and I suspect that such a discussion would have led to us departing in enmity not in friendship.[2]

In much the same manner, I desire to end this tempered response to Mr. Masty in friendship and not in enmity. For me, and in spite of the less than temperate tone of my earlier piece, the worship of Mohammed is certainly no worse than the worship of Mammon. Islamic fundamentalism is evil but so is secular fundamentalism, the latter of which in its Nazi, Marxist and abortionist manifestations has killed far more people than Islam. I am tempted indeed to end with the plaintive cry of Shakespeare’s Mercutio that a plague be on both their houses. Instead I would like to conclude with a kiss and not a curse. I speak of the kiss of peace that can only come from the Heart of Christ and from those who carry His Heart in theirs. I wish peace to Mr. Masty and peace to all Muslims; the peace that comes from Jesus and not from jihad.

Books on the topic of this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore

Editor’s Note: Comments on this essay have been closed.

Notes:

1. G. K. Chesterton, Collected Works, Volume XXI, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990, p. 42

2. Joseph Pearce, Race with the Devil: My Journey from Racial Hatred to Rational Love, Charlotte, North Carolina, 2013, pp. 51-2

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15 replies to this post
  1. May I go one step further than this thoughtful piece does: the way to allow all religions to live in peace is not to declare them all equal, but to re-establish Catholicism as our national European religion, and to allow it to set the standard of morality and behavior in our world, practicing tolerance but not religious freedom (religious whoredom) as in days before the protestant rebellion and as in Catholic states. In that way, Islam will not be faced with fighting secularism by killing Christians, the present position. Christians presently defend the wasteland of secularism and fight their otherwise natural allies in the struggle against pornography, perversion, and perhaps even more destructive, indifference.

    This is the conclusion Mr. Pearce could take, one which would lead to his martyrdom, and mine, but which is nevertheless consistent. Along the way he would denounce Vatican II, the source of the Church’s deep sleep.

    It should not be necessary for Muslims to embrace Islam to escape from moral despair, but that is where we are presently driving them, as this piece points out. We must become more religious,not less.

  2. Mr Pearce, I praised your article on Distributism here, the best I’ve read, and nearly herniated myself unable to resist lugging just one more big book home from York, your biography of Chesterton. So I am a fan, not an adversary, and your recent piece more than compensates for its perhaps hasty predecessor.

    The bigger culprit in Rotherham is, of course, so-called multiculturalism (really a form of bullied cowardice) that deterred even the police. Friends in Pakistani, educated by nuns and proud of it, remain devout Muslims and wholly civilised in two cultures. My British Muslim friends must be aghast at officials ignoring disgusting crimes because the perpetrators were Muslim or South Asian. Apart from Rotherham radicalised Sunni Islam, a persisting 18th C Wahabbite heresy now spreading, is a problem of global proportions. There are many remedies, but the best inoculation may be strengthening our cultural immune systems, chiefly in Christianity.

    • It is myopic and even a bizarre anachronism to blame any current Islamic violence on Sunni vs. Shia or Wahabbite vs. “orthodox” Islam, sir. Even our current white-washed history books, the Qur’an and Hadith, and the slightest contact with reality in the Middle Eastern countries demonstrate that peace within Islam or with Islam is always short-lived. I think Mr. Robert Spencer shows the reasons for this most clearly and with the most intimate knowledge of Muslim sources and of Arabic, but nearly any history book will do.

      Let us not imagine that Rotherham will be an isolated incident: such has never been the case – anywhere – in civilisation’s battle with Islamic destruction in the name of power for despotic rule.

      Sir, if you praised Mr. Pearce’s book on Chesterton, heed too Chesterton’s words about the wisdom of the ancients, the democracy of the dead – an easy-to-verify pun in our current situation.

    • Mr Masty, I am so pleased (and relieved!) that we have attained a degree of understanding. You have an all too rare and balanced perspective on the thorny subject of Islam. I am grateful for it.

  3. Might I interest anyone but especially the author of this post in a related piece on my blog, Rome Promotes Vatican II, Islam Shoots Back. I believe you can merely google it, so I won’t put a link.

  4. Just a quick note:

    While I agree (again) with Mr. Pearce, I should note that the French ban on the Burqua and the principle of Laicite in France are not bad things.

    Different nations deal with the same problem in different ways. In Poland, because she has maintained her Catholic identity, it is enough that Catholic principle is the source of law to guarantee a freedom that is not rooted in relativism. In France, where there were religious wars between Christians, the principle of laicite was introduced into the Republic in order to save her from division amongst Frenchmen and Christians. In Britain, where similar wars existed, the principles of liberalism developed to serve an equal function.

    Yet these solutions only work if they are applied to the cultures from whence they spring.

    Thus you see how British liberalism, in a multicultural society, becomes suicidal – because suddenly it is not about allowing for different interpretations of Scripture – it is about allowing people who cultivate canibalism in your midst and who kill your men, women and children on your streets.

    Thus you see how in France, when lacite was transformed by the left into an ideology of relativism (which it never was), it has become used by Islamists in France to declare “if everything is relative – then let us establish Sharia”. Lacite, like all of the principles of the French Republic are not relative: they are a secularization of the highest forms of Christian political philosophy and will not work in a non-Christian, non-French culture. The French (like the Poles) believe in the equality and dignity of women – and in French and Polish culture, women were always treated as equals (women could vote in Poland before they could vote in many other European countries).

    The French are not going to stand for women parading around with their faces covered because some non-French people think this is how to treat women who live in France. It is rude, it goes against all of the high principles of European and French civilization. It is fine and well in a different cultural context – but not in France and should not be tolerated.

    Poland, because it is homogenous and Catholic, and because our minority are the Vietnamese, who are the noblest and most ingenious people on Earth, and who have a knack for assimilation and – having a complex language of their own, learn Polish quite well – is safe from all of this strange madness.

    The West is going to have to start deporting people and start basing admission on culture, skin color, religion, language and other criteria as well as developing a grand general policy for ensuring the perpetuation of Western Culture.

    Please beleive me: The Arab, African and Latin American states from whence the waves of immigrants originate cannot be treated as perpetual children: they must take responsibility for their people; not dump them in the West.

    If this is politically correct to say – than Western Europe and America are lost – because it is the truth, and there is no other path of free your nation that truth.

    I am not holding my breath for the West to wisen up any time soon – although God willing, France will. France (sorry to the Anglophiles here) is actually capable, I think, of surprising Europe a bit more – they are a romantic people, like Poles, and I think they have it in them to regain their Republic. Where there is will – there will be effect!

  5. “…England is being rocked by news of the horrific and systematic sexual abuse of at least 1,400 children by racist Muslim gangs in just one city in Yorkshire. I use the word “racist” advisedly because these Muslim gangs targeted white girls for their attacks and abused their victims racially (e.g., “white bitch”) as they abused them sexually.”

    “The abuse, including numerous gang rapes of children and teenage girls, was ignored by the local council in Rotherham because it was thought that tackling the problem would harm “community cohesion”.

    Just this news alone should wake everyone up in England. I’m more and more stunned by the apparent fog (no pun intended) that the “jolly old chaps” seem to be wrapped in, these days.

    • The thing of it is, Ginnyleave, is what is meant by ‘wake up England.’ Does anyone have a plan? In the absence of a good plan, may I say, things almost always go to hell in a hurry? You will not like fascism. So we’d better have a plan whose unintentional consequences we have tried to unravel first. It’s complicated. There is a ‘good extremist Muslim,’ the one put forward in a post by Joseph Pearce on Multiculturalism, the Pakistani man who had given up his addictions to sexual perversions but only through his sincere practice of Islam, so that his desire to protect others from falling into the same sins of the secular state by fighting for an Islamic religious state is neither ignoble nor even unwise, I believe was Mr. Pearce’s point, one with which I concur.

      I do not want to dismiss the moral code of the Muslim in its entirety. I do not think I can, as a Catholic. As a traditional Catholic, I am fighting against the established Catholic Church for giving up at Vatican II the principle of a Catholic’s right to a Catholic state wherever Catholics are in the majority. That is because a disconnect between a nation’s moral code and a nation’s institutions is completely unsustainable, and aren’t we confirming that every single day now? I do not agree with the economic principles of the advanced capitalism under which we suffer, so close to slavery I find it hard to understand that others do not so easily catch the stench. I would not mind if Muslims forbade the lending at interest, and there’s a whole lot of other economic practices I’d like to see not take a foothold in their lands–since those same practices have decimated our own.

      So when I wake up and take on the fight against Islam–against what am I fighting? The beheadings? Or the principle that people have a right, and a deepest need, that the things they hold holy may not be trampled by a secular and vicious and ignorant state. Am I fighting that? Cause that’s the flag I’ll be fighting under when I enlist, the flag where money and influence can do absolutely anything, there are no more restrictions. And I don’t like that flag. I don’t like that United States, and I wouldn’t like that England.

      So it seems to me that to wake up right, I need my Church to take an independent position here, that Islam has a right to its state wherever they are in the majority just like we do, and that we support them in their fight against sexual immorality and economic depredation, we support them in their fight against blasphemy (which of course we do not–Benedict explicitly renounced Pakistan’s ‘extremism’ that God should not be mocked).

      To do that, I believe we would have to change the whole landscape of our Church. In order to take such a position, which is nothing more than the traditional position of the Church regarding the principle of the religious state (not necessarily applied to Islam, I must admit–but it wasn’t necessary then, their states were as Islamic as our states were Catholic, it was taken for granted they had a ‘right’ to it–secularism hadn’t even been invented yet!), the Church has to repudiate (“clarify”) Vatican II. Not possible otherwise–everything Benedict and now Francis are doing to solidify the alliance between the secular state and the Church reincarnated as a museum is pure Vatican II and pure evil.

  6. Seems to me that Britain and the US have always been multicultural societies, these are not new problems.

    Previously it was various Protestant sects against other sects, against Catholics. And English against ‘Germans’ (the Amish in farming America), and every nation ethnic against all the others.

    How many ethnic groups made up England in the time of the Romans, 1066, …? or 1400? Not a new problem.

    And we will get over those problems just as we always have : we agree to ignore each other’s sins-in-our-terms, they ignore our sins-in-their-terms. And mix in the same markets, buy and sell between us all, our children marry theirs.

    The nation-state has nearly had its day, a proper anarchism will allow any of us to follow any law we wish, Do damage to me, and the case is tried in my courts. Easy.

    • Nah, some of their sins really are sins, it is not relative, and I don’t want my children to marry theirs because these marriages cannot last, not being based on a requisite spiritual common language.
      Communities seem to thrive in conditions where people share values, and I believe art thrives under the restrictions of a cultural legacy, too. If the Church would agree to resume Her necessary role in society, then multiculturalism under that mantle might be possible. I say might.

  7. At one point in the fifteen years of activity by these Asian lads, they decided to prey upon Sikh girls. The fathers of these girls found the perpetrators and killed them, in full knowledge that the police were of little use. Sikh girls became off-limits to the gangs. Sometimes intolerance can be a good thing. It’s a very hard world out there.

  8. Mr. Lew,

    Regarding your anarchist-libertarian view of how differences between cultures work themselves out within the community, Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban said (my translation):

    If we talk about the relation between two individuals, the liberal organization of society is based on the idea that an individual has the right to do everything that does not interfere with the freedom of the other individual. This is an ideological principle and the point of reference upon which the Hungarian world was based for 20 years until our election in 2010, and it was an idea rooted in Western European standards. However – it took us 20 years, here in Hungary, to identify the problem with this liberal idea: and it is a very attractive idea, this liberal idea, but the problem is: who sets those limits? Who decides when one individual has “interfered” with the other and exceeded the bounds of individual freedom?

     

    In the liberal system, it is not automatically evident who decides about where one individual’s freedom ends and another’s begins. Since liberalism does not elect anyone to decide this, then what we have experienced in the last 20 years, in everyday life, is that the Stronger party decides what the limits to freedom are. We have constantly been witness to the sight of how the Strong trample upon the Weak. Conflicts about the limits of individual freedom are not, in practice, decided on the basis of some abstract idea of justice. In practice – the Stronger party makes Justice. The stronger party is your richer neighbor who decides where he will park his car, the bank decides what the interst rate for your mortgage will be – and the bank will change this interest rate in the middle of your life if it needs to. I could give many more examples of this. There is a long list of examples when the individual and the family which is economically weaker, and thus has a weaker defense mechanism available, has regularly experienced limits to their freedom on the part of the Stronger party over these past 20 years.

     

    In response to these problems, we suggest – we are trying to build a Hungarian nation-state on a different idea – we do not believe that society should be built on this liberal idea. We cannot legislate this; but we are talking about a certain point of reference. Hungarian society cannot be based on the idea that the individual can do whatever he wishes so long as he does not intrude upon the freedom of another individual – Hungary must be built on a different idea: Do Unto Others as You Would Have them Do unto You. This is the principle upon which we strive to build our Hungarian nation-state.

    I say:

    When the Islamic population of England and France reaches political maturity, it will become the Stronger Power. It will then decide what the limits to individual freedom are, and those limits will be alien to Western culture and oppressive to European sensibilities.

    The limits to freedom in Islam (and Judaism) are radically different from those expressed in the Christian idea because as Pope Benedict XVI said, the Christ is not on equal terms with the pantheon of the greek gods and just as the God of Abraham had the ppwer to raise His temple in Israel, so too He had the power to tear it down.

    The Christian European concept of man is unique and deserces to be nurtured in Europe and America. Let others nurture their cultures in their lands.

    Tolerance and respect, being a good neighbor, does not mean letting your guests run your house.

  9. Ms. Baker. Vatican II does not actually renounce the confessor state, “Dignitas Humanae” specifically states that its teaching “leaves in tact the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral obligation of individuals and societies towards the true religion and the one Church of Christ,” which would obviously include the society of the state. It simply says that religious freedom must be respected as part of freedom of conscience, and such freedom obviously recognizes the social character of religion, and thus to have such a freedom without allowing for public expression (within the limits of public order and the common good) thereof is not freedom at all (Mr. Reith). Of course that does leave such a confessor state (which in the current situation is probably not very feasible anyway) vulnerable to change, but the ends do not justify the means, and it would be wrong not to give people the freedom to pursue the truth in integrity and without coercion.

  10. I have a suspicion that UKIP, which at present is not a fascist party, will on day become so. I do not think Nigel Farage is that way inclined, but he can’t lead forever, There is simply no place for true conservatism in a modern democracy such as Britain. The more popular UKIP becomes, the more populist and therefore less thoughtful.

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