09 November, 2006

Margaret Beckett on Defeating terrorism.

Margaret Beckett, Foreign Secretary, has been giving a speech, at the Royal United Services Institute,in which she said not very, much other than vague generalities. She argued Muslims need to stand up against extremists and, along the way, had a poke at Israel for defending itself in Gaza. All typical of the FO line we have heard dozens of times before. The interesting part, however, is buried towards the end of the speech and will probably get little coverage in the media:

The extremists talk of a clash of civilisations, of an implacable war between Muslims and non-Muslims.

But there is no such clash, no such war.

There is only the determined struggle of the vast majority of civilised people in the world who want to live, work and prosper together against a few who would drag that world into chaos.
Beckett misses the point entirely. Although there are only a "few" Muslims who actively participate in terrorism, integration of Islam into the Judeo-Christian western values of European societies is being actively resisted by the many.

Robert Leiken, writing from an American perspective has analysed the problems facing Europe. In a paper for the Council of Foreign Relations, Europe's Angry Muslims. Leiken argues that
Radical Islam is spreading across Europe among descendants of Muslim immigrants. Disenfranchised and disillusioned by the failure of integration, some European Muslims have taken up jihad against the West.
As Leiken observes, Islamic refusal to integrate is spreading because " Europe's Muslims gather in bleak enclaves with their compatriots" and have no interest in adopting the values of their new countries. Indeed, particularly in the UK, they are encouraged not to integrate by the government's multi-cultural policies and by radical preachers who are allowed to denigrate western society and stir up anti-western sentiment. Interestingly, since Leiken's article, there are signs that Tony Blair has realised the UK's mistake and the official line is slowly beginning to change.

Taking Leiken's argument a step further, the problem now is that Muslims increasingly demand the right to retain their traditional practices even when they are in conflict with the host country's laws. Moreover, an increasing number are seeking to impose Islamic law (sharia) on the entire population, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Compromise is not possible in the face of such (to borrow a word from Beckett) implacable Islamism. The more European governments surrender to Islam's demands, the more those demands are made and, if they are not met, the result is violence, as the continuing French jihad attests.

The first requirement for dealing with any problem is to recognise its nature. Beckett is a living in the FO version of reality if she fails to realise that the clash between Islam and the west has now developed into a war between two diametrically opposed civilisations: a kulturkampf.

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