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Why William Dalrymple says that the West is losing the War on Terrorism

The cover article of the latest New Statesman is by William Dalrymple, and is called simply Islamophobia. The value of the piece for me is that it puts the case against the current trend of US (and UK) policy as strongly as I have ever read it. War is the health of the state, and it will bring ID cards and tougher searches at airports, blah blah. Maybe so, but that hardly amounts to the collapse of civilisation as we know it. This (this being the concluding paragraphs of Dalrymple’s piece), on the other hand, just might:

Meanwhile, Tony Blair’s neoconservative chums in Washington, immune to the justifiable fears of the Muslim world, talk blithely of moving on from Iraq next year to attack Iran and Syria. They have also invited Franklin Graham, the Christian evangelist who has branded Islam a “very wicked and evil” religion, to be the official speaker at the Pentagon’s annual service – and this immediately prior to his departure for Iraq to attempt to convert the people of Baghdad to Christianity.

All the while, the paranoia and bottled-up rage in the Muslim world grows more uncontrollable, and the attacks by Islamic militants gather pace, gaining ever wider global reach and sophistication. As long as British Muslims remain at the receiving end of our rampant Islamophobia, and remain excluded from the mainstream of British life, we can expect only still greater numbers of disenfranchised Muslims in the UK to turn their back on Britain and rally to the extremists.

As Jason Burke points out at the end of his excellent book Al-Qaeda, “The greatest weapon in the war on terrorism is the courage, decency, humour and integrity of the vast proportion of the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims. It is this that is restricting the spread of al-Qaeda, not the activities of counter-terrorism experts. Without it, we are lost. There is indeed a battle between the west and men like Bin Laden. But it is not a battle for global supremacy. It is a battle for hearts and minds. And it is a battle that we, and our allies in the Muslim world, are currently losing.”

This month’s upsurge of rampant Islamophobia in Britain, widely reported in Muslim countries, is the last thing we need in such a desperately volatile climate.

That “upsurge” is the Kilroy-Silk affair, and the surge of support that K-S received, in particular, from the readers of the Daily Express, together with the increasing number of attacks of British mosques there have been lately.

The point is this. More airport searches for us, or for that matter even that military ‘quagmire’ that the opponents of military action in Iraq have been earnestly predicting and for which some may even have been hoping, is as nothing – nothing – when set beside the danger that Dalrymple is describing. What he fears is a massive influx of intelligent, educated (much of it scientifically educated) talent into the ranks of the terrorists, as a result of the thrust of Western policy towards Islam in general, and in particular as a result of the inability of anti-Islamists to make any distinction between mere Muslims, and outright terrorists. Give a dog a bad name, in other words.

I don’t like Islam one little bit, because I consider its central tenets to be untrue, and I dislike untruth. (God does not exist. Muhammed is not his prophet. Etc.) I feel similarly about Christianity. (God does not exist. God did not send his son anywhere.) I further dislike Islam because so many Muslims these days, unlike most of the Christians I have much to do with, seem to take their religion really seriously and really to believe it to be true, which I find frightening. Who knows what the hell these people will deduce from their false axioms? It only takes a tiny few. (In the past it only took a tiny few Christians to set the tone of entire centuries.) So, yes, despite the fact that I am well aware of the fact – which of course it is – that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are entirely peaceable and decent and morally blameless people, and in millions upon millions of cases I dare say a lot better people than I am, I am “Islamophobic”. So, am I helping to push the world into a pit of barbarity, just by saying such things as I do earlier in this paragraph?

Setting aside entirely the moral rights and wrongs of the matter (i.e. am I entitled to put what I put in the previous paragraph?) is current US policy (and the attitudes of people like me that accompany it), as a matter of fact, having the effect on the overwhelming majority of hitherto non-terroristic Muslims that Dalrymple describes? Is George W. Bush making Al-Qaeda recruitment harder or easier than it would otherwise have been? Is GWB frightening the Muslim world into abjuring terrorism, or enraging it into taking it up big time? In short, are we winning the War on Terrorism, or losing it?

If people want to comment on that by veering off into the realms of the related but utterly distinct matter of whether we are morally or intellectually or politically entitled to be rude to Muslims, or whether they started it, or which is worse, our Islamophobia or their anti-Semitism and anti-Great-Satanism – they should obviously feel free. I can’t stop such comments. But the great strategic question is surely: whether, as a matter of fact, people like William Dalrymple are right or wrong.

My tentative opinion has always been – i.e. since 9/11 – that whereas some Muslims are no doubt being enraged into terrorism by US policy, many more are being scared away from it. But am I right?

62 comments to Why William Dalrymple says that the West is losing the War on Terrorism

  • Susan

    I wouldn’t take anything seriously that is written by William Dalrymple. He is a long-standing Islamic apologist of the Karen Armstrong-John Esposito mold. His speciality is whitewashing the history of the Moghul Empire which slaughered millions of Indian Hindus and Buddhists.

    Contrary to popular belief, he is NOT in any way related to Theodore Dalyrimple, the excellent commentator for the Spectator, Manhattan City Journal and the Torygraph.

  • Susan

    Addendum to the thoughts above: William Dalyrimple, like Karen Armstrong and John Esposito, posits that the fault lies entire with the West and its “Islamophobia.” But as we read numerous Islamic websites which openly advocate the undermining of Western law and civilizational norms, and the replacement of our govenrments with theocratical Islamic regimes in which we, the non-Muslims, would be made second-class citizens in our own countries, what are we supposed to think?

    If it were not for the often stated Islamic goal to destroy our socieites and replace them with Islamic law, NO ONE in the West would be “Islamophobic.” I know of few Westerners who are “Buddhistophobic” or “Hinduophobic,” although surely the practioners of those religions are overwhelmingly non-white people. Perhaps Dalryimple can explain why that is so?

  • HitNRun

    “I further dislike Islam because so many Muslims these days, unlike most of the Christians I have much to do with, seem to take their religion really seriously and really to believe it to be true, which I find frightening. Who knows what the hell these people will deduce from their false axioms?”

    I feel the same, but for different reasons. It’s more a matter of content than belief that has shaped my opinion here in the US. Most Christians and Muslims believe in their faith to some degree here. Radical Christians warn of eternal damnation over formalities and condemn gays and Harry Potter. Radical Muslims threaten national destruction and condemn the First Amendment. Also, the positive sides- Christianity’s (non parablic) tenets include forgiveness and generosity. Islam’s comparable tenets include fealty and manifest destiny.

    “Is George W. Bush making Al-Qaeda recruitment harder or easier than it would otherwise have been? Is GWB frightening the Muslim world into abjuring terrorism, or enraging it into taking it up big time?”

    This is one thing I’m not particularly worried about, if only because it’s been dumped on us nonstop for decades. After being provoked, the invincible Arab Street was to take up the Sword of Allah and smite the infidels back into Alaska, Canada, and maybe the Orient. Except it hasn’t happened yet, or rather, it’s happening now in Iraq. I mean, there was a clear call for jihad, and the small scale, rapidly diminishing guerilla war is the answer. The only question I have left is probably academic- what happens if we attack the Really, Very, (No Seriously This Place Is The Shit) Holy Land of Saudi Arabia? That’s pretty much the only other step we could take that would be more of a jihad catalyst than what we’ve done.

  • Della

    A much more interesting article in The Spectator speculates that there is no “War on Terrorism” as such, it’s just a device for goverments to scare the populace into giving them more power.

  • Basically what Dalrymple is asking us to do is abjure our many hard-won secular freedoms (like freedom of speech) out of fear that if we don’t, it will encourage more radical forms of Islam.

    This is not an argument that cuts any ice with me. If Western Muslims can’t stand Western-style secular freedoms, let them immigrate somewhere where they don’t have to deal with them.

    Dhimmitude is dhimmitude, whether it’s imposed “peacefully” or by viiolence, it is the same thing.

  • Sean O'Callaghan

    Does anyone know if this clown was writing in the ’80’s? I’d be interested to see what he said about Reagan and his ‘evil empire’ attitude to the Soviet Union. My bet is that he was totally wrong then – and nothing has changed…

  • Susan

    Della, trust me, I am the mother of a convert to Radical Islam, there IS such a thing as a “War on Terror.” These people want to destroy our way of life and our freedoms, and they are EVERYWHERE.

  • R. C. Dean

    But the great strategic question is surely: whether, as a matter of fact, people like William Dalrymple are right or wrong.

    I would point out that the 9/11 attacks occurred after decades of the kind of policy that Dalrymple would presumably approve – a combination of purely diplomatic engagement with all regimes except Hussein’s non-Islamic, non-Arabic one, a “law enforcement” approach to terrorism, a constant concern for the sensibilities of Muslims and the Arab street, and several military and diplomatic ventures in defense of Muslims in the Balkans and elsewhere. Hell, the US and UK were even pushing for more (and more, and more) Israeli concessions to the Pals. It is hard to imagine a policy, short of abject surrender, less driven by Islamophobia.

    The results of that policy are plain to see – the growth of Al Queda and allied terror groups, the establishment of openly pro-terror states, and the spread of toxic Wahhabi teachings throughout the world.

    I’m not denying that there is lots of paranoia and bottled up rage in the Islamic world. I would point out that such attitudes only justify anti-Islamic attitudes and policies in the West. I would also point out that these attitudes are the result of the failings of Islamic socirty, not Western policies. Indeed, Western policies intended to soothe these passions instead resulted in the growth of the terror networks.

    We were for damn sure losing the battle for the hearts and minds of Islam before 9/11. Given the quiescence of the Arab street and the number of diplomatic concessions made by various Islamic nations since 9/11, I would have to say that we are not doing any worse with a new, more aggressive policy.

    Of course, it is still somewhat early days, but I see radical Islam on retreat, not on the offensive, since 9/11. Dalrymple’s thesis strikes me as nothing more than an extended version of the warnings, which never bear fruit, about this or that policy setting off the Arab street.

  • Brian Micklethwait


    As I am sure you quite understand, your answers may be true and of interest to many, but they are not answers to the question I asked. Just so you know. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have said what you said. They are your comments, after all.

    HitNRun, on the other hand, is answering my question, for which I thank him.

    What is more, I think he is probably right.

    I should add that even if the “War on Terrorism” (Della) is all just public rhetoric in heavy need of inverted commas on all occasions, the real purpose of which is to impose those ID cards etc., that still makes it a fact, and a fact potentially able to make Muslims angry. Rhetoric is a facet of reality.

  • Brian Micklethwait


    That answer to you earlir from me came before I read your comment about being the mother of a convert to radical islam, and applied to your earlier comments. I would quite understand if you didn’t want to expand, but maybe you could tell us something of the reasons and motives for such conversions. That would be entirely relevant to what I asked about.

    The comments now seem to be coming thick and fast. RCD, I found that very persuasive. Thank you.

    The comments about the accuracy of (this) Dalrymple’s (possible) prophecies of earlier catastrophes (that never happened) do bear indirectly on his likely wisdom this time around. Does anyone know what he said about Reagan, the Cold War, etc.?

  • dan

    Public reaction in the ME to the West’s policies is largely driven by the spin of tyrannical anti-western governments, isn’t it? If being liked by people in the region is important, I suspect that we’ll have to introduce a free press there, likely by force or intimidation, on a country-by-country basis. Else they will *never* come to like us, regardless of our policies. So I see Dalrymple’s concerns as not really mapping onto reality that usefully. I mean, come on — we could ALL convert to Islam, and they’d still find official reasons to hate us, because this doesn’t really have anything to do with religion per se – it’s all about power and the masses of useful idiots who aid the elite in pursuit of more and more of it.

  • Susan

    Brian, I am not at liberty to discuss my personal situation, as I would have to establish a new email addy because the jihadis would start sending me ugly email viruses and death threats, etc. I’ve already lost a few email addys because of this and I aim to hang on to this one for a while.

    What I hear you fretting about is a) whether it is better to feed the crocodile slowly with concessions and abject submissiveness toward the aims of Radical Islam or b) whether it is better to refuse to feed the crocodile at all, and risk being chomped up all at once rather than piecemeal.

    I am merely pointing out that there is not much difference between the results of either a) or b), except that possibly b) would result in victory for the forces of freedom. But if b) doesn’t result in victory for the forces of freedom, the result will be exactly the same as the results of a). This has been the history of agressive Islam for 1400 years and counting.

    That’s why I personally vote for b).

  • Susan

    And, as I said before, Brian, Dalrymple is an apologist for the aims of Radical Islam. I am deeply familiar with his work. I have been studying Islam and the challenges it poses to the West for years, and I know what I am talking about. I know who the apologists are.

    It is not uncommon for these well-known Western apologists to receive money from the Saudis and other Islamic missionary centers. Esposito for instance receives a huge amount of money from “consulting contracts” from Western companies doing business in the Middle East. What else woudl he be consulting on but hooking up these companies with his considerable Rolodex of Saudi contacts?

  • Dan

    Susan, the fact that he may be a scumbag, or in the pay of people who mean the West ill, doesn’t lead to the fact that his observation is wrong… It’s wrong for other reasons. 😉

  • Susan


    Would you take advice from Sir Oswald Moseley and his Hitler-loving wife on how to fight World War II?

  • S. Weasel

    So the question is, how to soothe homicidal religious nutcases so that their sane co-religionists don’t morph into homicidal religious nutcases?

  • Julian Morrison

    The problem the guy was writing about is the conflating of “ordinary guy in the street Islam” and the bomb-making sort. they aren’t the same. Most Islamics in England are ordinary folks with jobs and families. Treating them all like foam-flecked kamikaze nutters is unfair, and validly annoying.

  • Susan

    Yes, Weasel that is the question. My point is, it is not the West’s fault if so-called “moderate” Muslims adopt radical ways. The seeds for all of this is imprinted in their religion, which preaches superiority and triumphalism over all other religions in a very definite way. How can you have a “dialogue” with people who believe they have a God-given right to “subjugate” you? Even if they don’t believe they have the “right” to establish that right violently, the “moderate” ones may indeed believe they have that right to establish their dominance through the ballet box or through intimidation and degradation of our cherished instituions, etc.

    Bottom line: you can’t have that dialogue, any more than you can have a dialogue with a Mafioso who believes it’s his “right” to charge you extorion for the privilege of operating a pawnshop in Brooklyn, NY. End of story. True-believer Muslims do not belong in the West, if the West wants to maintain its most cherished values and precepts.

  • S. Weasel

    Treating them all like foam- flecked kamikaze nutters is unfair, and validly annoying.

    Then how come their spokesmen seem so much angrier at those who lump them in with the nutters than they are angry at the nutters for bringing their faith into disrepute? If someone were trashing your religion by doing terrible things in its name, wouldn’t you—I dunno—take to the street waving a sign that said “Not In My Name” or something?

  • Dan

    Susan, I agree that Sir Oswald would be unlikely to be offering me heartfelt advice about how to bring his buddy low. However he might inadvertantly aid me by making valid criticisms. But I know nothing at all about Dalrymple and it seems you do, so it’s certainly nothing I’d press you about. Weasel seems closer to the real question, above – are we making more or fewer terrorists with our actions? I don’t think terrorists are made with our actions, alone. They’re made by those who are able to exercise undue control over the thoughts and opinions of the possibly already weak-minded and deranged. And that is something we can’t change with appeasement or increased levels of politeness. We need to de-motivate those who are making terrorists, not the potential terrorists themselves. IMHO, anyway.

  • Susan

    Well, Dan, you have missed the point. It is irrelevant to ask “are we making more terrorists by our actions or not?” We either fight now, or fight later on when we are weaker. Islam accepts no compromises.

    So the question is irrelevant to me. We should fight now, when we are stronger, rather than later, when we’ve been weakend by the kind of measures that Dalrymple adovcates (“never dare to question whether or not Islam is a Good Thing”). Whether “terrorist” or not, the fact of the matter is, we’ve allowed large numbers of people into our countries who support, whether violently or passively, a political system that is at odds with most of what we have fought and died for for the past 300 years now.

    Islam is a political system disguised as a religion. Never forget that. There is no more shame or “phobia” attached to opposing Islam than there is to opposing Communism or Nazism. It is also an anti-freedom political system, same as those.

  • Dan

    I’m sorry, Susan – Maybe I wasn’t being clear. By ‘the real question’ I meant Weasel’s remark was on target with what I thought Brian was asking in his original post, whereas what we were discussing had drifted a bit outside the scope of his interest… I didn’t mean it was the important issue in ‘the War on Terror.’

    Aside from a possible disagreement about the usefulness of ad hominem criticism, I don’t think I have much to argue with you about. Personally, I don’t think our policies make terrorists. State and Religious propaganda in closed societies does that. So others make them, and we kill them. This could get tedious, so I think killing those who make them might help speed things up. I agree fighting now is the way to go, and anything remotely resembling appeasement is definately not called for.

  • Susan

    Okay Dan, sorry if I misunderstood. I’d better shut up now, or the jihadis will start sending me viruses again 🙂 Still I do what I can to educate people.

  • T. J. Madison

    This isn’t a new or unique problem. We all know about the expanisionistic, racist, murderous religion called Judaism. (Go read Leviticus) Yet somehow we don’t discuss the danger of the “nice Jews” being converted into vicious, murderous “radical Zionists.” The IDF invasion of Lebanon killed 20,000 civilians (WTC * 6), but Jews aren’t seen as the ultimate threat to Western Civilization — BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT.

    We can deal with Jews as fellow civilized people. We can complain about the policies of the Zionist government without the need for pogroms, racially-motivated searches, or extrajudicial detentions of “suspicious” Jews. We can have Jews in our military and let them vote in our elections despite any misgivings we may have about their religious principles. And our civilization has not collapsed because of our tolerance of this barbarous primitive religion.

    I suspect we can deal with Islam in the same way. If we judge Muslims everywhere based on their individual actions we can have peaceful exchange with the peaceful ones while the violent ones are dead or in jail. If we start to implement collective punishment, and try to turn this into an Us vs. Them battle (like Osama wants), then this will all end in fascism, one way or the other.

    It’s also important that we keep the scale of the problem in perspective. 9/11 = An average day on the Eastern Front of WWII. 9/11 = Hiroshima / 30. 9/11 = Rape of Nanking / 100. 9/11 = 80 microStalins. 9/11 = a particularly ordinary day in the Congo. 9/11 = a fraction of the annual U.S. heart disease deaths. We need to keep our Death Prevention per unit Time/Money/Worry allocation in order.

  • Susan

    Maybe I have not made myself clear here. The “concessions” that Western Muslims are likely to ask of the West in exchange for their demurral from radical activities are not likely to be ones that will go down smoothly in Western eyes. They will be things like blasphemy laws and policies (to legally intimidate people who criticize the Islamic religion and its not-exactly-morally-irreproachable prophet): laws and policies that infringe upon freedom of speech, if it has anything to do with criticizing Islam; laws that make life harder for women and non-Muslims in general (such as sex-segrated municipal swimming pools, forbidding the sale of pork at public events, etc.) I am saying that these “concessions” are too high of a price to pay for lukewarm “support” of Muslims against Islamic extremism. Sorry but that’s the way I feel. However it is clear that Mr. Dalrymple does not feel that way at all. That is really what he is saying if you read beyond the feel-good multi-culti rhetoric.

  • Susan

    TJ Morrison, as dishonest an example of “moral equivalency” as I’ve ever seen. You obviously know nothing about Islam.

    A few important differences it has with Judaism that the West needs to consier:

    –Judaism does not proselytize, Islam does. Making converts is a big part of its raison d’etre, and the more radical Islamists are not particularly picky about how they make them. Rape and kidnap of non-Muslim women, for example, are common features in the Dar-al-Islam.

    –Judaism does not preach that a global theocratic superstate, the Muslim Ummah, must dominate and eventually supercede and replace, all other political bodies on earth. Islam does.

  • Dan

    Hey Susan, no worries, I appreciate all attempts to educate me! 😉

  • S. Weasel

    All religions which demand followers believe things entirely without evidence, or in spite of evidence, or because the holy man says so, or because the very old book says so, or because they both say god says so, have the potential to go toxic. Convince a man that reason and evidence are without value, and he loses the ability to connect with anyone outside his own belief system.

    Judaism and Christianity both have had their dark moments, but happily either long ago or in small and isolated ways (Jonestown, for modern example).

    To the loss of reason, add a sense of grievance, of victimhood and the idea that all your misfortunes are the result of injustices committed against you by others, and you have a dangerously toxic religion.

    Islam is awkward because so many of its followers still actually believe it. It will be harmless with Muslims are as lukewarm, indifferent and perfunctory about their beliefs as most modern Christians and Jews are about theirs.

  • Susan

    S. Weasel: Islam needs a full-scale Reformation, and one that is far more radical than the Christian one ever was. The trouble is, once you denude Islam of all of its unpleasant aspects, there is very little left of the relgion to go on.

    It should be noted that Muhammad made Islam very nearly “reform-proof” by declaring that any attempts to reform it were “bidah” (innovation) and therefore forbidden (“Haram”). Muhammad was an extremely clever marketeer.

  • Doug Collins

    Aside from Dalrymples pacifist tendencies, for which I can easily take Susan’s word, the underlying question here is one of grand strategy-the overall method and objective which guide a nation or group of nations in pursuing its objectives (by means of war, psychology, diplomacy, sociology, economics or -anything else that works).

    Dalrymple’s basic point- that we are losing the ‘hearts and minds’ of the great moderate mass of the Islamic world- seems to me to be a case of fighting with the last war’s methods. As the resonances of the ‘Hearts and Minds’ terminology indicate, this is the method that the West used against the Communist block for most of the 20th Century. I suppose you could say it worked at last, since even the Chicoms seem to be embracing capitalism. In Viet Nam though, the farmer in his rice paddy may have wished the Viet Cong would go away, but -regardless of his heart and mind- had little ability to do anything about it. I am as willing to attribute the fall of communism to the fall of the Soviet Union (I bet they never expected the Domino Theory to work THAT way!) when Reagan/Thatcher realized its economic fragility and simultaneously stressed it with an arms race and a crude oil price crash/exchange crisis.

    Some of the things that I have read about the British approach to Basra indicate that you are using your old tried and true colonial administration methods and they are working for the time being. But I doubt you really want a colony. Again, the methods of the last war.

    I have no idea whether anyone in the US administration is directing this policy deliberately, but no matter. I think that deliberately or instinctively we are on the right track. And it will be a very long hard track.

    There are two main cultures in the world and that has been the case for at least a millenia. The West and Islam. The West has been preoccupied for hundreds of years with the Enlightenment and its sequelae, with expansion into the western hemisphere, with colonial expansion into the Orient (an expansion which largely destroyed or at least greatly westernized any other nonwestern or nonIslamic cultures that were there) Only Islam has been able to avoid being modified or replaced by western ideas. It did so by turning inward and refusing to take part in the revolutionary changes in worldview and culture that we began in the 1600’s and are perhaps only now finishing with the discrediting of Marxism. We have passed these hard and bloodily won lessons on to much of the rest of the world, which has fairly eagerly accepted them. They are each forming their own versions, but so did we: compare the anglosphere and the francophone cultures.

    Now, with the battle against communism over for the most part, the US has had our new opponent made clear to us by the 9/11 attack. What Dalrymaple and others, who stress the moderate masses in the muslim world, don’t realize is that Islam cannot abide our existence – not that we cannot abide theirs.

    I do not believe that I am a Jingoist in saying that the ideas of individual worth, natural rights and liberty that are the underpinnings of western culture are superior to Islamic ideas of deference to authority, the superiority of the group to the individual and the necessity of thought control. I believe that our ideas are better because they have triumphed over the same ideas of deference to authority, etc. in our own history. At best, Islam has reached the point where we stood at the end of the 13th century, just before the Black Death kicked the slats out from underneath the golden age of medieval scholasticism. Both Islam and the west had very civilized and literate societies. But both had ‘gone about as fer as they could go’. We went through a biologic catastrophe that made us question the authorities that we had previously revered. They continue to respect, indeed to worship them to this day. Our paths split. We advanced and they stayed where they were. Our ideas have proved persuasive in the rest of the world since then, largely because adopting our technology is difficult to do without adopting our ideas with it. Their ideas did not. They had no post 13th century technology to offer. There is no Islamic steam engine, no Islamic theory of markets, no Islamic respect for the individual and his rights and accomplishments.

    We are now at a point in the world’s history where Islam cannot ignore the west any longer. Satelite TV, the internet, transistor radios and Israel all put the West’s ideas and accomplishments directly in Islam’s face. And while the culture may exalt the group and the religion over the individual, given a choice, increasing numbers individuals are likely to differ. The power structure in the Islamic world, (and here we are necessarily talking about many moderate muslims), has a stark choice: Destroy the West or join it. Joining means the end of their power for most. In the West, the old feudal power structure was probably made up largely of decent, moderate people, at least by the standard of the time. They chose to fight modernism and the fight was long and bloody, perhaps extending right up to Prague in 1968 and even Tiananmen Square. Sadly, I don’t expect the Islamic power structure to choose differently.

    There has been a noticeable difference between the resolve of American and the European responses to this situation. Europe of course suffered the most bloodletting in the metamorphosis of the West. They may shrink from facing it again. They also are ‘post Christian’ where America, to judge from surveys, is still Christian. Christianity was transformed by the Western metamorphosis as much as any other part of our culture. It survived the reformation and, with the exception of some creationist and evolutionist zealots, is not uncomfortable with western science and technology. The reformation was the transformation of Christianity from a religion of authorities, like Islam, to a religion of the individual. I opened this overly long comment by observing that grand strategy involves using anything that works. Whether you are a believer or not, the power of religion to motivate and persuade people is not arguable. I doubt we can oppose Islam with only Isaac Newton and Adam Smith. Sending Franklin Graham to the Middle East makes great strategic sense in view of the fight that we are actually facing. I only hope he inherited some of his father’s persuasive talents.

  • Susan

    Doug Collins, many good points. I would add that if Islam were capable of defending itself in the free market of ideas, it would have no problems with Franklin Graham’s missionary efforts in Iraq or anywhere else. But Islam cannot compete on a level playing field, that is why it must protect its ideological monopoly by such measures as death sentences for converts to other religions and restriictions placed on the proselytization of other religions.

    Anyone who believes in the free market of ideas, as opposed to just the free market of trade in goods, should welcome the challenge of Islam by other religions and ideologies. The fact that Dalrymple doesn’t welcome this obviously points to his anti-freedom tendancies. Therefore why should we pay any attention to what he is saying? He is anti-free-market, ’nuff said.

  • Dan McWiggins

    Interesting discussion. However, as a moderately serious student of military history, no Muslims anywhere, on their own, have been very impressive since about 1200 AD. The British had some fine Muslim troops in the Indian Army and the Arab Legion (again led by British officers) was the best of a bad ME Islamic lot, but overall–not much to worry about there. They’re like the Italians–Mafia killers are a problem, Italian armed forces are a joke.

    I can hear “Mad Mitch” of Crater fame saying the old Vietnam-era line now: “Grab ’em by the balls–their hearts and minds will follow.” He’d be right. The “Arab street” understands brutality and responds most satisfactorily to it. The biggest problems the West has ever had with the Arabs is when they DIDN’T hit back hard and fast after some outrage. It’s an arguable point to say that 9/11 was a logical consequence of the U.S. failure to back Britain and France at Suez, just as Suez was a logical consequence of Attlee refusing to defend Abadan. Showing weakness to these people is the worst possible response. As Nuri Pasha said after Nasser nationalized the Canal, “hit them fast and hit them hard” whenever they start some grief.
    Those who tell us to do otherwise wish us ill.

  • Sean O'Callaghan

    Dan – you are the man! It should be made clear that the West is content to let Islam wallow in its self-imposed backwardness but will not tolerate their attempt to export it. Since we managed to hold them off centuries ago (when there was a balance of power between us), I don’t see us losing now (when our power is immeasurably greater). The road may be long and hard – but it is going to go our way!

  • John in Tokyo

    Great summary, Brian. Interesting (mostly) discussion in the comments.

    To get back to Brian’s question, I think the actual answer will not be clear for years. My own speculation is that we are winning. In the present, temporary increases (speculation) in Jihad recruitment are off-set by the obvious degrading of the long-term viability of Jihad as a tool to destroy America or Britain or Israel or India, etc. etc., or even as a tool to attain lesser goals.

    You describe the appeal of Jihad as one of rage, balanced against fear, i.e., the angrier they get, the more Terrorism we will see. So many people share your views on this equation. Many rational people opposed invading Iraq precisely because they viewed the problem this way. While not wrong, I believe this is incomplete – missing an essential factor in the character of Jihad: TRIUMPHALISM.

    Obviously, al-Qaida and it’s ideological breathren place a heavy emphasis on their grievances. We all know their long list and cannot deny that a few of them are even legitimate grievances. Their call to attack injustice (as they perceive it, naturally) has resonance through the Muslim world. But an equally critical factor for them is their ability to convince the young and gullible men (recruits) and also the rest of society (financial and moral supporters) that they can and will win. (They also needed to convince the regimes and their police, army and security forces that they can be a useful political tool and not a major liability).

    Remember Osama’s words about “betting on the strong horse”? Remember the tapes discovered in Afghanistan with Mullah Omar (or Zawahiri, or someone – I forget who) boasting that al-Qaida’s biggest recruiting – a flood of volunteers coming to Afghanistan – came immediately following the ’98 cruise missile attack. They were not so much angered by the attack as they were emboldened by its ineffectiveness – great PR!!! As they saw it, they had dealt us a serious blow with the embassy bombings and the Khobar towers bombing and the WTC bombing in ’93 and then survived our only real response. It was easy for them to spin this as a triumph for them and part of a string of victories that would ultimately and inevitably lead to final victory as promised by God. People already living in a fantasy ideology have an easier time accepting and believing such an incredulous version of history. Large swaths of the populations in the rest of the region with their state-controlled media and ideologically rigid religious authorities believed similar or slightly milder versions of the same story. Osama had a wide network and access for disseminating his views. He could claim, almost unchallenged, that al-Qaeda had single handedly chased the whole American military out of Somalia. He could take full credit for chasing the Soviets out of Afghanistan. The Americans had been chased out of Lebanon and Somalia and they had backed off of deposing Saddam (remember how Saddam eventually began to claim victory in the Mother of All Battles – even in the Middle East, that claim must have seemed dubious).

    Do you remember the stories of hordes of Pakistanis trucking off to fight with the Taliban only to be slaughtered or captured with the survivors trickling back bewildered and demoralized? That was the turning point.

    What has happened in Iraq is less clear at present. A sizeable number of would-be Jihadis went to Iraq (and continue to go but the number seems small and beatable). If you read about military accounts of the battle for Baghdad, you hear about busloads of ununiformed attackers and waves of suicide car-bombers charging the American tanks and bradelys (and getting cut to pieces). However, while the struggle in Iraq continues to smolder, the idea that there would be some massive uprising that would dwarf the Jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan is now completely discredited. I do not believe that we will see an intensification. Islamic terrorists can claim nothing but defeat since 9/11. Baring any major disasters in Iraq, Jihad will slowly crumble (In’shAllah) though it likely continue to put up a fight for years to come. They are nasty but they are losers and 1.5 billion Muslims cannot deny this. Now we must move on to phase 2 and successfully bring reform, freedom and democracy to those countries so that they have better things to worry about than destroying America, Britain, Israel, France, India, etc. etc.

  • And the poor enraged victims who crashed the planes in the WTC, poor Saudi men who grew up in wealthy families who could send them abroad to study, what exactly would stop their rage ? An apology ?

    There is an assumption here that there is something we can say and do that will make them stop. When our entertaining the very notion that we are guilty only reinforces their beliefs and their contempt for those they call the enemy.

    They want to die for Allah. Being of the open-minded, tolerant kind, I am in favor of granting them their wish.

  • none

    ” … whereas some Muslims are no doubt being enraged into terrorism by US policy, many more are being scared away from it. But am I right?”

    Very likely you are, yes, unless human nature has changed fundamentally in the past few millenia. Most people just don’t care enough to get extremely exercised over jihad or any other idiotic program proposed by the power-hungry. Excepting the addled few, the vast majority of humanity just wants to live in as relaxed and easy a manner as possible.

    Holy wars, ethnic cleansing, and similar eructions are exhausting, and divert unacceptable amounts of energy from life’s main goals of survival and reproduction. This is not, of course, to say they won’t happen. Obviously they will. They just won’t hold people’s interest indefinitely.

  • Doug Collins

    I predict that muslims will surprise those who discount their threat, either because of their lackluster military performance or the supposed apathy of the self absorbed masses.

    My last comment was too long because I was building an argument. I can restate the argument very briefly as:

    Islam is a wounded animal that has been cornered by history.

    What we might do to placate them makes no difference. Those moderate, civilized men are going to have to destroy us or become underdeveloped, poor westerners. They have no other options. When the choice is, at best, between a palace and a corrugated metal shack like the ones their vassals inhabit, I am betting an intelligent, non fanatical man can learn to fight and fight effectively. They learned in Afganistan against the Soviets.

    The fight that matters though, will not be military. We should not underestimate our enormous strength in ideas and economics. It was, after all, those strengths that did to the Soviets what Hitler’s armies and decades of Cold War could not do. If we can force our ideas into their world, we will preempt the worst part of the military fight. Sending missionaries right behind the soldiers worked before. I see no reason why both secular and religious missionaries, (perhaps with guns, if that is what it takes to be heard) won’t work again.

  • Guy Herbert

    There’s a danger here I suspect of confusing Islam with the brutal uber-macho pastoral societies in which it is often embedded, and the Islamist doctrines that grow up there. Anyone ever heard of a Sufi terrorist?

    The Dalrymples of this world are quick to warn us that every defeat for enemies of the West is dangerous because it is humiliation for the Islamic (read: Arab) people and stores up anger. This was most recently promulgated in relation to the capture of that hero of Islam, Saddam Hussein. It is patronising rubbish which essentially sees all muslims through the eyes of their self-appointed Islamist spokesmen: eternally locked into the one rigid mediaeval.

    The way to defeat these boys–and they are boys, for the most part–on the contrary is to show we are stronger than them, and that they don’t frighten us. A bit more humiliation of the terror-cults and dictatorships might help to show muslims in general that they don’t have to be frightened of the Islamists either.

    Security-mania, and lumping the ordinary muslim with the terrorist both do the opposite. Banning nailfiles from airplanes says we are the frightened and humiliated ones, that a talib with a nailfile is worth 400 effete Westerners. Cutting off muslims from acceptance in the modern world leaves them nowhere to go, precisely as bin Laden would like.

  • lucklucky

    “The IDF invasion of Lebanon killed 20,000 civilians”
    I very much doubt the number(most certainly less than 5000) but the question i ask i is: it proves anything Mr. T. J. Madison?

    How many civilian deaths the USA or Britain, URSS made in second World War , Vietnam or Gulf War?

    Unless u consider the Israeli action a wrong action.
    If your country is shelled by artillery you defend it.

    About the subject:

    The only thing that makes me optimist is that communicating ideas is getting easier and that Radical Islamists cant be shielded from that.
    Another is that arabs elites feel the need to make mecca colas and al-jazeeras.That alone explain a lot.

    A thing that i am in doubt is that of technological evolution, it will put the advantage in terrorists or in contrary to last decades will shift for defenders side?

    Now if a nuclear engine explode in London what Britain will do? and if more Britain cities get target what will be the reaction? knowing that probably many of Al-queda are probably in Iran or Saudi Arabia, Britain will make it an example launching some Tridents?

    Contrary to Dalrymple i think the way things are done can backlash the other way because of so many political correction around. The people can perceive that current polititians are incapable of defending them. That means that a complete revamping of political system, and that can in a terror environement means the expulsion and control of all muslims.

    We are still in PC mind, but too much restraining has the cost that when things get really bad there arent restraining at all, because those that make it now loose all credibility.

    Susan i dont put my real e-mail public because of spam if someone want to contact me can ask.
    Other alternative is to put your real e-mail with the tag NOTOSPAM in it that way any one that want to contact just need to take the NOTOSPAM out of the adress.

  • T. J. Madison

    >>How many civilian deaths the USA or Britain, URSS made in second World War , Vietnam or Gulf War?<< WWII: USA: >400K
    Britain: >300K
    USSR: >>1M

    Vietnam: >1M
    Gulf War: unknown, but likely insignificant compared to the above numbers.

    >>Unless u consider the Israeli action a wrong action.
    If your country is shelled by artillery you defend it.<< If some civilians are standing too close to the artillery park, or the bomb factory, or the PLO HQ when the IDF attacks, well, these things happen. The IDF should be cut some slack here. What bothers me is when the IDF intentionally targets hospitals, sets up torture facilities, allows allied militias to commit massacres, etc.

  • Calcium

    Susan – you are prescient. Chirac has just given in to single sex bathing in some municipal pools in order to placate Muslims. Sylvain – was it just some particular pools or all the pools in Paris, or what? You probably saw this. Whether it was one pool or all of them, it was a stupid move. If they think there’s something wrong with being in swimming with the other 50% of the human race, they should stay away from pools. Giving in is stupid, stupid, stupid.

    BTW, for all those who persist in in the comforting belief that only young single malcontent males get involved in terrorist activities, of the two first British-born Muslims who went to Israel to be suicide bombers, one was a university graduate. The other was a father of two with a pregnant wife, a fairly nice semi-detached house in a not bad area of a northern city. Middle class achievers.

    And here is an item from today’s Richard Littlejohn in The Sun: [[Anyone who believes in a] “simple solution to the Palestinian problem should heed the words of Reem al-Reyashi, who blew herself to smithereens, killing four Israelis this week.
    Al-Reyashi was a mother of two, with an 18-month-old daughter and a three-year-old son.

    Before her deadly mission, she posed for the video in combat fatigues, cradling a rifle and said: “God gave me two children and I loved them so much.

    “I always wanted to be the first woman to carry out a martyr attack, where parts of my body can fly all over. It was always my wish to turn my body into deadly shrapnel against the Zionists.”

  • A_t

    OK… can we separate out the Israeli thing from everything else here? The day we in the west (UK, USA, whoever) hold a people under military occupation, regularly stealing their land to give to “settlers”, hindering economic development, instituting policies of routine torture & arrest without trial, then perhaps we will end up under a similar threat to Israel.

    At present, we don’t carry out such policies, so I think the widespread vehemence of the reaction against Israel is unlikely to be directed towards us.

  • The problem the Islamophiles have is that every time they try to ^claim that all of Islam is a nice gentle religion with no priets some troublesom Imam or Ayatollah goes and issues a fatwa.

  • A_t

    ok… so if i can dig out a link to some anti-abortionist who advocates murder, can I declare that Christianity isn’t a religion of peace?

  • Shawn

    “ok… so if i can dig out a link to some anti-abortionist who advocates murder, can I declare that Christianity isn’t a religion of peace?”

    No, because such a person would be the exception to the rule. The use of fatwas, theocratic opression and jihad is the norm for Islam.

  • R. C. Dean

    I think the widespread vehemence of the reaction against Israel is unlikely to be directed towards us.

    I disagree. We are the Great Satan, Israel is the Little Satan. Hezbollah and Hamas are fighting against us in Iraq, and have taken shots at us before (I believe it was Hezbollah that blew up the Marine barracks in Beirut). And, of course, there is 9/11. Their rage against Israel and against the US is pretty seamless, in my opinion. AQ was quite clear in its list if grievances – the problem is the West as a whole, and its stubborn refusal to submit to Islam.

    And anyway, I’m not sure what to do with your claim, A_t. It sounds like you are saying if we just let the Jews be driven into the sea, all will be well. Do you seriously believe that if Israel was destroyed, that peace would break out between the Islamists and the West? I don’t think so.

    Finally, I would point out that your characterization of the situation of the Palestinians is tendentious, at best, but that is an argument for another day.

  • Jim

    “The greatest weapon in the war on terrorism is the courage, decency, humour and integrity of the vast proportion of the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims”

    I suspect that quote is more wishful thinking than reality

    I have lived in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and visited Egypt.

    With few exceptions every Muslim (including the very well educated and travelled) I have ever met begins by lecturing me about what is wrong with the west and America.

    Any suggestion that some of the problems they blame on the west orignated in their own society is instantly dismissed as Zionist propoganda.

    Now, with the Madrasas spewing hatred and extremism, I think the number of Muslims that embrace “courage, decency, humour and integrity” is not as large as it was yesterday.

  • lucklucky

    T. J. Madison

    >>If your country is shelled by artillery you defend it.<< I think you miserunderstood. Artillery from Fatah in Lebanon and attacks to civilian bus was the reason for the operation. "What bothers me is when the IDF intentionally targets hospitals, sets up torture facilities, allows allied militias to commit massacres, etc." What kind of hospital was bombarded on propose? Massacre.I suppose u mean Sabra e Chatila. But if you know the story it will never hapened if the fiancee of Elie Hobeika(commander of Damour brigade) wasnt murdered in Damour massacre by the Fatah that killed 100 Christian Arabs. Yep you'rent constantly bombarded for that in the news it was just a small line in some distant newspaper... Elie Hobeika when he shifted for Syrian patronship(his fellow Robert Hadem says he was already double playing) was later the Lebanese Minister of Refugees . OH irony the murder of Sabra & Chatilla minister! So where was the rage for Lebanon or Syria? If there is any criticism to make to israelis is they're ineptitude and incompetence. Remember that at that time all military operations ended and Israeli army was retiring from Lebanon. Torture isnt effective you dont see that as a policy towards palestinians, the advice they say is to israelis disguised as palestinians in jails. But u see that Torture by the AP towards palestinians suspect of colaborationism. They put them in poles the streets to all know what happen to dissent. A_t who started the war?who murdered Sadat? Sinai has some oil and you can get a fancy hooliday in Charm-el-sheik. 20 years ago was Israeli. Egipt no more wanted to destroy Israel but Palestinian lidership never abandoned that hope. Why Oslo debacled? As an example German was occupied after 2WWar how much time allied troops were there? oops still there...despite a friendly governement from begining. That Christians are important religious authorities? Bishops? rule over many in community? That Christians preach in official TV channels promoting their murder vision with state sponsorship? That Christians have huge political power or even they´re religiousity is mixed with political power. In population in that 4/10 has cancer something is wrong, with 1/10 it's natural. See the diference A_t?

  • Richard Cook

    Can someone point me to any moderate Muslims? Having a Muslim sister-in-law who herself (along with her Muslim friends) believe that the nature of Islam does not allow one to be moderate….at least not in the Western understanding of the word. I do not believe there are many moderate Muslim around. To see what is in store for the West look at France in say 20 yrs. I do believe that we are going to have to fight the Wahabbists for a long time and fight to the death. We are dealing with a culture that is really stuck in the 1100-1300’s and refuses to come out of that period. And fights according to that time period.

  • lucklucky

    Jim hope i can ask a question to you.
    How do you see the necessity for mecca Colas , Al Jazeera a sort of westernized vision of modernity?
    Do you think that will play something benign? A sort of Rock & Roll and Jeans for the Communist Europe?

  • A_t

    luckylucky, I can’t say I understand all of your points, but

    “As an example German was occupied after 2WWar how much time allied troops were there? oops still there…despite a friendly governement from begining.”

    Yep, but were there Americans claiming a holy ancestral right to the land of Germany? Was German land confiscated so that Americans might build farms & homes on it, with a view to living there permanently? Were Germans regularly stopped & harrassed at arbitrary checkpoints?

    And if you think the IDF doesn’t torture Palestinians, you’ve got a lot of people to accuse of lying. It may not be a very effective tactic, but on the evidence I have seen, it looks as though they still use it. “moderate physical force” gets used quite regularly, & murders of Palestinians by the IDF generally go uninvestigated. This is not a good state for a democracy to be in; surely respect for human life should be paramount in our values.

  • Susan

    Calcium, I already know about the sex-segregated swimming pools in France. It has also happened in Holland. In Australia, Muslim women have won the right for women-only swimming pools in one area I read about, and horribly, they also won the right to run a woman-only fitness gym that excludes non-Muslim women as well as men of all types. (They were given a special dispensation from Australian anti-discrimination laws in order to exclude the non-Muslim women; under strict Islamic law, Muslim women are not allowed to have their “awrah” [i.e. “sexy bits”] seen by non-Muslim women as well as by men of all types.)

    In Georgia, USA, Islamic groups sued a local municipality for exemption from local burial laws designed to safeguard public hygeine. (Islamic law stipulates burial directly into the ground with no container.) They didn’t win, but the fact that they tried is disturbing, no? It kind of showed a dogmatic attachment to Islamic law even if it endangers public safety.

    I am sure that the William Dalrymples of this world would see nothing wrong with granting these “accommodations” to Muslim religious beliefs in Western liberal democracies. The trouble is, if we “accommodate” all of their myriad religious requirements within our legal systems, we will soon find ourselves living in an Islamic state, in which many of our freedoms have been grossly curtailed. .

  • Shawn


    The Jewish are not “claiming” an ancestral right, they are liberating their homeland from Arab/Islamic imperialism. There is no such thing as a Palestinian. They are Arabs. Calling them Palestinians is just a ruse to support the fraudulent claim of a Palestinaian people and nation. There has never been such a thing. Jews have occupied the land west of the Jordan for well over two thousand years. The Arabs have not. The so-called Palestinians already have their own country, its called Jordan. The entire argument in favour of an independent Palestine is a lie to support the creation of a terrorist state that will never cease to wage war against the Jewish people.

  • KP

    > That’s why I personally vote for b).

    Susan, you seem to suggest that those are the only choices. Personally, I favor c) kill the damn reptile.

  • Emo

    Well said, Shawn, well said.

    A_t – I don’t have a problem accusing the whole, finely tuned Pali propaganda machine of lying. They lie, they fake deaths, they falsify statistics, embezzle money, use charity funds to buy landmines and missiles. From the smallest, most cretinous Western supporter of ‘Palestine’ to Arafat himself, ALL of them are either liars or misinformed fools.

    Samizdata isn’t going wobbly on us, is it?

    The idea that Kilroy spouting off about Arabs is ‘an upsurge in rampant Islamophobia’ is preposterous but actually quite frightening. A small group of extremely unpleasant people have succeeded in forcing the BBC to remove a presenter because, even though his words were not considered racist, their highly attuned sense of what they will and will not permit to be said about them was offended.

    Samizdata readers should be aware that the MCB censors the press so effectively and so rigidly, they successfully demanded that the Express and Mail newspapers *amended their spelling of particular words*, or else they would ‘unnecessarily antagonise their many thousands of Muslim readers’.

    MCB media successes – By Inayat Bunglawala

    An upsurge in Islamophobia would be a series of mosque bombings, Muslim women being beaten to a pulp in the street, stories in the press about Muslims making food with the blood of children…

    This is happening *all across Europe*, except the buildings being bombed are synagogues, the victims are Jewish, and the perpetrators are Muslims. Not all Muslims, granted, but when the EU commissioned a report drawing attention to it, the report was branded… Islamophobic.

    In fact, Islam is the ONLY religion that cannot be criticised or mocked in any way for fear of well orchestrated media outrage or violent revenge.

  • Verity

    Well, the Islamofascists at the BBC won in the Kilroy case. After “suspending” him, then turning wobbly in the face of public ridicule and re-instating him, he is now firmly cancelled again. The reason is, according to the Fuhrers at the BBC, his “controversial views” on Islam. He’s a raving loony, you see. He believes that in some Arab states, they repress women. He believes that in some Arab states, they amputate limbs as legal punishment. He believes that some Arab states sponsor suicide bombers. Jeeeze! What’s with this guy? Especially as the BBC added that they expect their presenters to respect the world famous “impartiality” of the BBC. Get up off the floor, all of you, and stop pretending to be helpless with laughter!

    Given that Kilroy’s opinions (defined by sane people as “facts”) were voiced in a newspaper that has no connection whatsoever with the BBC, this is frankly scary.

    On a side issue, looks like the BBC will have to give up on airing talk shows in case members of the public fail in their duty to only spout the BBC fascist line.

  • carl

    If there is any danger of the West losing the present conflict it is because there is an element of western society that seems far more concerned about offending our enemies than defeating them.

    I think Mr. Dalrymple’s time might be better spent explaining to the Arab/muslim world that if they don’t straighten up, embrace modernity, and become good global citizens the US government can, and will, institute the same sort of international re-education program it established in the early 40’s for the Germans and Japanese.

  • Dave F

    “‘The religion of peace has two elements, and neither means what Westerners take it to mean.

    Muslims (of whom there are a significant number where I live) are very clear that Islam is not just a religion, but a way of life. That is, it dictates the conduct of society in every sphere, not just that of religious worship.

    Secondly, the peace referred to is the peace of Allah. Only when this is established, when the ummah is extended over the whole world, will we all be at peace. The means by whih this is to be achieved is jihad, which you can roughly equate to “the church militant” (not necessarily actually killing people, although these days it often does) intended to bring about the hegemony of the ummah, or peace.

    That’s what is going on, and people in power in the West clearly recognise it: there is a conflict under way between the secular government and societies of the West, and the theocratic rulers of the ummah. We can fight or we can surrender. There is no middle ground.

  • A_t

    Shawn, you’re rewriting history frighteningly quickly. So you’re telling me that no Arabs (call them what you will… I’ll call them Palestinians) were displaced by Israel at all, *because they were never there in the first place*. Astounding.

    “There is no such thing as a Palestinian. They are Arabs.”

    mm… how about “there is no such thing as an Italian. They are Europeans”… does that work too?

    I’m curious though… are you really suggesting that no arabs lived on the land that is currently Israel? That only Jews lived there for the last 2,000 years?

    very puzzling.

  • Ult

    Women’s rights are now irrelevant to the Left; that’s so 20th Century!

    You know what the immediate reaction of the PC brigade was to the revelation that Jessica Lynch was raped…can you guess?

    “It’s racist to say that!”

    “It’s nasty Bush propaganda!”

    The comments I read truly beggared belief.

    The media was obviously uncomfortable at this news, not nice and PC, not happy at all.

    Never mind that the Pentagon’s policy is to cover these things up (see Melissa Coleman).
    (2 Baath Party officials confessed to it, though of course that was never mentioned in the media).

    The link here is that this story, and the segregation in the French swimming pools have provoked no reaction from the Feminists whatsoever. They have been silent on matters that concern them.
    Absolutely extraordinary!
    Clearly, Multiculturalism trumps gender equality and women’s rights.

    The segregation of swimming pools may seem insignificant, but it represents a sinister, creeping threat to gender equality. I really do believe that intollerant Islam poses a serious threat to women’s rights.
    Rights which have been hard-fought could end up being destroyed by a craven, appeasing indulgence of Islam.

    The swimming pools policy is Apartheid; imagine a swimming pool for “Christian Women Only”, I think there would be outrage.

    BTW I also note that Orla Guerin was allowed to criticise Israel in the Evening Standard a few months ago…that’s impartial?!

  • A_t

    I think this segregated pools thing is a red herring. Unless you want to *impose* a way of life on others (including orthodox Jews, btw.), why shouldn’t there be some “women only” nights at your local pool? I see no problem with this, & I don’t see why feminists should be in any way bothered by that measure in itself.

    As far as I can see, it’s not “muslim women only”, just women only, which given the way male/female relations work in the West currently (& probably will for the forseable future) is understandable, if modesty is seen as an important value by women.

    As for the Jessica Lynch thing, well… given various “throwing babies out of incubators” stories in gulf war 1, people were justifiably suspicious of convenient acts of evil perpetuated by Iraqis…. sorry! Boy who cried wolf etc.

    As for criticism of Israel being permitted… how is this a problem? If she’d criticised *Jews* as a whole, that would not have been acceptable to the beeb just as, if Kilroy had criticised Syria & Iran for instance, he wouldn’t be in trouble now.

  • Michael Forrester

    I find it extraordinary that a self-styled expert on Islam like Dalrymple should get simple facts wrong in the very article in which he attacks Robert Kilroy-Silk for his alleged ignorance. Dalrymple writes of Kilroy-Silk that:

    “He also denied that Muslims had contributed anything to civilisation (algebra, optics, the pointed arch and Arabic numerals did not feature in his column) and went on to reveal his expertise in the field by writing that Iran is an Arab country.”

    But Muslims did NOT contribute algebra and Arabic numerals. All of these came about centuries before Islam. They were indeed the contribution of Arabs but those Arabs were not Muslims; Islam did not, at that time, exist.

    In his eagerness to present Islam in a positive light, Dalrymple attributes to Muslims the achievements of a previous non-Islamic civilisation. And the deceit does not end there. He claims that Islam’s growth in Britain is as much the result of conversions as of immigration. This is rubbish. Even Muslim organisations themselves count the number of converts over the past 40 years at around 20,000 – only 10% of the estimated 200,000 British “converts” to Buddhism.

    When a commentator such as Dalrymple must resort to such shoddy and easily disprovable claims to make Islam seem worthy of respect, one must wonder at the scarcity of real merit in this deeply repressive and regressive religion.