I was all set to concoct a posting called something like “Why I am not a Christian – reason number seventeen” ho ho, about how you can’t expect much in the way of a robust defence of Civilisation against Islamic barbarism from people whose basic belief about their enemies is that they should love them, turn the other cheek, etc.
THE former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey of Clifton has issued his own challenge to “violent” Islam in a lecture in which he defends the Pope’s “extraordinarily effective and lucid” speech.
Lord Carey said that Muslims must address “with great urgency” their religion’s association with violence. He made it clear that he believed the “clash of civilisations” endangering the world was not between Islamist extremists and the West, but with Islam as a whole.
Carey even launched a new word, or at any rate one I’ve not heard before: “Westophobia”.
Don’t get me wrong, Carey perpetuates as many clichés as he challenges. For instance:
He said he agreed with his Muslim friends who claimed that true Islam is not a violent religion, …
Perish the thought. But at least …
… he wanted to know why Islam today had become associated with violence. “The Muslim world must address this matter with great urgency,” he said.
Simple, I’d say. The founder of Islam believed strongly in violence, was himself very good at it, and recommended it enthusiastically to his followers. They have obliged, century after century after century.
But still, you can feel the Western brain cells being rubbed together. See also – another example among many – this rather blunter pronouncement along similar lines. And, for a response to all this moderate Muslim guff, see also this recent blog posting from Peter Saint André.
The idea that the West’s response to the Islamic challenge will only ever consist of the first hasty and opposed responses to 9/11, which were entirely what people already thought – “We all ought to get along better”, “We are provoking them”, “They must become more democratic”, and so on – is very foolish. The West – a vague label I know but it will serve – is the most formidable civilisation that the world has yet seen. It has faced down several recent and major challenges to its hegemony, and it will face down this one, I think, with whatever combination of sweet reason and cataclysmic brutality turns out to be necessary to get the job done. This challenge now seems bigger than the earlier ones. But they always do at the time, don’t they?
I cannot find on the internet the full text of Carey’s speech. If it can all be linked to, my apologies for suggesting otherwise, and could someone else please supply a link?. If it cannot be linked to, then, given the incendiary nature of this debate, this is an error that should be speedily corrected. The technology is now in place to spare us from having to rely on journalists to tell us what is in potentially important pronouncements of this sort, and it should be used.
UPDATE: Link to the full Carey speech. Thanks Julian.