June 4, 2006 -- AFTER 9/11 plotter Zacarias Mous saoui was sentenced to life im
prisonment, his family blamed - the British. Their son had had first arrived in London in
the 1990s for an MA course in international business studies - and been radicalized and
recruited for jihad at London's Finsbury Park mosque.
It was the British, his mother said, who turning a blind eye to the violence and spread of
hate - and thus allowed this youth with a troubled and violent family background to be
recruited to the cause of Islamist terrorism.
Leaving aside her complaint's self-serving aspect, she was undoubtedly correct.
Because British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been such a staunch friend to the United
States, Americans assume that - unlike Europe - Britain generally is on side. They could
not be more wrong. The dismaying truth is that Blair is an aberration in his own country.
Instead of fighting radical Islamism, virtually the entire British political, intellectual
and security establishment can't even bring themselves to name the threat.
* When the London suicide bombings occurred last July, the response was to blame, not
Islamist terror, but "Islamophobia."
* When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently ratcheted up his nuclear defiance,
the response in Britain was horror - not at the Iranian nuclear threat, but at the risk
that America might now be more likely to attack Iran.
* When the Danish cartoon jihad erupted across the world, the British media stood out from
the rest of Europe in refusing to republish the drawings.
THROUGHOUT British society there runs deep hostility to America, Israel and the war in
London was dubbed "Londonistan" because, during the 1990s, Britain allowed its
capital to be turned into the principal hub of Islamist radicalism and terrorism outside
of Saudi Arabia. But Londonistan is more than the physical presence of Islamist
extremists: It is also a state of mind. A systematic, decades-long assault on Britain's
values from within has created a cultural vacuum that Islamist extremism has exploited
Islamist radicals have poured into Britain since the 1980s precisely because of Britain's
tradition of free speech, reluctance to impose immigration controls and generous welfare
At the same time, British culture was steadily disintegrating. Unlike America, which still
believes that its values are a beacon to the rest of the world, Britain has been consumed
by a loss of cultural nerve that has all but destroyed its belief in itself as a nation
with values of which it can be proud.
Instead, its governing class believes the nation is the source of all ills from prejudice
to war, and that legitimacy resides instead in supranational institutions such as the
United Nations and European Union and in "universal" values like the European
Convention on Human Rights, which must trump Britain's own.
In the past, the strategy was to integrate immigrants into the majority culture. No
longer. The doctrine of multiculturalism holds that all groups have equal status. Except
they are not in fact equal, because the majority is said to be inherently racist and
illegitimate - so there can be no majority culture into which immigrants are encouraged to
MULTICULTURALISM plus radical Islam is an explosive cocktail. Al though the vast majority
of British Muslims are opposed to violence, polls have shown that some 13 percent think
further attacks on the United States would be justified, 40 percent to 60 percent want to
be governed by Sharia law, and nearly two fifths believe that Jews in Britain are a
"legitimate target" as part of the "ongoing struggle for justice in the
And non-Muslim Britons do not rise up in horror at these attitudes - instead, they more or
less agree. Widespread ignorance about the Middle East contributes to the belief that
Israel is the persecutor of the Palestinians and that American foreign policy has been
derailed by global Jewish influence.
The mainly left-wing media daily pumps out a highly distorted and inflammatory version of
events in Iraq and the Middle East. In conservative circles, meanwhile, traditional
isolationism and an obsession with stability have combined with a profound collapse of
trust in Tony Blair to produce widespread hostility to the war in Iraq.
The British anti-war movement is today an enormous platform for Islamist extremism that
has given rise to an open season of vilification against Israel and the Jews.
The problem lies in a refusal to acknowledge that Islamist extremism is rooted in
religion. Instead, ministers and security officials prefer to think of it as a protest
movement against grievances such as Iraq or Palestine, or "Islamophobia." They
simply ignore the statements and signs which show unequivocally that the aim is to
Islamicize the west.
THE former FBI head of counter-intel ligence, Oliver Revell, says both America and Britain
suffer from "a fastidious reluctance to enter into the sphere of religion." In
Britain, the result has been a disastrously misguided strategy to appease Islamist
extremism, in the belief that defusing Muslim rage will buy off further attacks.
So the policy is to prevent terrorism by tackling its "root causes" - by which
the government means combating "distorted public and media perceptions of Islam and
Muslims" and avoiding using the term "Islamic fundamentalism." This, of
course, is simply real distortion and censorship.
Worse still, British officials are actually promoting the religious extremists of the
Muslim Brotherhood in the mistaken belief that they are a preferable substitute for al
Qaeda. A committee set up to advise Tony Blair how to combat Muslim extremism turned out
to be stuffed with Muslim extremists, who promptly declared that the causes of Muslim
terrorism were deprivation, discrimination and Islamophobia.
The attempt to get the Muslim community to tackle its extremism thus turned into a demand
for Britain to treat them as the principal victim of British society, and a demand that
Britain make amends by altering its foreign policy, and dictating how people talked and
thought about Islam.
In a recent speech to a Muslim audience, the then-Foreign Secretary Jack Straw blamed the
tension between the Islamic world and the west on Europe's hostility to Muslim immigration
and to religion in general.
Both Britain and the United States are turning a blind eye to the fact that the source of
Islamic terror is radical Islam. Students training to be imams at a college with strong
Iranian links are being taught to despise non-Muslims as "filth." Meanwhile,
radical Muslim chaplains promote an extremist agenda in U.S. prisons.
BRITAIN is the mother-ship for American values and the brand leader of English-speaking
culture. The Londonistan mindset is being replicated in America: on campus, in the media
and in official circles. If Britain goes down under this assault, the forces in America
now holding back the tide of cultural immolation will be immeasurably weakened.
"Londonistan" is a threat not just to Britain, but to the whole of the free
Melanie Phillips is a columnist for the Daily Mail (London); her book
"Londonistan" is in U.S. stores now.