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Sunday 13 August 2006

What UK and Irish Muslims can do for their countries

RAILING against Israel and blaming the West for Muslim alienation, liberal opinion-formers are refusing to face the truth that western civilisation is not just under threat, but will not survive unless it wises and toughens up. A worse menace than communism, Islamism is a totalitarian ideology that believes the world should live according to Islamic law and is prepared to wipe out anyone, anywhere, who stands in the way.

Contemplating what Islamists have in mind for us (think Taliban), there are moments when I feel positively nostalgic about the Fifties Irish Catholic Church.

In the UK, last week produced several wake-up calls:a hand-wringing Channel 4 documentary; a ludicrous speech by MetropolitanPolice Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur; an apocalyptic address by the Home Secretary, John Reid; and the revelation that home-grown Muslims apparently intended to blow up 10 or so aeroplanes and several thousand passengers.

Before I focus on the negatives, what brings tears to my eyes is that while all this awful stuff is going on in the news, English cricket-lovers of all ages have been whooping joyfully at the performances of two new heroes of the team that just trounced Pakistan. Both the Sikh Monty Panesar and the Muslim Sajid Mahmood, whose families come from Pakistan, think themselves English. So does Mahmood's cousin Amir Khan, who at 17 won an Olympic silver medal and is one of the coolest role models around.

Panesar, Mahmood and Khan are living testimony to the tolerance and welcome the English show immigrants who want to integrate and contribute to their new country. The tragedy is that race relations are being poisoned by the fifth column among Muslims who will not rest until they have destroyed the democracy and culture of the country that harbours them.

Jon Snow, the highly articulate Church of England bishop's son who fronts the Channel 4 News at 7pm, is a classic English guilt-ridden leftie, never happier than when standing up for those he perceives as victims of his own kind. Last Sunday, his naivety dominated his hour-long What Muslims Want , as - wide-eyed - he discovered that those born in England were more radical than their immigrant parents, heard youngsters tell him straight that they despised his values and reluctantly had to admit that such views cannot be blamed on poverty or exclusion. Some of his most chilling and uncompromising interviewees were students and graduates, happy to stone adulterers and gays to death and force the rest of us to live under Sharia law.

But it was not only extremists that shocked him. Snow's peregrination around Muslim neighbourhoods was conducted in the light of a survey of British Muslim opinion. Among what he found startling was the revelation that 51 per cent of young Muslims think 9/11 was carried out by America and Israel, 41 per cent think Princess Diana was murdered to stop her marrying Dodi Fayed and 31 per cent think the 7/7 bombings are justified because of British support for the war on terror. Of Muslims in general, 9 per cent (that's around 150,000) think it acceptable for religious or political groups to use violence.

Snow wanted to believe the woman clothed from head to foot who explained that she freely chose to adopt a veil; feminist Muslims would describe her as an example of the Stockholm Syndrome, by which people succumb emotionally to their captors.

Snow didn't tell us how he felt about the news that 59 per cent of Muslim men (and 51 per cent of women) think women should always obey their husbands, but he was rattled to find little support for that great British bastion of liberty - freedom of speech: 68 per cent of Muslims believe that anyone insulting Islam should be prosecuted: some would recommend execution.

The most telling part of this survey was that 61 per cent of British Muslim women and 51 per cent of men have so embraced victimhood - with the encouragement of useful liberal idiots - that they think that Muslims in what is probably the most tolerant society in the world are likely to become victims of extreme religious persecution. This fear will have been exacerbated by the report last Tuesday that top UK cop Ghaffur had whinged to the National Black Police Association about the racism he had suffered and claimed that "a generation of angry young people" have been radicalised by Islamophobia. Some of us - who think Muslims should have been grateful for the tolerance shown by Londoners after the carnage of 7/7 - concluded that Ghaffur is self-pitying and over-promoted.

Two days later, a fed-up British Home Secretary showed that, at last, some member of the government there had grasped that this part of the world is under severe threat from fascists who want to destroy our values and freedoms: "We need to understand the depth and magnitude of that threat - all of us, each of us across the whole political, media, judicial and public spectrum."

It became clear from the events of the following 24 hours that John Reid made that speech in the full knowledge that the Met was about to go public about murderous conspirators they had been trailing for months.

There is widespread panic among those who take terrorism seriously, at the depth of alienation among young Muslims and the degree to which pandering to minorities has made ethnic groups focus on their rights instead of their responsibilities. The question is not: "What do Muslims want?" The question is that posed by John F Kennedy over four decades ago: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

As an immigrant, I have a simple view. I came to England for freedom and opportunities I lacked in Ireland. I was and am grateful and I think my contribution should be positive. I always thought that the discontented Irish should shove off home, as I thought communists should emigrate to the Soviet Union.

If Muslims don't like it here, let them take off for one of those innumerable failed states rendered poor and fractious and oppressive by unreformed Islam. Meanwhile, those hundreds of thousands of Muslims who prefer life in the UK need urgently to take responsibility for the Islamists in their midst, challenge and inform on and demonstrate against ('Not in my name' banners would be a start) the lunatics, reassure their neighbours and get involved with modernising their religion.

The same goes for Muslims in Ireland. As Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, general manager of Al-Arabiya news channel, memorably wrote, "It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists; but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims."

Ruth Dudley Edwards

© Ruth Dudley Edwards