Even if I don’t always agree with Christopher Hitchens, and even if I reject some of his ideas about Israel, including some expressed in this article and interview, it is important to hear Hitchens’ ideas and concerns about political Islam. This article is in the June Vanity Fair and the related interview is on their site. What he is saying, in part, is that we’re giving the extremists the very rope with which they wish to hang us.
From the interview:
Does the British government’s P.C.-ness hurt the efforts of moderate Muslims to temper extremism?
Yes, it does, because the granting of audiences and positions to people like Mr. Bunglawala makes the assumption that he’s in some way a spokesman, a claim I don’t think he could easily prove. It certainly shouldn’t be granted.
How does that have an impact on moderate Muslims?
It means that they find, to their annoyance, that the most extreme elements in their community are being recognized as interlocutors instead of themselves. I’ve heard a lot of secular Pakistanis complain that the cops, when they think we better go talk to the community, walk straight past them and head for the imam at the mosque, assuming that he’s the one they want to talk to. Which means, of course, pretty soon these are the people who’ll be handing out the welfare payments. They’ll become the go-to people. Because they’ll have a grant from the taxpayers, and they’ll be the administrators of it. They will become the reps. It’s a big, big mistake. We’re going to regret it hugely.
From the article:
I remember leaving the cinema after seeing My Son the Fanatic, and feeling a heavy sense of depression, along with a strong premonition of trouble to come. In the figures of Parvez, the Pakistani cabdriver, and his morose son, Farid, Kureishi had captured the generational essence of the problem. In the 1960s, many Asians moved to Britain in quest of employment and education. They worked hard, were law-abiding, and spent much of their time combating prejudice. Their mosques were more like social centers. But their children, now grown, are frequently contemptuous of what they see as their parents’ passivity. Often stirred by Internet accounts of jihadists in faraway countries like Chechnya or Kashmir, they perhaps also feel the urge to prove that they have not “sold out” by living in the comfortable, consumerist West. A recent poll by the Policy Exchange think tank captures the problem in one finding: 59 percent of British Muslims would prefer to live under British law rather than Shari’a; 28 percent would choose Shari’a. But among those 55 and older, only 17 percent prefer Shari’a, whereas in the 16-to-24 age group the figure rises to 37 percent. Almost exactly the same proportions apply when the question is whether or not a Muslim who converts to another faith should be put to death â€¦
â€˜They remind me of the 60s revolutionaries in some ways,” said Hanif Kureishi as we sat in one of London’s finest Indian restaurants. “A lot of romantic talk, but a hard-core faction who will actually volunteer to go to training camps.” Making a rather sharp distinction between the new young fundamentalists and the 1960s rebels, he added that he had never met a jihadist who wasn’t militantly anti-Semitic. Monica Ali, whose lovely novel also emphasizes the generational divide and captures the Third Worldâ€“type pseudo-revolutionary rhetoric, independently told me the same thing. She had seen British television cave in to extremists who did not want her book made into a film, and who threatened trouble if the cameras were brought to the East End, but this did not alarm her as much as “the way that hatred of the Jews has become absolutely standard, all across the community.”
The interview ends on the following question and response:
Is London going to have another attack?
Of course. Everyone is. No city in the world is not going to have this. It’s probably going to be the dominant fact of our future. They will be able to demonstrate with fairly convincing means that there is nowhere that’s safe from them. It’s coming.
Hat tip to LGF.