London Telegraph Says: We Are In A War To The Death - Craven Concessions Won't Win It
Who would have thought it? Half of Europe – the half that was so smug about having buried God several generations ago – is waiting in real trepidation for the outcome of a theological argument. When Pope Benedict XVI flies to Turkey tomorrow, he will embody the most potentially incendiary confrontation between Islam and the West since the defeat of the Turks at Vienna in 1683 brought an end to Islamic conquest in Europe.
The Pope will take with him an understanding that at the root of our problems in dealing with the Islamist death cult, there is a fundamental debate to be had about the role of human reason in political affairs.
The remarks he made in a lecture in Regensburg, Germany, which implied that Islam rejected rationality while Christianity saw it as essential to faith were contentious (and almost certainly designed to be so), but they raised a question that almost no Western government has the courage to ask, let alone answer. How is a liberal democracy to deal with an illiberal religious minority in its midst?
To understand the life-or-death significance of what the Pope does and says when he arrives in Istanbul, it is necessary to see this confrontation for what it is. This will involve some traumatic re-adjustment for most of the opinion-forming class in Britain. The first assumption that will have to go is the premise that Islamist terrorism can be understood in pragmatic, politically rational terms: in other words, that it can be addressed with the usual mechanisms of negotiation, concession and amended policy.
The most readily accepted version of this is that a change to our policy in the Middle East will remove the grievances that "fuel" Muslim terrorism.
The Cabinet has apparently been advised that all foreign policy decisions over the next decade should have the goal of thwarting terrorism in Britain and that this should involve "a significant reduction in the number and intensity of the regional conflicts that fuel terror activity". So Britain is contemplating constructing a foreign policy, specifically in the Middle East, that is designed to give in to terrorist blackmail.
Never mind that the hereditary grievance of almost all British-born Muslim terrorists is the Kashmir question, to which the almost entirely irrelevant Palestine issue has been tacked on by political manipulators with larger ambitions. (The easiest way to make a connection between the Palestine-Israel conflict and the problem of Kashmir is to construct a global theory of persecution in which British-born Muslims may see themselves as born into a victimhood perpetrated by all non-Muslim nations upon Islam.
That, as it happens, chimes perfectly with the true goal of Islamism, which is global supremacy.) So this ignominious posture – what you might call the "save our own skin; who cares what happens in the rest of the world?" view – is based on a false premise. It is not adjustments to our stance on Israel-Palestine that the international Islamist terror movement wants.
That demand was just a bin Laden afterthought that went down a treat with the old reliable anti-Semitic interest in Europe.
What Islamic fundamentalism plans to achieve (and it has made no secret of it) is a righting of the great wrong of 1492, when the Muslims were expelled from Spain: a return of the Caliphate, the destruction of corrupt Western values, and the establishment of Sharia law in all countries where Muslims reside.
That is what we are up against.
If a majority of the Muslim community is prepared to separate itself, clearly and explicitly, from the terrorist faction, then we have a chance. If it is not, if it is swept up in the glamour of international victim status and the dark victory of glorious death, then we face generations of bloodshed.
To some extent, this is up to us. Britain must have more to offer than domestic confusion and international cowardice. But it is up to conscientious Muslims as well, of whom much – perhaps more than is fair – must be demanded by way of intercession and courage.