This is a very important book. It is also a very frightening book. Its thesis is that Britain has largely created a culture which breeds Islamic terrorism. British authorities have certainly done very little to discourage it, and in many ways have actually aided and abetted home-grown terrorism.
Indeed, "London has become the epicentre of Islamic militancy in Europe". That is, it has "become the major European centre for the promotion, recruitment and financing of Islamic terror and extremism".
This book examines how and why this has happened. Two broad reasons are given: First, Britain no longer believes in itself, no longer cherishes its founding values, and no longer thinks it has a role to play in the world.
Second, British authorities have seriously misjudged the threat of Islamic terrorism. Therefore Britain is engaged in a policy of denial, appeasement, blaming itself, and hiding its head in the sand. These two major factors have led to London becoming the "hub of European terror networks".
Says Phillips, "Britain is currently locked into such a spiral of decadence, self-loathing and sentimentality that it is incapable of seeing that it is setting itself up for a cultural immolation." A nation that helped give the world such values as freedom, democracy and rule of law is now in the process of routing those very values.
In this volume well-documented chapters provide the evidence for this alarming situation. Phillips examines numerous factors that have contributed to the demoralisation of England. Large numbers of Muslim migrants, multiculturalism, rampant anti-Americanism, secularisation, the victim culture, and postcolonial guilt have all led to a loss of national self-belief. The Judeo-Christian heritage has largely been scuttled.
Coupled with this national social suicide is the inability of British authorities to comprehend Islamic extremism, and how it flourishes in such an environment. Even after 9/11, they have largely failed to appreciate the threat that is among them. Indeed, al Qaeda was actually formed as a movement in Britain. Yet the leadership and intelligentsia of the nation refuse to acknowledge that what they are up against is a religious ideology.
The ideology of holy war will not be appeased by turning Muslim immigrants into clients of the welfare state. In spite of tax-payer subsidised housing, health care and other social benefits, Muslim communities in Britain remain enclaves. Assimilation has been eschewed, while the maintenance of a separate identity, culture and lifestyle has been pursued.
British values have been rejected, and many Muslims seek to implement Sharia law across the land. While perhaps most Muslims just want a peaceful life in a peaceful country, Islamists in Britain are quite specific about their goal: turning it into a Muslim nation.
Phillips has very incisive chapters on some of the main culprits: the rights industry, multiculturalism, unchecked anti-Semitism, etc. Consider what she calls the human rights jihad. By denigrating the host nation, and granting every conceivable right to immigrants who often despise the British way of life, the rights ideology has contributed to the hollowing out of British society and has created conditions which breed Islamist extremism.
Commonsense security measure and anti-terrorism laws have been dismantled, weakened, or prevented from proceeding in the name of human rights. In the hope of not offending the Muslim minority, Muslim groups are treated with kid gloves, even as victims, and fear of Islamophobia has become the main obsession amongst Britain's' elite.
Phillips documents how the rise of judicial activism and the human rights culture has led to a diminution of British sovereignty, a self-loathing of British values and the collapse of national security. And concepts such as multiculturalism have simply compounded the problems. The reigning British thinking now is that all cultures and values are equal, and any attempt to impose the majority (host) culture and its values on the minorities is inherently `racist'.
Assimilation has been renounced as chauvinistic, racist and oppressive. The education system, for example, teaches the value and worth of all non-Western cultures, while the achievements of the West are ignored or ridiculed.
Anti-Semitism is indeed a big factor in all this, argues Phillips. The British have in the main swallowed the Arab/Muslim propaganda concerning Israel and the Jews. Instead of seeing Israel as the sole democracy in a part of the world filled with dictatorships and oppression, and the front line of defense in the war against the West, Israel is viewed as the enemy, the cause of the world's ills.
Taken together, the effect of all this has been to "create a climate in Britain that has alarming echoes of Weimar in the 1930s. There is the same combination of amorality and appeasement, of decadence and denial."
At bottom Britain in particular and the West in general are in a war against a fanatical religious ideology. The Islamist terrorists have a non-negotiable agenda: the destruction of Israel, America and the West. Until Britain and the West acknowledge and understand the ideological basis of the terrorism they face, they will never be able to successfully challenge it.
Religious extremism cannot be ignored, denied or appeased. It must be confronted. But an anaemic Britain which has abandoned it heritage and embraced its enemies is in no condition to fight. Fear of Islamophobia and a loss of belief in itself has paralysed Britain, preventing it from taking the sensible and necessary steps to defend itself.
Phillips concludes by offering some practical steps as to how Britain can turn things around. It is a nation at the crossroads. It can learn from its mistakes, regroup, and move on. Or is can continue down the past of appeasement and denial, and simply wither on the vine. A choice must be made, and a book like this helps us all to decide which way we will proceed.
Author and journalist Melanie Phillips has written a searing exposure of the British political and educational establishment. In it she shows how a policy of appeasement has led to the growth of radical Islam within Great Britain itself. Her argument is that the Society as a whole has gone through a transformation of values in which the British deny their own national identity and traditional values and support a kind of multiculturalism which has fostered through benign neglect the growth of a kind of autonomous Islamic world within Britain.
Phillips has written in the past on the educational and moral crisis of British Society, and her knowledge of British social structures is strong. She also provides historical background and traces the whole policy of appeasement as it has intensified through the years.
This book is a warning cry like those of Baat- Yeor, Claire Berlinski, Bruce Bawer, Oriana Fallaci against the danger of an Islamic takeover of Europe. It is an effort to wake British society from its present slumber, and reenergize to defense of its own identity and culture.
on August 23, 2006
As a young man I marched with the Anti-Nazi League in late 1970's England in opposition to organizations such as the National Front. Decades later and viewing my homeland from America it is quite apparent to me that a new plague of Nazis festers in Britain. These ones are Islamic, homicidal and they are gaining momentum with each passing day.
Phillips' book is a grim tale of a nation flushing its native culture, its past and its future down the toilet in an orgy of appeasement and supplicate apology towards a community segment that celebrates its destruction.
Many indigenous Britons neutered by white guilt and a steady diet of Neo-Liberalism in the popular culture persistently refuse to acknowledge the threat of Islam and many of its practitioners. British Muslim leaders and police officials assure them that Islamic terrorists are not real Muslims and that it is Islamophobic to say otherwise. It's the religion of peace after all right? Phillips points out how their ire is misdirected towards America, Israel and even Britain itself while home-grown Jihadis plan their next atrocity.
The nightmare that is Islamonazism was borne out of British officialdom's decades-long ostrich head in the sand approach to immigration, asylum and Muslim extremism. This impotent policy can now be measured: A quarter of the UK's Muslims consider the scum that committed the 7/7 massacre to be martyrs (two thirds feel this way for Muslims under 25).
I don't fully side with the author on several levels however. A revival of Christianity will not turn the tide nor will it necessarily encourage civility and decency. Americans regularly attend church in vast percentages, yet the US is addled with most of the same social ills, crimes and decadence that Phillips decries. She appears keen to present Britain, America and Israel as a type of triumvirate bulwark in the fight against global terrorism. I reject this notion. Though clearly detested by most Muslims Israel's border skirmishes and civil war with the Palestinians are essentially a localized issue, marginally connected to the efforts to crush international Islamo-fascism
Melanie Phillips conclusions in the book on what must be done are somewhat tepid in my opinion. She does not call for, as I would, the removal from Britain's shores those who champion sedition and slaughter...and that's an awfully large number of Muslims as the book makes clear. I do not believe there will ever be general assimilation amongst those who view the Koran as the law and the infidel as eternal enemy and it is therefore imperative that they be firmly encouraged to relocate to Islamic nations. An extremist ideology requires extreme measures to counteract it. Until or unless that happens the madhouse that is Londonistan can only become more lunatic.
Addendum: This review was posted for several days on the uk Amazon site before being pulled. When I enquired why, I received this response: "Please know that Amazon.co.uk is a retail site and we are happy to post legitimate book reviews that meet our guidelines. All customer reviews submitted are subject to posting at our discretion and all decisions are final." Which is exactly the type of censorship taking place in Britain against those who are deemed to have offended Muslims that Londonistan cataloges.
Since 2001 a number of authors have been warning the West of the twin perils of civilizational suicide and Islamic extremism. These books include America Alone by Mark Steyn, Menace In Europe by Claire Berlinski, While Europe Slept by Bruce Bawer, The Force Of Reason by the late Oriana Fallaci and this one from the epicentre of the Jihad in Europe.
Londonistan examines the state of the UK today from a political and cultural angle. It chronicles the almost unnoticed surrender of Britain's values as it is faced with a radical fifth column in its midst. Phillips shows how the prevailing mood in the UK today is similar to the 1930s and demonstrates how multiculturalism, relativism, political correctness and the spirit of appeasement are crippling the once proud nation.
The author backs up her claims with verifiable facts as she unmasks prominent personalities considered to be mainstream, like Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of the UK. Propaganda from these sources has been granted legitimacy by the establishment. Even the British police suffer from the disease of political correctness while society in general does not want to know that a civilizational struggle is looming.
Having encouraged the notion of victim culture, the British state is partly responsible for the moral inversion that takes place after acts of terrorism. The communities from which it emanates immediately claim victim status. Even more disconcerting is the fact that Leftists have rallied to the Islamist cause. The author calls this the red-black alliance, and it is also thoroughly explored, in the US context, in the book Unholy Alliance by David Horowitz. Thus the British media and intellectual elites, in a pathological display of denial, blame the victims Israel and the USA for the very existence of Islamic terrorism.
Anti-Semitism in the Muslim world is ignored whilst the Left itself is becoming bolder in embracing this mental virus. The distinction between criticism of Israeli actions and blatant anti-Semitism is becoming blurry, with many a line having been crossed in the leftist media. Propagandistic reporting from the Middle East is increasing and whilst some of it has been exposed by intrepid bloggers, the attitude has become entrenched in media like for example the BBC, The Guardian and The Independent.
The author proposes some remedies for the dangerous state the UK finds itself in, like stricter immigration controls, monitoring of clerics and organizations that propagate extremism, and the abandonment of multiculturalism for a return to British culture. Time will tell if the UK has the guts to meet the challenges but no one will be able to say that the country hasn't been warned. The same goes for the West as a whole: Phillips is one of many voices raising the alarm. One can only pray that the warnings will be heeded. The hour is late for deaf ears too.
There have been a spate of books recently about Islam in Europe. "While Europe Slept", "Menace In Europe" and now "Londistan" by Melanie Phillips. Of the three, this is by far the best. Not that the other two titles are lacking anything. But where Melanie Phillips provides astoundingly extensive and documented evidence of the nature of radical Islam's pernicious invasion of British society, the other two titles are more anecdotal.
This is not a book to be skimmed. Phillips crams every chapter with one frightening fact after another. In "The Security Debacle", she examines how the British security establishment was caught unprepared for the radicalization of native born British boys who went on to explode bombs in London subways and buses. She goes on to detail how bureaucratic inertia, plain stupidity and multiculturalism blinded law enforcement and security agents to the threat growing before their very own blind eyes.
Some of her strongest criticism comes in the chapter titled "The Multicultural Paralysis". The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) comes in for especial criticism because of his apparently strange views about Islam. The Prince claims, for example, that Islam is a solution to the problems of the "spiritual pcoery of the West". Phillips wryly notes that the late Princess Diana would have faced the death penalty under Sharia law for adultery. She goes on to recite examples of the see-no-evil multiculturalism that rules Britain and prevents effective response to radical Islam.
Each of Phillips' chapters would serve as a stand-alone essay on the dangers of radical Islam and how Britain is failing to counter it in any meaningful way. This is not a happy book. It is a frightening book to anyone concerned with survival of Western culture and indeed the survival of the West.
It may not be pleasant, but it is virtually a required read for every concerned citizen. It's happening in Britain and France and it can happen in the United States.
on August 16, 2006
I came late to this book mistakenly believing that it pertained exclusively or mostly to England and more specifically London. And of course, while Melanie Phillips addresses the problems of the Islamic assault on Britain, her powerful resounding insights are applicable to all of Western Civilization. I've read 10 to 20 books dealing with Islam and its myriad of attendant problems for the West. This book was equal to, if not superior to, Oriana Fallaci's in the depth of its analysis and its nearly utter disregard for the pernicious deceits of political correctness. It was refreshing to read someone who nearly entirely disregards the sirens call of PC.
Melanie Phillips' chapter "The Human Rights Jihad" and "Multicultural Paralysis" just may be the best flinty eyed analysis of Islam that I've yet read. In Melanie Phillips own words: "Since radical egalitarianism meant that all lifestyles were of equal value, the very notion of a majority culture or normative rules of behavior became suspect as innately exclusive, prejudiced or oppressive. Moral judgments between different lifestyles or behavior became discrimination; and prejudice, the term for discrimination between lifestyles became the sin that obviated the moral codes at the heart of Judaism and Christianity, which had formed the bedrock of Western civilization. . . . Democracy became effectively redefined from majority rule among equal citizens to power-sharing among ethnic and other interest groups. Multiculturalism became the orthodoxy of the day, along with nonjudgmentalism and lifestyle choice. The only taboo now was the expression of normative majority values such as monogamy, heterosexuality, Christianity or Britishness. . . .
"A trend that has transformed the whole of British life during the past four decades - one which has drastically weakened it from within to the threat from without. That trend is multiculturalism, the doctrine that is the orthodoxy throughout all the institutions of British public life. Put at its simplest, it holds that Britain is now made up of many cultures that are all equal and therefore have to be treated in an identical fashion, and that any attempt to impose the majority culture over those of minorities is by definition racist. . . The expression of British majority values therefore became synonymous with racism. Multiculturalism and anti-racism were now the weapons with which minorities were equipped to beat the majority. . . .
"Multiculturalism is said to promote equal treatment for all cultures. But this is not true. There is one culture that it does not treat equally at all, and that is the indigenous British culture. What purports to be an agenda of equality actually promotes the radical deconstruction of majority culture, the idea of the nation itself and the values of Western democracy - in particular its understanding of morality and truth. . .
"In other words, "diversity" is a fig leaf. What is clearly not part of diversity, however is to put the Christian faith into practice. The "diversity" agenda is thus a cover for an attack on Christianity, on the illogical premise that it is divisive and exclusive whereas minority faiths are not. So as Christianity is eased out, all faiths and unfaith are being encouraged to fill the gap. . .
"The consequences of this moral and cultural relativism is that people are increasingly unable to make moral distinctions based on behavior. Such moral equivalence rapidly mutates into moral inversion, in which those doing wrong are excused if they belong to a "victim" group while those at the receiving end of their behavior are blamed simply because they belong to the "oppressive" majority. Such a climate of moral inversion has turned Britain and Europe into fertile territory for manipulative propaganda by both terrorists and their ideological bedfellows. There is a tendency to equate and then invert the behavior of the perpetrators of violence and that of their victims, so that self-defense is misrepresented as aggression while the original violence is viewed sympathetically as understandable and even justified."
Phillips' book is an extraordinarily insightful and powerful analysis of the forces enabling Islam in the West today. They say the first step in solving a problem is understanding that problem. Phillips' book is crucial in taking that first step. The tragedy is that many in the West today will reflexively reject her analysis leaving no hope whatsoever for ultimately solving the problems posed by Islam and its handmaiden the radicalized left to the very continued existence of Western civilization.
on May 2, 2006
Melanie Phillips echoes the earlier released works of Bruce Bawer and Claire Berlinski. The Islamic nihilists are successfully manipulating the politically correct political structures of the European nations. Some pessimists like myself believe that countries like France are already doomed. Are the British Isles likely to endure a similar fate? Phillips points out the rising tide of anti-Semitism and excuse making for the violent rhetoric and misbehavior of the Muslim extremists. A definite double standard exist. The Islamic immigrants can continuously violate British laws with little fear of arrest and prosecution. White skinned and blue eyed individuals, of course, are not given such leeway. Reverse racism is now institutionalized. Isn't the majority of Great Britain's citizenry upset with these frightening developments? It really doesn't matter. The leftist elites run the country and one's choice at the ballot box is often nothing more than a waste of time. Is Great Britain today something of a left-wing dictatorship? Well, it sure seems that way.
Should we Americans be complacent? Thankfully, our Muslim immigrants represent a mere fraction of out total population. Perhaps more importantly, the United States possesses the First Amendment. Yes, we have a number of arrogant leftist judges. But at the end of the day---American citizens can, for the most part, openly debate the issues. Last but not least, we also have a growing economy which provides numerous upward mobility opportunities for everyone. This is not possible in the socialist dominated economies of the European Union. Will Great Britain opt for a more capitalist economy? Islamic scholar Daniel Pipes in his review of Londonistan perspicaciously highlighted the following quote of the author: "Britain is currently locked into a spiral of decadence, self-loathing and sentimentality that is incapable of seeing that it is setting itself up for cultural immolation." No truer words were ever said. Will the United States be able to forevermore trust its British cousins? Is our special relationship in jeopardy? Unfortunately, things don't look very good at the moment. I also advise you to put Melanie Phillips' name into the Amazon.com A9 search engine. It will immediately lead you to her fabulous website. I personally visit it almost on a daily basis.
Flares into Darkness
England is in a whole lot of trouble. If you didn't already know that from watching the news, this book will make it abundantly clear.
This book is not about the England we all know and love from travels earlier in our lives, romantic images of the Tower of London or London nightlife and theatre, or perhaps ideas of country gentry talking in funny but endearing accents. Get over those old images of the country of our forefathers' fathers. There is a new sharif in town.
England today, according to this timely book, is a country with Islamic leaders pushing (successfully) for implementation of Sharia law rather than English law in their communities. Schools where NONE of the students speaks ANY English. Where extortionate threats of further terrorism are made by Islamists if the govt doesn't change its policies (domestic and foreign), and where al-Quaeda and numerous other terrorist groups have set up shop and thrive despite desperate pleas to shut them down from France, Scandinavian countries, and get this - Saudi Arabia too. Whole cities where police and English citizens just don't go. Communities so estranged from the culture and society that their young people stew in hatred and anger, until it bubbles up and explodes in brutal mass-murdering terrorism. Where hate groups espouse the view that the whole country must submit to Islam and Sharia law or be destroyed, and where the principal occupation of the police is to ensure that these groups have complete freedom to do so, in a misguided and extremely dangerous version of minority rights.
Seriously, this is some bad stuff. But it is real. And Londonistan brings it to the surface and provides some clarity as to what's going on and why.
As Londonistan patiently, soberly, and studiously explains, multicultural psychobabble and moral relativism have just sapped the strength of English society, leaving it without a moral compass, or a clear vision of what, if anything, in their own culture and history they should be trying to protect and preserve. According to the new multicultural ethic, their own history is that of oppression, domination and colonialism; all cultures and belief systems are equally valid; no one is "right"; minorities must always be coddled; mass-murdering killers must be "understood" and their self-described victimhood accepted; there is no "England" except for a land mass that enables different cultures to do their own thing in their own way.
This lack or loss of moral direction has enabled the Islamist fanatics to move in and expand, as the universities, police, and government acquiesce in the Islamist takeover of this previously proud land. Sadly, it is probably too late to unwind this travesty, and despite the fact that the author concludes with 8 or 9 pages of suggestions, she herself observers that most likely none of them will be followed. It is the 9th inning for England and perhaps it is too late to turn this sorry situation around. Nonetheless, it is crucial to understand what is going on there, and how it happened, because it could happen in the US too, and perhaps it's underway already. The British have already lost their ability to call a spade a spade, and are deep in the vortex of their own appeasement and lack of cultural strength for this fight. As we in the US see our universities catering in halal food and putting up mosques while refusing to allow Christmas trees or religious clubs (other than Moslem, of course), as our own crop of nutballs fans out on TV every night to tell us that if we could just get to "root causes" it would all be OK, as some talk about "getting Osama" as if one guy is what this is all about, it's time to ask which path we are going to choose. This book can help understand what happens if let the multi-culti jibberish get into your bones and if you come to believe that there is nothing worth fighting for other than to just be left alone. THEY ARE NOT GOING TO LEAVE US ALONE. You will get that, very deeply, by the time you're done reading this book.
on June 11, 2006
For those of us concerned about what is occurring in Europe today, one need look no further than this book. The author maintains that outrageous denial by the British authorities and a culture of unchecked multiculturalism have created a climate in which the allowance for Muslim extremism is fast growing.
Rather than look at the source of the problem (religious fundamentalism), the Brits have instead omitted mention of religion from the debate, for fear of being branded "Islamophobes", racist, or losing the Muslim vote. While religious extremism was at the heart of the July terror attacks, the authorities remain in denial about this fact and therefore have clouded themselves as to what the real threat is. Unfortunately, the general masses and leaders in the Muslim communities have refused to take a real stand against terrorist activity. Some do speak out against it but most remain complicit in the face of it, which allows the negative trend to continue.
All the while, what has ensued among the British establishment is a willingness to be taken hostage to Muslim demands in almost every sector of society. British Muslims are pushing and being allowed for their culture to be highly visible in the public sphere: separate prayer rooms and Halal meals are common in British institutions, requests for separation of men and women at sporting events, separate swimming pools for women, re-scheduling Friday classes at a University so that the prayer schedule could be accommodated, etc. Melanie Phillips rightly maintains that no other minority group in Britain has been afforded luxuries such as these, and if the trends continue, Sharia law may very well exist alongside secular law in the coming decades.
Often a scathing critique, Melanie Phillips does however take care to mention exceptions. For all the readers below who were very quick to brand her a racist (clearly not having read the book), she does indeed mention a number of times that the majority of Muslims in the UK are law abiding citizens with no violent tendencies whatsoever. But if the British authorities do not keep in check the loud few who are hijacking the debate and counter accordingly, Britain could very well lose its liberty and democracy in the coming years.
on January 11, 2007
I just finished reading Melanie Phillips' book Londonistan, about the development of London as the center of international Islamic terrorism, and the escalating collapse of British culture. It is positively horrifying to see such a beautiful culture unravel over a relatively short period of time. Phillips is an award-winning columnist for London's Daily Mail. Educated at Oxford, she won the Orwell Prize for journalism in 1996. She is the author of several books.
Londonistan is a book that every English person who does not wish to be an ostrich should read to understand the magnitude of the transformation and downward spiral of British society, because the British media, by and large complicit in the transformation, undoubtedly is not providing the British public with the full picture. The Balkanization of Great Britain is already underway. The support for national suicide by the English elites (politicians, the judiciary, academics, the media and the Church of England) is positively astounding.
The book should also be read by every American and Canadian, because the seeds of such a transformation in North America already exist, particularly in the next generation (16 to 26 yrs old), in the form of multiculturalism, a cancer that has already substantially eaten away the body of the UK and has already begun in small ways to eat away at the body of North America. I also believe that most North Americans do not even have an inkling that the so-called War on Terror is in fact a religious war pitting Islam against Western culture. It may unfortunately be too late for the UK and the rest of Europe to preserve their cultures. It is certainly not too late for North America, but the danger is growing and if we are not alert to the danger and prepared to confront it our grandchildren and their children will pay a very heavy price for our indifference.