The Corner

National Security & Defense

After Manchester

Writing in Spiked, Alaa al-Ameri, a British-Libyan economist and writer:

Britain has a long history of (relatively gradual) immigration and, most importantly, assimilation that has been, as much as anything, the result of acceptance by host communities – mostly at the levels of the working and lower middle classes. The rise in nationalism is blamed by the chattering classes on some inherent intolerance on the part of these same communities that have been the raw material of assimilation for decades. Yet these communities understand something that is lost on their accusers.

We can have all sorts of differences in class, outlook and background, as long as there is some common thread, some notion of shared interest, history and destiny that binds us together as a community. This is what Islamists and their apologists both reject. One because it violates their claim to govern humanity in the name of God, and the other because it sounds uncouth and parochial….

Islamists, for decades, have regarded Britain not as a family, but as a place to eat and sleep on their way to somewhere else. While the privileged wring their hands and wonder what they might have done to offend their exotic guests, those to whom the house belongs are beginning to pipe up and object. Whenever they do – for example, when their kids are murdered at a pop concert – their more sophisticated relatives seem mostly preoccupied with the desire to avoid a scene.

Openly discussing Islamism is not an attack on me or any other British Muslim. We are the hostages of Islamism and its vampire preachers who weaponised Salman Abedi and used him to slaughter 22 innocents, in the midst of their joy, out of sheer spite. Speaking frankly and honestly about this horror is the only hope we have of emerging from it as anything resembling a cohesive British family.

Douglas Murray, whose new book (The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam) is one that I shall be buying soon, clearly does not expect much frankness and honesty from Britain’s political class. Yes, keeping calm and carrying on is the right thing to do and, yes, Theresa May was, of course, correct to stress that Britain would not give in, but (Murray writes in The Spectator): 

[B]eneath the defiance lie deep, and deeply unanswered, questions. Questions which people across Europe are increasingly dwelling on, but which their political representatives dare not address.

Exactly a year ago, Greater Manchester Police staged a carefully prepared mock terrorist attack in the city’s shopping centre to test response capabilities. At one stage, an actor playing a suicide bomber burst through a doorway and detonated a fake device while shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ (‘Allah is Greatest’). The intention, obviously, was to make the scenario realistic. But the use of the jihadists’ signature sign-off sent social media into a spin. Soon community spokesmen were complaining on the media. One went on Sky to talk about the need ‘to have a bit of religious and cultural context when they’re doing training like this in a wider setting about the possible implications’.

Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan was hauled before the press. ‘On reflection,’ he admitted, ‘we acknowledge that it was unacceptable to use this religious phrase immediately before the mock suicide bombing, which so vocally linked this exercise with Islam. We recognise and apologise for the offence that this has caused.’

…In Piccadilly Gardens [Manchester], at lunchtime on the day after the attacks, crowds of people listened to a busker play the usual post-massacre playlist: ‘All You Need Is Love’ and ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright’. But just like the renditions of ‘Imagine’, the buskers are wrong. We need to do more than imagine. We need more than love. Everything is not all right. We need to address this problem, and start at the roots. Otherwise our societies will continue to be caught between people who mean what they say and a society which won’t even listen. And so they’ll keep meeting violently, these two worlds.

Meanwhile the EU is taking steps to tighten up on what can appear on the Internet.

Diginomica:

The European Union (EU) has signed off on the first steps towards greater regulation of the internet with a vote to establish a universal set of video content censorship rules that companies like Facebook and Twitter would be forced to follow…. The EU Parliament wil have to give the final nod for the proposal to become law, but it seems inevitable that this will happen. Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip says:

“It is essential to have one common set of audiovisual rules across the EU and avoid the complication of different national laws. We need to take into account new ways of watching videos, and find the right balance to encourage innovative services, promote European films, protect children and tackle hate speech in a better way.”

And if you think that increasing government control over Internet content (this isn’t just an EU thing: ask Theresa May) will facilitate “frank and honest” discussion about what is going on, I have a bridge to sell you.