Maybe it is because I grew up in a town with a lot of Muslims and had to listen to people spout ill-informed racist crap about them every day. Or perhaps it is because when I see the words “swimming pool and Muslims” in the same sentence I am reminded of some of the most vicious racist urban myths from those days. Or maybe I am guilty of that appalling sin of being ‘political correct’ but I am starting to get a rather familiar feeling from reading some of this right-wing stuff that has come out since the Kilroy affair emerged.
Kilroy himself was on very familiar territory when he wrote in his Sunday Express article: We have thousands of asylum seekers from Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries living happily in this country on social security.
Remember he was only talking about Arab states apparently and not engaging in a racist slur.
Then Mark Steyn, who lets remember believes that the whole of Europe is in danger of being taken over by Muslims, in the Telegraph informs us of this:
Fifteen years ago, when the fatwa against Salman Rushdie was declared and both his defenders and detractors managed to miss what the business was really about, the Times’s Clifford Longley nailed it very well. Surveying the threats from British Muslim groups, he wrote that certain Muslim beliefs “are not compatible with a plural society: Islam does not know how to exist as a minority culture. For it is not just a set of private individual principles and beliefs. Islam is a social creed above all, a radically different way of organising society as a whole.”
Since then, societal organisation-wise, things seem to be going Islam’s way swimmingly – literally in the case of the French municipal pool which bowed to Muslim requests to institute single-sex bathing, but also in more important ways. Thus, I see the French interior minister flew to Egypt to seek the blessing for his new religious legislation of the big-time imam at the al-Azhar theological institute. Rather odd, don’t you think? After all, Egypt isn’t in the French interior. But, if Egypt doesn’t fall within the interior minister’s jurisdiction, France apparently falls within the imam’s.
And so, when free speech, artistic expression, feminism and other totems of western pluralism clash directly with the Islamic lobby, Islam more often than not wins – and all the noisy types who run around crying “Censorship!” if a Texas radio station refuses to play the Bush-bashing Dixie Chicks suddenly fall silent. I don’t know about you, but this “multicultural Britain” business is beginning to feel like an interim phase.
France, recently criticised for banning Muslim schoolgirls from wearing headscarves or displaying religious symbols, is also under the “Imam’s spell” as the Telegraph headline puts it.
Muslim groups in Britain are a “threat” – to whom is not made clear but we can guess.
And then the scare quotes around “multicultural Britain”. Britain is a multicultural society whether the Canadian Mark Steyn wants it to be or not. You have to wonder given his final sentence. Multicultural Britain is begining to feel like an interim phase.
On the road to what? Presumably, on the basis of everything else written, on the way to become an Islamic state where, as Melanie Phillips has already informed us, infidel Brits will be second class citizens. Where have I heard that one before?
Putting it all together then – these primitive, uncultured scroungers living comfortably on social security must be a very cunning bunch. They are carrying out the first DSS revolution as they use their immense power and influence from on the dole to take over the country and rob us of our liberties.
How are we told they are doing this? Through the newly discovered “Islamic lobby”. Now here I think perhaps even Steyn has a point. There is now a lobby. The Kilroy affair shows that Muslim groups are now as well-organised as other religious bodies. Every religion has its lobby that springs into action when they feel their faith has been slighted. It is one of the reasons why I like the idea of secularism – to keep religious people on the outside of power and make them lobby rather than the preferred method of religions throughout history – to dictate.
There is nothing wrong with having an Islamic lobby just as there is nothing wrong with any other kind of lobby – the Catholic lobby, the gay lobby or the Jewish lobby. That, after all, is the essense of the pluralism that Steyn is so keen to defend.
But the problem comes with people who talk about the lobbies as though they are some sort of powerful force that is seeking to take over and rule over us, or who are effectively already begining to do that.
I’ve heard that one before as well – just not usually about Muslims.