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The shameful silencing of radical Islam’s critics

Censorship by the woke elites is aiding and abetting Islamist violence.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill
chief political writer

Topics Identity Politics Politics

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What Tory MP Lee Anderson said this week was dumb. But what the cultural elites are doing on the back of Anderson’s comments is outright sinister.

They are using his outburst about ‘the Islamists’ having ‘control’ over London mayor Sadiq Khan to distract attention from the very real threat Islamists pose in 21st-century Britain. They are holding him up as oafish proof that the ‘real threat’ is the ‘far right’ and ‘Islamophobes’ – gruff gammon like him – not those mystical ‘Islamists’ people keep banging on about. They are exploiting the Anderson scandal to achieve something they’ve wanted to achieve since the 7 October pogrom and the orgy of bigotry it licensed in Britain and other Western nations – that is, shift the public’s attention away from Islamism and back to ‘Islamophobia’. It is one of the most cynical political manoeuvres of modern times.

You don’t have to be an Anderson fanboy to be concerned about the outrage his comments have generated. It was on GB News that he made his verbal assault on Sadiq. He was asked about a comment piece in the Telegraph written by the former home secretary, Suella Braverman, this week. ‘The Islamists, the extremists and the anti-Semites are in charge now’, she wrote. ‘I don’t actually believe that the Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is that they’ve got control of Khan’, said Anderson. ‘He’s actually given our capital city away to his mates.’ In short, Khan’s an Islamist puppet, a caliph posing as a mayor.

It was wrong to say this, morally and factually. For Khan hasn’t turned London into a demented caliphate but rather into a woke hellhole where you can’t go five minutes without being bombarded by some eyesore Trans Pride flag or official finger-wagging about the evils of junk food. Khan has sacrificed our capital not to political Islam, but to political correctness.

Yes, the consequences of the woke crusade are oftentimes not dissimilar to the impact of the Islamist crusade. So the trans ideology Khan adheres to loves to surgically correct young gay people, like the mullahs in Iran do. And hardcore woke ideologues are as hostile to women’s sex-based rights as any hothead Koran-basher. But we owe it to ourselves to be accurate about the breed of cultural authoritarianism Khan has unleashed in the capital – it’s not Wahhabism but wokeism.

And yet, for all their daftness, the reaction to Anderson’s comments has felt wildly overblown. Not to mention transparently self-serving. Political influencers have not contented themselves with criticising him, or branding him a raging Islamophobe, if that’s what they want to do. No, they’ve made him into the archetype of ‘Islamophobic Britain’. They’ve crowned him King Gammon, who merely gives voice to a phobic derangement that is all-pervasive. The irony is too much – they damn the conspiracist mindset that sees Islamists as the puppeteers of public life while promoting their own unhinged theory that actually it’s Islamophobes who haunt every corridor of power.

Khan says Anderson’s blather is symptomatic of a ‘massive increase in Islamophobia’. The Scottish first minister, Humza Yousaf, says Anderson’s comments are proof of ‘how acceptable and pervasive Islamophobia has become in our society’. We now know that ‘Islamophobia is rampant in the Tories’, says the Guardian’s Owen Jones.

This giddy extrapolation from one loudmouth’s musings on a TV show to the end of tarring the entire nation as ‘Islamophobic’ is not only cynical – it’s ominous. The intention is as clear as it is repellent: to send the message that it isn’t Islamism that’s the problem – it’s ‘Islamophobia’. Worse, Anderson-bashers are implying, if not outright stating, that critics of Islamism pose a larger threat to the nation than Islamism itself. Especially its right-wing critics, those ‘far right’ goons like Anderson and Braverman, as they crazily view those outspoken Tories. We are witnessing nothing less than a top-down cultural assault on truth – the truth here being that radical Islam is indeed a major threat to life, limb and democracy.

The Anderson scandal comes hot on the heels of the Commons antics of last week, when the speaker of the house, Lindsay Hoyle, said he permitted a vote on Labour’s ceasefire motion because he was concerned that MPs would face violent threats if they didn’t say something on Israel-Gaza. He didn’t say who might issue such threats – of course not – but we knew. He was hinting at Islamists. Hoyle’s intervention likewise ignited a binfire of outrage among correct-thinking liberals and leftists who accused him of demonising ‘pro-Palestine’ protesters and exaggerating the menace of Islamism. It’s the far right we should be worried about, they squealed, like they’ve been squealing for decades.

These people are peddling cynical fictions. It is measurably, demonstrably untrue that the far right is a larger or even equal threat to radical Islam. Almost a hundred people have been slaughtered by Islamists in the UK over the past two decades. Girls at a pop concert, people going to work on the Tube, a member of parliament. Hundreds of British-born Muslims went to Syria to throw their lot in with an Islamist death cult that enslaved women, executed homosexuals, slaughtered Christians. Since 7 October we’ve seen Islamists on the streets cheering the mass murder of Jews and demanding more ‘jihad’ against the Jewish State. We’ve seen a suspected Islamist threaten Jews with a knife. We’ve seen Islamists hound an MP from office. The far right – for all its venomous ideas and hooligan behaviour – hasn’t got anywhere close to such extremes of misanthropy.

The idea that the far right are The Real Threat is a comforting lie for our cowardly elites. It allows them to posture against ‘fascism’ without having to address the fascistic violence of radical Islam. It means they never have to contemplate whether their precious ideology of multiculturalism might have played a role in whipping up Islamist fervour by constantly telling young Muslims that Britain is a racist hellhole that hates them. They prefer to live in the dreamscape of fighting far-right old blokes than in a reality where many young people – including people they march shoulder to shoulder with – have signed up to a belief system that is anti-Semitic, misogynistic, homophobic and anti-human.

The denialism of the comfortable classes reached deranged levels this week. Labour MP Jess Phillips said she has personally found anti-Israel protesters outside parliament to be cordial and kind. Bully for you. I’m sure many of them are. But try being someone who wears a kippah or Star of David necklace. That cordiality might soon evaporate. You might be all right, Jack, but others aren’t.

‘If I see the word Islamist, I just assume I’m about to read the incoherent ramblings of a crazed racist’, said Frankie Boyle, former funnyman turned orthodoxy’s most faithful servant. He said out loud what his fellow guardians of right-think are usually more circumspect about saying – that just to mention Islamism is racist and anyone who does so deserves expulsion from polite society.

I wonder if Boyle would say this to the mother of the eight-year-old girl murdered in the Manchester Arena bombing. Is she racist if she talks about the Islamist who killed her daughter? Or to the friends of the three gay men stabbed to death by an Islamist in Reading, or to the family of Sir David Amess, or to the Jews of Golders Green who witnessed a knifeman threaten their co-religionists just a few weeks ago. Are these people ‘crazed racists’ if they accurately describe the ideology of the individuals who massacred or threatened their loved ones? Are Jews allowed to talk about the Islamist threat? What about women, including Muslim women, who live under the cosh of radical Islam in some parts of the UK? Can they name the thing that oppresses them, or would that also offend the moral sensibilities of this rich comic who faces no such neo-fascistic threat and therefore doesn’t have to give a fuck?

Boyle’s boorish intervention captures the Orwellianism of the ‘Islamophobia’ charge. That slur is expressly used to choke debate about the Islamist threat. The ‘anti-fascists’ of the cultural elite are no such thing. In fact, they’ve made themselves water carriers for a new fascism, the supine protectors of violent extremism from robust debate and protest. Their slippery censorship of any discussion of Islamism is far more dangerous than the far right they fight fantasy battles with. Let us not forget that one of the reasons security guards at Manchester Arena failed to question the suspicious-looking suicide bomber who massacred 21 people there in 2017 is because they feared being branded ‘Islamophobes’. Your white-saviour censorship poses a greater threat than any ‘gammon bigotry’ ever could. In silencing opposition to the Islamist ideology, in making people fear cancellation if they call out the threat in their midst, you aid and abet Islamist violence. The Manchester bomber directly benefited from the climate of moral cowardice you fake progressives have cynically constructed.

I’m going to say the thing you’re not supposed to say: there is no comparison whatsoever between anti-Semitism and ‘Islamophobia’. The former is the world’s oldest hatred and has caused the deaths of millions. The latter is an idea dreamt up by Islamists and anti-racist NGOs to stymie criticism of Islam. I’m sure nasty things have been said about Muslims since 7 October and we should absolutely condemn that. But that cannot be compared to the wave of violence Jews in Europe have experienced, which has led to Jewish kids hiding their school insignias, Jewish students removing their kippahs, and synagogues deploying security guards. To drag people’s focus from these crisis levels of anti-Semitism and back to the elite’s familiar, comfortable territory of handwringing over ‘Islamophobia’ is unforgivable. It is unconscionable. It represents the sacrifice of Jewish safety at the altar of protecting the elite’s ideology of multiculturalism from frank critique. For shame.

Brendan O’Neill is spiked’s chief political writer and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. His new book – A Heretic’s Manifesto: Essays on the Unsayable – is available to order on Amazon UK and Amazon US now. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture: Getty.

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Topics Identity Politics Politics

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