Posted: Aug 11, 2006 12:00 AM

The following is an excerpt from Londonistan, a new book by Melanie Phillips.

Britain is in denial. Having allowed the country to turn into a global hub of the Islamic jihad without apparently giving it a second thought, the British establishment is still failing even now — despite the wake-up calls of both 9/11 and the London bomb attacks of 2005 — to acknowledge what it is actually facing and take the appropriate action. Instead, it is deep into a policy of appeasement of the phenomenon that threatens it, throwing sops to both radical Islamism and the Muslim community in a panic-stricken attempt to curry favour and buy off the chances of any further attacks. This disastrous policy ignores the first law of terrorism which is that it preys on weakness. The only way to defeat it is through strength — the strength of a response based on absolute consistency and moral integrity, which arises in turn from the strength of belief in the values that are being defended. By choosing instead the path of least resistance, Britain is advertising its fundamental weakness and is thus not only greatly enhancing the danger to itself but is also enfeebling the alliance in the defence of the West.

Britain has a long and inglorious history of appeasing terrorism, thus bringing true the aphorism in which its ruling class so cynically believes that “terrorism works.” Now, however, this dubious national trait has been cemented even more firmly into the national psyche by the governing doctrine of multiculturalism, which has made it all but impossible even to acknowledge that this is a problem rooted within the religion of a particular minority community. The fervent embrace of ‘victim culture’ means instead that this minority has to be treated on its own assessment as a victim of the majority and its grievances attended to on the basis that it is these grievances which are the cause of terrorism. At the same time, however, this minority disavows any connection with terrorism and vilifies anyone who dares suggest to the contrary…

The intersection of an aggressive religious fanaticism with the multicultural ideology of victimhood has created a state of paralysis across British institutions. The refusal to admit the religious character of the threat means not only that Britain is failing to take the action it should be taking but, worse still, is providing Islamist ideologues with an even more powerful platform from which to disseminate the anti-western views which have so inflamed a section of Britain’s Muslims. The refusal to acknowledge that this is principally a war of religious ideology, and that dangerous ideas that can kill are spread across a continuum of religious thought which acts as a recruiting-sergeant for violence, is the most egregious failure by the British political and security establishment. The deeply-rooted British belief that violence always arises from rational grievances, and the resulting inability to comprehend the cultural dynamics of religious fanaticism, have furthermore created a widespread climate of irrationality and prejudice in which the principal victims of the war against the West, America and Israel, are demonised instead as its cause. …

The cultural deformities of moral relativism and victim culture that have done such damage in Britain are present in American society too. At present, they are locked in conflict with traditional values in America’s culture wars. But it doesn’t take too much imagination to envisage that, if a different administration were installed in the White House, Britain’s already calamitous slide into cultural defeatism might boost similar forces at play in the United States.

Britain is the global leader of English speaking culture. It was Britain which first developed the western ideas of the rule of law, democracy and liberal ideals and exported them to other countries. Now Britain is leading the rout of those values, allowing its culture to become vulnerable to the predations of militant Islam. If British society goes down under this twin assault, the impact will be incalculable — not just for the military defence of the west against radical Islamism, but for the very continuation of western civilisation itself.

The west is under threat from an enemy which has shrewdly observed the decadence and disarray in Europe where western civilisation first began. And the greatest disarray of all is in Britain, the very cradle of western liberty and democracy, but whose cultural confusion is now plain for all to see in Londonistan. The Islamists chose well. Britain is not what it once was. Whether it will finally pull itself together and stop sleepwalking into cultural oblivion is a question on which the future of the West may now depend.

Melanie Phillips is an acclaimed and controversial columnist for London's Daily Mail. Educated at Oxford, she won the Orwell Prize for journalism 1996. She provides an in-depth look at London as the European hub for Islamic terror and extremism in her book Londonistan.

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