TCS Daily


The Making of 'Londonistan'

By Melanie Phillips - May 11, 2006 12:00 AM

LONDON -- Like much of Europe, Britain's demographic composition is changing radically and very fast. At the most conservative estimate, its population of sixty million will rise over the next three decades by six or seven million, with 83 per cent of that new growth coming from immigration and most of that from the third world. The undesirability of such a drastic -- and never debated -- development is one of Britain's great Unmentionables.

For decades, immigration has been a taboo subject in Britain. Large scale immigration from the 1960s onwards, first from the Caribbean and then from the Asian subcontinent into what was previously a relatively homogeneous society, played on post-colonial guilt to produce a neuralgic preoccupation with the supposed racist attitudes of the indigenous majority.

The British governing class came to believe that upholding the majority culture was racist, that Britain's history was something to be ashamed of and that its national identity was the cause of prejudice, intolerance and conflict.

One consequence of this taboo was that the widespread abuse of the asylum system was never dealt with. Illegal immigrants simply vanish into British society. No-one now knows who has come into Britain and who has departed. In addition, the government has encouraged mass immigration in order to change the nature of the country.

The prevailing culture of non-discriminatory entitlement and minority rights meant the courts came to thwart all government attempts to enforce immigration controls. At root was the judges' belief that the citizens of the world were entitled to exactly the same rights as the citizens of Britain. The result has been the deconstruction of British citizenship and the loss of sovereignty over national borders, laws and values.

Through this combination of ideology and incompetence, Britain has simply lost control of its borders. While most immigrants are law-abiding, the resulting chaos has made security impossible as the intelligence service has no means of keeping tabs on suspected terrorists.

This was one of the key drivers behind the creation of what is known derisively as 'Londonistan', as Britain became the epicentre of the Islamic jihad in Europe. The country's homage to freedom of speech, generous welfare entitlements and the fact that immigrants could simply lose themselves in the system turned Britain into a magnet for Islamist terrorists and extremists.

But anyone who questioned the desirability of such trends was promptly denounced as a racist. Immigration was held to be an absolute good. Multiculturalism became the driving force of British life, ruthlessly policed by an army of local and national bureaucrats enforcing a doctrine of state-mandated virtue to promote racial, ethnic and cultural difference and stamp out majority values.

When, however, British Muslim youths turned themselves into human bombs last July to blow their fellow British citizens to bits, the attractions of multiculturalism suddenly seemed rather less obvious. Nevertheless, multiculturalism's grip upon the British psyche remained so strong that Britain was unable to condemn the self-serving and mind-twisting excuses served up by the British Muslim community, but instead endorsed them. Many in England agreed that what caused the bombers to strike London was lack of integration, 'Islamophobia,' and rage over the war in Iraq. No one asked why British Muslims refused to integrate. Few questioned the process by which any attempt by the west to defend itself would be turned upside down and misrepresented as aggression against the innocent.

Here indeed was the multicultural rub, the mind-bending reasoning by which the doctrine locks its adherents into the mother of all Catch-22s.

Since minorities are always victims of the majority, even when minorities do wrong, it's therefore the majority's fault. This is the victim culture of grievance. And the greatest exponents of this moral inversion are those Muslims for whose pathological inferiority complex it seems to be tailor-made.

Thus they view their own aggression as defence because of their belief that, since Islam represents perfection, the weakness of Islam relative to the West must be caused by western aggression. Since therefore they see their culture under attack, they believe it is legitimate to 'defend' Islam by attacks they reconceive as defence.

Their exaggerated notions of shame and honour mean that every slight turns into a major grievance, disadvantage morphs into paranoia and Islam itself is perceived to be under siege everywhere, thus providing extremists with the justification for attacks.

The more the free world defends itself, the more the Islamists claim they are under attack. So the more atrocities there are against the west, the more the Islamists claim they are victims of Islamophobia. Truly, this is a dialogue of the demented.

But the hallmark of 'Londonistan' -- which is a state of mind as well as a haven for terrorists -- is that non-Muslims too have absorbed some of these tropes because of the multicultural mindset that the minority perspective is the legitimate one.

In doing so, they are not only endangering free society but also cutting the ground from under the feet of truly moderate Muslims, who value the truth, freedom and tolerance at the heart of western civilisation. The problem is that western liberals no longer seem to share their admiration.

The national identity of Britain is based on a particular culture, history, language, religion, law, customs and values. It cannot still remain recognisably itself if it makes itself home to large numbers of people who cannot or do not wish to assimilate into that identity. That's not racism. It's national survival.

Melanie Phillips is a columnist for London's Daily Mail and is the author of Londonistan. Her website is www.melaniephillips.com

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