Melanie Phillips has a must-read essay on the threat of Islamism.
First of all, let me define my terms and say what I mean by Islamism and liberalism. Islamism is the politicised version of Islam which mandates jihad, or holy war against the infidel and conquest of the non-Islamic world for Islam. I’m well aware of the argument that there’s no difference between Islamism and Islam: that’s a theological argument for others to have.
By liberalism I mean the commitment to a free society, founded above all on the separation of secular government from religious worship — from which follow the concepts of equal respect for all people, freedom of conscience, tolerance and the rule of law.
These two concepts, Islamism and liberalism, are currently engaged in a fight to the death. My argument is that liberalism is in danger of losing this fight because it has so badly undermined itself and departed from its own core concepts that it is now paralysed by moral and intellectual muddle.
It’s a long article, but as vital as it is clear-eyed.
In the fight to defend the west, true liberals should face down the mind-twisting manipulation and say this: that Muslims are welcome and deserve respect for their way of life, but on the same terms as everyone else. There can be no discrimination, after all, as even multiculturalists must agree. And these are the terms laid down for everyone since the Enlightenment: that minorities are welcome to form communities of faith or culture, but they must accept that where there is a conflict with the host culture, the minority gives way. If they do not accept this but insist that the host society must change to accommodate their values, then they are by definition not moderate but extremists; not citizens but colonisers; not Muslims seeking religious freedom but Islamists seeking to destroy freedom.
I use the terms Jihadist and Jihadistan. I think Islamism is another word for the same enemy. A rose by any other name would be as thorny.
Her chilling conclusion:
Liberals also think they are superior in intelligence to everyone else. So they don’t understand that the Islamists are actually playing them for suckers, exploiting the intrinsic weakness of a liberal society they correctly assess as decadent: no longer prepared to fight for its values because it no longer even knows what they are.
What we are living through in the west is nothing short of a repudiation of the Enlightenment, a repudiation of reason; and its substitution by irrationality, obscurantism, bigotry and clerical totalitarianism — all facilitated by our so-called ‘liberal’ society, and all in the name of ‘human rights’. Western liberalism now embraces its Islamist mortal enemies and attacks its American and Israeli allies in the fight to defend civilisation.
We are giving the Islamists the message that we are theirs for the taking. This is how liberalism may disappear up its own backside.