- Let me see if I understand the BBC Rules of Engagement correctly: if you’re Robert Kilroy-Silk and you make some robust statements about the Arab penchant for suicide bombing, amputations, repression of women and a generally celebratory attitude to September 11 – none of which is factually in dispute – the BBC will yank you off the air and the Commission for Racial Equality will file a complaint to the police which could result in your serving seven years in gaol. Message: this behaviour is unacceptable in multicultural Britain.
But, if you’re Tom Paulin and you incite murder, in a part of the world where folks need little incitement to murder, as part of a non-factual emotive rant about how “Brooklyn-born” Jewish settlers on the West Bank “should be shot dead” because “they are Nazis” and “I feel nothing but hatred for them”, the BBC will keep you on the air, kibitzing (as the Zionists would say) with the creme de la creme of London’s cultural arbiters each week. Message: this behaviour is completely acceptable.
So, while the BBC is “investigating” Kilroy, its only statement on Mr Paulin was an oblique but curiously worded allusion to the non-controversy on the Corporation website: “His polemical, knockabout style has ruffled feathers in the US, where the Jewish question is notoriously sensitive.” “The Jewish question”? “Notoriously sensitive”? Is this really how they talk at the BBC?
….But it’s not really about Kilroy or Paulin or Jews, or the Saudis beheading men for (alleged) homosexuality, or the inability of the “moderate” Jordanian parliament to ban honour killing, or the fact that (as Jonathan Kay of Canada’s National Post memorably put it) if Robert Mugabe walked into an Arab League summit he’d be the most democratically legitimate leader in the room. It’s not about any of that: it’s about the future of your “multicultural” society.
One reason why the Arab world is in the state it’s in is because one cannot raise certain subjects without it impacting severely on one’s wellbeing. And if you can’t discuss issues, they don’t exist. According to Ibrahim Nawar of Arab Press Freedom Watch, in the last two years seven Saudi editors have been fired for criticising government policies. To fire a British talk-show host for criticising Saudi policies is surely over-reaching even for the notoriously super-sensitive Muslim lobby.
….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.” [Telegraph]
I don’t care about Kilroy-Silk, have never seen his show, frankly had never heard of him until now, and his editorial was fraught with error and exaggeration. But I have zero disagreement with what Steyn has to say about the situation as a whole: the fact that IN GENERAL Islam demands to be treated as exceptional, does not play well with pluralistic societies, relies for its self-esteem on accomplishments of 500+ years ago, and insists upon the primacy of religion – its own, of course – over state, and believes the tenets of its religion are above and beyond discussion.
They aren’t and it isn’t, and the more this perspective is coddled and excused the worse it gets and the longer it will take to bring mainstream Islam into line with modern, pluralistic society; and into line with modern, pluralistic society is where Islam must be led, one way or another. It would be swell if we could just “leave them alone,” which is of course what we did prior to 9/11, but we have seen where that led. Never again.