Friday, July 15, 2005

Charles the Hammer made them do it 

Gerard Baker revisits the "grievance" issue:
Imagine this. Suppose we'd never invaded Iraq, and terrorists had blown up London in pursuit of their cause, what would the apologists have said about last week's attacks? In fact we know exactly what they would have said because many of them did say it after al-Qaeda attacked the US on September 11 - long before any American or British soldier set foot in Afghanistan or Iraq.

They said it was because of our support for Israel and its "brutal occupation of Palestinian territory", our complicity in the victimisation of Arabs from the Balfour Declaration to the ascent of the Jewish lobby in America.

But what if there had never been an Israel and instead a Palestinian state existed peaceably in the heart of the Middle East, and the terrorists had still attacked us? What would the apologists have said then? They would have said, of course, that we were to blame for having abused the Arabs and Muslims generally for decades through our colonial ambitions and economic exploitation of Arabia and the broader Middle East.

And what if there had never been a British Empire and British occupation of Arab lands, and terrorists had still attacked us? Then it would have been the Crusades, and the long-standing ill-treatment of Muslims at the hands of deplorable Christian warriors.

And what if there had never been a crusade, and they'd still attacked us? I'm stumped at this point to confect an answer, but I can guarantee that whatever it was that would have been said it would have been Britain's fault.
Baker might be stumped, but I'll help him along: if there were no Crusades and the long-standing ill treatment of Muslims at the hands of deplorable Christian warriors, there would not be any problem today, because - to quote Gibbon's "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" about the consequences of Charles Martel's victory over the Muslim invaders at Tours in 732,
a victorious line of march had been prolonged above a thousand miles from the Rock of Gibraltar to the banks of the Loire; the repetition of an equal space would have carried the Saracens to the confines of Poland and the Highlands of Scotland; the Rhine is not more impassable than the Nile or Euphrates, and the Arabian fleet might have sailed without a naval combat into the mouth of the Thames. Perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet.
In other words, it's the fact that the West had over time stopped the Muslim advance and in many places attempted to roll it back - sometimes successfully, as in Spain and the Balkans; sometimes not, as in the Levant and Palestine - that ultimately lies at the root of jihadi anger. That the House of War has never in the end been absorbed into the House of Islam is the uber-grievance that drives bin Laden and his ilk - and it's one that's pretty difficult to compromise on.

Here's a good short primer on how Islamofascists view the world. And here's another must-read piece for today, by Dr. Mohammed T. Al-Rasheed in "Arab News" on multiculturalism that might have gone too far in London:
As the UK ambassador to the UN said, "It is a city where 300 languages are spoken and 200 nationalities live side by side." With all due respect to his excellency, I'd rather it spoke one language and had one nationality.


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