The good, the bad and the ugly Muslim

The case of Sudesh Amman, gunned down by the police after stabbing two random passers-by in Streatham, reminds us yet again of an uncomfortable truth.

One down…

When it comes to Muslim terrorism especially, our law is ordure because it proceeds from a wrong notion.

Western governments fall over themselves trying to ascribe every such atrocity to individual grievances or idiosyncrasies. Heaven forbid they accept that people’s actions just might be motivated by their faith.

Assorted leaders feel duty-bound to insist that the terrorists’ faith has nothing to do with their behaviour. The omnipresent mantra maintains that “Islam is a religion of peace”.

One wonders what it is about Islam’s history and scriptural sources that begets this counterintuitive belief. Actually, that’s not what feeds it at all. Our politicians just share a widespread philistine conviction that everyone is like them, give or take.

Most of them are Christians, but only nominal ones. Christianity in no way affects what they feel, think or do. It’s merely a badge of some vague group identity.

Such politicians may still be good people. But they are bad Christians.

Being predominantly philistines, they believe that most Muslims are also good people, yet bad Muslims whose behaviour is as little inspired by their faith as the politicians’ behaviour is inspired by theirs.

But they are wrong in general, although some soi-disant Muslims indeed have as little piety as most soi-disant Christians. But the key difference is between ‘some’ and ‘most’.

Some Muslims drink alcohol, treat women with respect, go to the mosque only on high holidays if then, and pay no attention to its 300-odd Koran verses that call for violence towards infidels.

They are bad Muslims and, as such, may very well be good people. Good Muslims are different, and the better Muslims they are, the more hostile they are to Christians, Jews and the West in general.

Good Muslims, many of them British, dance in the street whenever a London bus or train is blown up by their coreligionists. Good Muslims believe that Sharia should take precedence over the law of the land, and 40 per cent of all British Muslims agree.

Over the past 1,400 years Islamic violence towards Westerners has only ever been mitigated by the West’s strength and resolve to keep it in check.

The strength is still there but, judging by the litany of Islam being a religion of peace, the resolve isn’t. And without resolve, ability counts for nothing.

The world began with an idea, God’s, and it may well perish by an idea, its own. In this particular instance too, the particulars of yet another act of Muslim terrorism get much attention, while its metaphysical origin is ignored.

The case of Sudesh Amman shows how the craven failure to acknowledge that Islam as such is our enemy stamps common sense into the dirt. Or drowns it in blood if you’d rather.

In 2018, Amman was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for disseminating jihadist literature and openly calling for mass murder. Such a short sentence was derisory to begin with, but what followed was sheer madness.

He was released halfway into his term, which happens automatically unless the convict does something awful in prison. I don’t know if Amman had received some deradicalisation training, but he probably had.

Against every evidence of rampant recidivism, our governments insist that prisons should be mainly educational, rather than punitive, facilities, and that most criminals leave their cells rehabilitated and ready to do charitable work in hospices.

In this case, however, the authorities showed some lack of faith in the success of Amman’s rehabilitation. In fact, he was still considered so dangerous that his every step was monitored by as many as 25 police officers, some of them armed.

This explains why Amman was shot dead less than 60 seconds into his stabbing spree. However, while congratulating the officers involved, one can’t help asking, nay screaming, this natural question: “Why the hell was he at large in the first place?!?”

A government’s primary function is to protect its citizens from harm. Our government, hamstrung by its ideological wokishness, is remiss on this score.

Our ministers refuse to accept that, as far as we are concerned, good Muslims are ipso facto bad people who endanger our society. That’s why no measure currently mooted will succeed.

For example, the government is likely to abandon the provision for automatic early release. That’s good, but are we to understand that if, say, Amman had served his full three-year sentence, he wouldn’t have knifed anybody?

Also mentioned is a further educational effort aimed at converting good Muslims into bad. That too is doomed to failure because good, which is to say devout, which is to say fanatical, Muslims won’t be swayed by rational arguments.

If such measures won’t work, what will? What are we going to do about it? as Britons invariably ask.

My answer is let’s first agree on what it is. Once we’ve done so, the specifics will take care of themselves.

The Ammans of this world can’t be allowed to roam our streets, before, after or instead of their incarceration. Keeping them off can be achieved by various measures, none of which I can confidently predict will be taken.

I’d start with the old notion of protectio trahit subjectionem, et subjectio protectionem. Loosely translated, it means that citizenship, the right to be protected by one’s country, is contingent on one’s allegiance, submission to the country’s laws.

Since Amman and his ilk manifestly renounce such allegiance, their citizenship should be revoked, regardless of where they were born. Since they wish to live by Sharia law, I’m sure they’ll be happy to be deported to a country where it’s in force.

Then, any mosque or Islamic centres in which a single jihadist word is uttered must be summarily shut. The same goes for Muslim schools, newspapers and other media.

If a jihadist crime has been committed, the perpetrator’s faith must be treated as an aggravating, rather than extenuating, circumstance. The ensuing sentences would then be measured not in months or years, but in decades.

Also, the death penalty for jihadist murder must be reintroduced, bringing the criminals together with their 72 virgins gagging for it in paradise. If we feel justified killing murderous jihadists in Iraq or Syria, why can’t we do the same at home? If a moral distinction exists, it escapes me.

And so on, so forth, one exercise in futility after another. For no government will ever have the clarity of thought and the strength of resolve to do anything about the problem – nor indeed acknowledge its true source.

All we’ll hear is a companion mantra to “what are we going to do about it”: “something must be done”. And something will be done, to no effect whatsoever.

One wonders how Queen Victoria’s government would have approached this problem. Oh well, it’s best not to.

Will finds Bafta baffling

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge adorned last night’s Bafta ceremony, he in the capacity of the British academy’s president, she as his charming wife.

“Does this look like I’m smiling, you bigots you”

I don’t know about Kate, who has mastered the essential royal art of keeping shtum, but Will, who hasn’t, wasn’t happy. His chagrin was caused by the absence of off-white winners in the directing and acting categories.

Britain, he said, has produced “incredible film-makers, actors, producers, directors and technicians, men and women from all backgrounds and ethnicities enriching our lives through film.” However, BAFTA has seen fit to ignore those incredible achievements at awards’ time.

Will just couldn’t get his head around that slap in the face of modern sensibilities. “It simply cannot be right in this day and age,” he fumed, even to be “talking again about the need to do more to ensure diversity in the sector and in the awards process”.

He’s right about that: this should never come up in civilised conversation. If it does, people might think that Harry isn’t the only apple that didn’t fall far from the tree that was Diana.

Why does HRH think the incomprehensible need to talk about this state of affairs arose in the first place? I can see only two possibilities, even theoretical ones.

One, Bafta’s voting members are all racist bigots who have formed a conspiracy to keep deserving black aspirants out. Two, they actually voted for what they regarded as the more deserving candidates.

The first possibility really isn’t possible. Anyone who follows such matters knows that Bafta members, as a group, fit every nuance of the word ‘woke’, and then some that this polyvalent word hasn’t yet acquired.

This lot are more likely to support Hamas or Jeremy Corbyn than allow a racist thought to cross their minds. This, no matter how broadly HRH would choose to define racism. Vote for an actor just because he is black – possibly. Vote against him for the same reason – never.

That leaves only one possibility: they genuinely voted on merit, assisted in this undertaking by Britain’s demographics. It pains me, a lifelong champion of diversity, to acknowledge this, but blacks make up only 1.63 per cent of the country’s population.

Even assuming that they are proportionately represented in the film industry, which they probably aren’t for various social reasons, on purely statistical grounds they can’t be expected to dominate BAFTA awards – much as Will and I feel they should.

For one thing, such a worthy end would demand rather drastic means. Script writers would have to concentrate on producing stories that involve blacks. That’s unlikely, considering that most writers are shamefully white.

Even if they are as passionate about diversity as Will and I are, when it comes to practising their craft writers tend to write about what they know. If most of them are white middle class (I’m guessing here, but the guess rings true), those chaps would be hard-pressed to pack their plot lines with black characters.

That means fewer roles for black actors – unless of course our cinema follows the worthy if recent tradition of our theatre and begins to cast black actors in white roles, such as Hamlet or Lady Macbeth.

To wit, Sam Mendes’s 1917, which won seven prizes last night, including the one for the best film. It’s about the First World War, fought at a time when most inhabitants of these Isles were irredeemably white. Hence, to introduce even a meagre platoon of black protagonists, Mr Mendes, who is a stickler for historical accuracy, would have had to err against his artistic integrity.

So how does HRH Prince Will propose to “ensure diversity in the awards process”? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m afraid he wishes to abandon meritocracy in said process (a note to HRH: the word process is almost always redundant – “in the awards” would have been better English, unless of course proper style is discriminatory).

Hence black directors, actors and so on should be given BAFTA awards simply on the strength of their race, regardless of merit. Americans call this affirmative action, we call it reverse discrimination, but highly visible public figures in either country generally refrain from demanding it in so many words.

Reverse discrimination is these days practised much more than the old kind, but quietly. The assumption is that it’s one of those things that go without saying.

Will should really hold his polo horses, for a while at any rate. His own family has already taken a step towards racial integration (or rather half a step, for Meghan is only half-black). There’s no need to take another stride just yet, especially considering how the first one has worked out.

I’m not suggesting he douse his flaming conscience with water, but perhaps indulging it in private would do him – and, more important, our monarchy – quite some good. He has good role models to follow in his family, and I mean his grandmother and his great-grandfather. Not his mother.

Hey, EU!

Decorum won’t allow me to write the next, logical sentence. But you get the sentiment.

These flags are still flying in Fulham today. The message doesn’t seem to have sunk in.

Perhaps it could have been expressed differently, say with a reference to shaking their dust from our feet. That would have made the message more civilised, but no more heartfelt.

For the British have regained their right to be just that, British, a nation governed the British way, according to British customs, history and laws. That’s not what our metropolitan trendies want to be.

They’d rather belong to a vast quasi-imperial contrivance, whose fine points the plebs are supposed to be too stupid to grasp. ‘Plebs’ to them has to be not a class notion, but a political one, defined as a full synonym of Leavers.

Otherwise this attitude would be even more idiotic than it is, because the ranks of Leavers included some of our finer minds, such as the late Roger Scruton, not to mention a large group of my close friends, who not only know and understand European culture, but also produce some of it.

Any one of them – well, false modesty aside, us – is not noticeably inferior intellectually to any Remainer out there, or perhaps all of them combined. But those sore losers do have a point: many of those who voted Leave may have trouble coming up with a tight definition of, say, sovereignty.

Yet they’d have no such problem defining identity. Not that the need would ever arise: British people don’t need to define Britishness. It’s indelibly written in their hearts.

They love their country, are proud of it and hate to see it lose its character to an influx of alien laws, regulations and – truth be told – throngs. Some of them, not many, may indeed dislike foreigners. But, more important, all of them love Britain and the British.

More than just about any other European national identity, Britishness has a vital political component. France can remain France under her 17 different constitutions adopted during the time when Britain has had just one. France can even remain France as part of Nazi Germany.

Britain isn’t like that. Take away our monarchy, the sovereignty of our Parliament, and the rule of our common law, and Britain wouldn’t be Britain any longer.

The bonds tying together France are mostly cultural, linguistic and perhaps even gastronomic. That’s why the country did well under German occupation: everybody still spoke French, the food was less plentiful but still French, Sartre’s dramas were staged and Marcel Carné’s films shot – Paris reste Paris, as Maurice Chevalier was singing. 

That’s why the French are happy to emulate Messrs Esau and Faust and dissolve their sovereignty in the cauldron of a stew cooked by German and French bureaucrats towards the end of Germany’s previous attempt to unite Europe.

And that’s why they – even the more intelligent among them – fail to understand the British on this subject. The French don’t realise that, while Britain has always been governed by the rule of law, she, unlike France, has never been governed by the rule of lawyers.

Most of our laws, even when they don’t have obvious scriptural antecedents, have gradually developed over centuries as reflections of the English national character. That’s why some things that are traditionally sacrosanct to our governments, such as property rights, are to those clever French legislators statements of intent at best and petty annoyances at worst.

Hence, for example, our country roads are hardly ever as straight as in France. A countryside is made up of private holdings, making it impossible for a British planner to put a ruler on the map, draw a straight line some 30 miles long and turn it into a road without encroaching on someone’s property. Yet that’s precisely what the French did throughout the 19th century, most blatantly during the reign of Napoleon III.

Personally, I’m grateful for this: driving along those straight ribbons is easier and safer than along the meandering sunken lanes in England. But they never let one forget how profoundly different, not to say incompatible, the two countries are.

The French refuse to acknowledge this. They have an ill-conceived notion that they could recapture their past grandeur by hanging on to Germany’s coattails, while bossing every other EU member.

I think they are wrong even as far as France’s interests are concerned. But that’s their business, I just wish they kept their noses out of ours. Fat chance.

By way of a fond good-bye, Manny Macron explained that the Brexit campaign only became victorious due to “lies, exaggerations and simplifications”. Presumably, as opposed to the Remain campaign that was the paragon of veracity, integrity and subtlety.

To illustrate his point, Manny lied in his very next sentence. Britain, he said, became the first country to leave the European Union in 70 years. This lie is popular with all EU fanatics, including our home-grown ones.

For the European Union, a single supranational state in the making, hasn’t existed for 70 years. It was founded on 7 February, 1992, at Maastricht. Until then, it had been called the European Economic Community.

The difference goes beyond semantics. For the intention of the EU founders has always been political: to create a single state. Yet, for tactical purposes, they lied that all they wanted was economic harmony. This is how one of the EU godfathers, Jean Monnet, put it in the 1950s:

“Europe’s nations should be guided towards the superstate without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose but which will irreversibly lead to federation.”

Thus the EU is a political contrivance built on the termite-eaten foundation of perpetual lies. When one of its functionaries accuses those who exposed the lies for what they are of being themselves liars, only one answer is possible.

In Manny’s own language: “Va t’en…” In our own language, congratulations, Britain. We may still end up in hell, but at least it’ll be one of our own making.