The French writer Madame de Staël (d. 1817) once quipped that “government in Russia is despotism limited by the garrotte.”
By the same token, government in Britain is a democracy that seems to be limited by diversity. This conclusion is prompted by the murder of the Tory MP Sir David Amess by Ali Harbi Ali.
After Sir David was stabbed 17 times and died on the way to hospital, the police analysed the crime, bringing to it their awesome powers of both inductive and deductive thought.
Upon painstaking contemplation, they came to the conclusion that the murder was an act of terrorism. Really? My first reaction was that it was multi-culti diversity in action.
The BBC coyly identified the murderer as British of “seemingly” Somali descent, and another day later the conclusion was reached that “Islamist extremism” was “a potential motivation”.
I have to compliment both the police and the BBC on their fleet-footed attempts to evade the gaping pitfalls. However, not being especially coy by nature myself, I don’t feel bound by the omertà evidently sworn by our woke media and, alas, increasingly woke police.
Nor do I feel duty-bound to deliver the mantra that’s de rigueur in such reporting. It includes three obligatory points: 1) the murderer acted alone, 2) he is an emotionally disturbed loner and, most important, 3) even though he is a Muslim, his crime was in no way inspired by Islam.
Variations are permissible, such as in this case. According to the reports, Ali was “self-radicalised” during the lockdown, when he had nothing better to do than peruse jihadist websites. Even assuming that’s true, the prefix ‘self’ would only be justified if Ali had produced such posts himself. But he didn’t — someone else inundates the waves with venomous Islamic hatred.
Optional but desirable is a bow towards diversity and a reminder of the invaluable contributions made by immigrants to British culture. The category is always left general and all-encompassing, to include Albert Einstein and Peter Bauer side by side with the 108,000 Somalis who have settled in Britain since their civil war towards the end of the last century.
Another option is to ascribe the murder to its perpetrator’s oppressive poverty. This must be exercised with caution, and some fact-checking is recommended. Ali Harbi Ali, for example, lived in one of London’s most desirable neighbourhoods (courtesy of his father, formerly a trusted adviser to the Somali government).
It’s not just the content of the mantra that’s prescribed, but also the exact choice of words, or rather misnomers. The idea is to establish at least two degrees of separation between the criminal and his religion.
Thus no one can ever be killed by a Muslim. The murderer must always be identified the way the police identified Ali Harbi Ali, as an “Islamist extremist”.
The assumption being shoved down the reader’s throat is that ‘Islamist’ is somehow different from ‘Islamic’ or ‘Muslim’ (first degree of separation), and that ‘Islamist extremist’ is but a tiny subset of ‘Islamist’ (second degree). The wielders of such mandated mendacity usually explain that they are at pains to prevent an upsurge in ‘xenophobia’ in general and ‘Islamophobia’ in particular.
The cataclysm they see in their mind’s eye is a mob of tattooed, facial-metalled supporters of Millwall FC, each a Tory voter, starting to lynch innocent Muslims who run corner shops, drive taxis or go about some other lawful business.
No such outrage has happened so far, although those hypothetical lynchers have had plenty of provocation over the years. What does happen is a wave of terrorism directly inspired by Islam, whose scripture includes hundreds of verses calling for the murder of infidels, mainly Jews and Christians.
Any BBC or Guardian journo worth his salt will tell you that the Koran also contains some 6,000 other verses that have nothing to do with sectarian violence. That’s as true as it’s irrelevant.
Every aggressive doctrine (those who doubt that Islam is aggressive should cast an eye over the past 1,400 years of world history) is spearheaded by an impassioned vanguard adept at reading the founding sources selectively.
Most writings of Marx, Engels and Lenin don’t mention things like concentration camps, murder by category or abolition of private property – but some do. And Mein Kampf contains only a few passages calling for the genocide of the Jews – but it does contain them.
Yet no one demurs when the mass violence perpetrated by attentive readers of such literature is blamed on, respectively, communism and Nazism. And no one absolves those doctrines from the guilt of inspiring heinous crimes.
Nor does one detect any reluctance on the part of the same hacks to blame any real or imaginary excesses of Christianity on the underlying doctrine. This, though there isn’t a single word in the New Testament that, say, a Crusader could have cited in justification of murdering an Arab child or raping his mother.
Imagine what would be written about Christianity if the New Testament said: “Take them [unbelievers] and kill them wherever ye find them. Against such We have given you clear warrant.” Now look at what’s being said about Islam although that verse comes from the Koran (4:91), where it happily coexists with some 300 similar passages.
I’ve lost count of the times a president or a prime minister has reassured the people, sickened by yet another act of Muslim terrorism, that “Islam is a religion of peace”. Tell it to the population of southern Europe circa 711 AD.
Or, closer to our own time and theme, to the wife and five children of Sir David Amess, MP.
Requiescat in pace.