A thought for the day from my bestselling book After America:
According to Mushtaq Yufzai, the Taliban have a saying:
'Americans have all the watches, but we've got all the time.'
Cute. If it's not a Taliban proverb, it would make an excellent country song. It certainly distills the essence of the 'clash of civilizations': Islam is playing for tomorrow, whereas much of the west has, by any traditional indicator, given up on the future.
Time marches on. A final word from MalmÃ¶, where, as I noted last week, up to a thousand "refugees" per day are arriving for "asylum". MalmÃ¶, as it happens, is also the hometown of the Right Reverend Eva Brunne, Bishop of Stockholm. Her Grace is the first lesbian bishop anywhere in the world, and the first to be in an official same-sex "registered partnership" with another priestess in the Church of Sweden, the Reverend Gunilla LindÃ©n. The Bishop's motto is "Don't show favoritism" - and she lives it, at least where Christians are concerned:
Bishop Eva Brunne has proposed to remove the Christian symbols of the Seamen's Church in Freeport to make it more inviting for visiting sailors from other religions.
The bishop wants to temporarily make the Seamen's Church available to all, for example by marking the direction of Mecca and removing Christian symbols...
Why not just cut to the chase and blow the church sky-high like ISIS have just done with Palmyra? Wouldn't that make it even more "inviting"?
~Barack Obama has the timing of a comic genius. The ink isn't even dry on his historic rapprochement with Iran and already the ayatollahs have formed a new alliance with Putin. Meanwhile, following another mass murder in an another "gun-free zone", the President calls a press conference to wonder why America can't take the sensible prudent measures Australia has taken. Barely has he left the podium when a 15-year-old Aussie Muslim mysteriously manages to acquire a gun in gun-free Oz and fatally shoot a police accountant outside the headquarters of the New South Wales Police.
Here's the official reaction to Curtis Cheng's murder as rounded up by the Sydney Telegraph's Tim Blair:
"We must not vilify or blame the entire Muslim community with the actions of what is, in truth, a very, very small percentage of violent extremist individuals," [Prime Minister Malcolm] Turnbull said after Cheng's death, in a speech similar to speeches worldwide from gutless politicians following their own ÂIslamic atrocities.
The reaction would be interesting if Turnbull made the same excuse for domestic violence: "We must not vilify or blame the entire male community ..." His deputy leader, Julie Bishop, chimed in on Sunday with this strange line: "When a 15-year-old boy can be so radicalised that he can carry out a politically motivated killing or an act of terrorism, then it's a time for the whole nation to take stock."
"Politically motivated"? Really? Does Bishop imagine that Jabar considered the obstructive senate, pondered various opinion polls, factored in the possible outcome of the royal commission into trade unions and decided, on balance, that it was time to shoot an accountant in the back of the head?
A politically motivated killing is what Bishop did to Tony Abbott, whose replacement presented further weasel words. "The issue of radicalisation, particularly of young people, as young as 15 in this case, is a very, very complex one," he declared. No, it isn't. It is absurdly simple: a number of Muslims in Australia want to kill non-Muslims.
This only becomes complicated when you try to deny it.
I think that's a very good way of putting it. Even with the less squishy western politicians, it's all one-step-forward-two-steps-back. I was very moved by Miss Bishop's splendid visit to the offices of Charlie Hebdo and the directness of her message ("Love your work"), so this response was very discouraging.
When an assurance comes with the imprimatur of government, it always helps to ask to see the raw data. A decade ago, a few days after the London Tube bombings, I wrote:
If "of course" Mr Blair and Mr Paddick and the rest do indeed know that "the vast majority of Muslims" do not favour terrorism, is that because they've run the numbers and have a ballpark figure on the very very very slim minority of Muslims who do? And, if so, what is it? 0.02 per cent? Or two per cent? Or 20 per cent?
And, if they haven't run the numbers, why do they claim to speak with authority on this matter?
Let's take Malcolm Turnbull at his word that it's only "a very very small percentage of violent extremist individuals". What is the actual percentage? In the aforementioned MalmÃ¶, where up to a thousand mostly young male "refugees" arrive each day, suppose the "very very small percentage" is two per cent. That's 20 brand new "violent extremists" per day. During the Northern Irish "Troubles", MI5 estimated that there were no more than a hundred active members of the IRA at any one time - that's to say, people actively involved in shooting and killing. So MalmÃ¶ is taking in the equivalent of the entire IRA every week.
Tim Blair gets to the nub of the matter: A number of Muslims want to kill non-Muslims. Do we have the capacity to distinguish the murderous Muslims from the non-murderous ones? Is it indeed worth the effort given that the non-murderous ones share many of the same goals, such as Sharia? What's the justification for an immigration policy that you know will result in a certain amount of "violent extremism", no matter how "very very small" the percentage? As I wrote on the tenth anniversary of the Tube bombings:
I think somewhere deep off the books in an eyes-only manila file someone somewhere in Her Majesty's Government does have the data. And I think the data would lead you to conclude that, if you were as committed to those amorphous "British values" as Mr Blair claimed to be that day, you would use every means possible in a free society to restrict Muslim immigration, charge and convict those who support the Queen's enemies, and ensure that disaffected young men like Germaine Lindsay do not have a big hole where their sense of national identity is, a hole that Islamic imperialism is only too happy to fill.
Instead, in the decade since July 7th 2005, Muslim immigration has accelerated. No one is surprised to be told there are now more Muslim Britons serving with ISIS than with the British armed forces.
And so it goes in Oz, and Sweden, too. But we have smartphones, and they have all the time.
~A lesbian bishop demanding the cross be replaced by a marker pointing toward Mecca would seem too crude and obvious for most novelists. So instead here's a passage from Michel Houellebecq's latest novel Submission, published on the very day of the Charlie Hebdo shootings. :
Through the bay window , I watched the sun setting over the arena. The silence became a little embarrassing. Well, if he wanted to put his cards on the table, two could play at that game.
'There's a condition, though...' I said, cautiously. 'And it isn't trivial...'
He gave a slow nod of the head.
'You think... You think I'm someone who could actually convert to Islam?'
He gazed at the floor, as if lost in intense personal reflections, the he looked me in the eye. 'I do.'
The smile he gave me was luminous, innocent.
~Tomorrow, Tuesday, I'll be swinging by Sean Hannity's show at Fox News. I may put in a word for my new book, which I see is favorably reviewed in The Tulsa Beacon. I'm also honored to be part of a new book marking the 800th birthday of Magna Carta.