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by Melanie Phillips


AFTER 9/11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui was sentenced to life im prisonment, his family blamed - the British. Their son had had first arrived in London in the 1990s for an MA course in international business studies - and been radicalized and recruited for jihad at London's Finsbury Park mosque.

It was the British, his mother said, who turning a blind eye to the violence and spread of hate - and thus allowed this youth with a troubled and violent family background to be recruited to the cause of Islamist terrorism.

Leaving aside her complaint's self-serving aspect, she was undoubtedly correct.

Because British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been such a staunch friend to the United States, Americans assume that - unlike Europe - Britain generally is on side. They could not be more wrong. The dismaying truth is that Blair is an aberration in his own country. Instead of fighting radical Islamism, virtually the entire British political, intellectual and security establishment can't even bring themselves to name the threat.


THROUGHOUT British society there runs deep hostility to America, Israel and the war in Iraq.

London was dubbed "Londonistan" because, during the 1990s, Britain allowed its capital to be turned into the principal hub of Islamist radicalism and terrorism outside of Saudi Arabia. But Londonistan is more than the physical presence of Islamist extremists: It is also a state of mind. A systematic, decades-long assault on Britain's values from within has created a cultural vacuum that Islamist extremism has exploited from without.

Islamist radicals have poured into Britain since the 1980s precisely because of Britain's tradition of free speech, reluctance to impose immigration controls and generous welfare state.

At the same time, British culture was steadily disintegrating. Unlike America, which still believes that its values are a beacon to the rest of the world, Britain has been consumed by a loss of cultural nerve that has all but destroyed its belief in itself as a nation with values of which it can be proud.

Instead, its governing class believes the nation is the source of all ills from prejudice to war, and that legitimacy resides instead in supranational institutions such as the United Nations and European Union and in "universal" values like the European Convention on Human Rights, which must trump Britain's own.

In the past, the strategy was to integrate immigrants into the majority culture. No longer. The doctrine of multiculturalism holds that all groups have equal status. Except they are not in fact equal, because the majority is said to be inherently racist and illegitimate - so there can be no majority culture into which immigrants are encouraged to integrate.

MULTICULTURALISM plus radical Islam is an explosive cocktail. Al though the vast majority of British Muslims are opposed to violence, polls have shown that some 13 percent think further attacks on the United States would be justified, 40 percent to 60 percent want to be governed by Sharia law, and nearly two fifths believe that Jews in Britain are a "legitimate target" as part of the "ongoing struggle for justice in the Middle East."

And non-Muslim Britons do not rise up in horror at these attitudes - instead, they more or less agree. Widespread ignorance about the Middle East contributes to the belief that Israel is the persecutor of the Palestinians and that American foreign policy has been derailed by global Jewish influence.

The mainly left-wing media daily pumps out a highly distorted and inflammatory version of events in Iraq and the Middle East. In conservative circles, meanwhile, traditional isolationism and an obsession with stability have combined with a profound collapse of trust in Tony Blair to produce widespread hostility to the war in Iraq.

The British anti-war movement is today an enormous platform for Islamist extremism that has given rise to an open season of vilification against Israel and the Jews.

The problem lies in a refusal to acknowledge that Islamist extremism is rooted in religion. Instead, ministers and security officials prefer to think of it as a protest movement against grievances such as Iraq or Palestine, or "Islamophobia." They simply ignore the statements and signs which show unequivocally that the aim is to Islamicize the west.

THE former FBI head of counter-intelligence, Oliver Revell, says both America and Britain suffer from "a fastidious reluctance to enter into the sphere of religion." In Britain, the result has been a disastrously misguided strategy to appease Islamist extremism, in the belief that defusing Muslim rage will buy off further attacks.

So the policy is to prevent terrorism by tackling its "root causes" - by which the government means combating "distorted public and media perceptions of Islam and Muslims" and avoiding using the term "Islamic fundamentalism." This, of course, is simply real distortion and censorship.

Worse still, British officials are actually promoting the religious extremists of the Muslim Brotherhood in the mistaken belief that they are a preferable substitute for al Qaeda. A committee set up to advise Tony Blair how to combat Muslim extremism turned out to be stuffed with Muslim extremists, who promptly declared that the causes of Muslim terrorism were deprivation, discrimination and Islamophobia.

The attempt to get the Muslim community to tackle its extremism thus turned into a demand for Britain to treat them as the principal victim of British society, and a demand that Britain make amends by altering its foreign policy, and dictating how people talked and thought about Islam.

In a recent speech to a Muslim audience, the then-Foreign Secretary Jack Straw blamed the tension between the Islamic world and the west on Europe's hostility to Muslim immigration and to religion in general.

Both Britain and the United States are turning a blind eye to the fact that the source of Islamic terror is radical Islam. Students training to be imams at a college with strong Iranian links are being taught to despise non-Muslims as "filth." Meanwhile, radical Muslim chaplains promote an extremist agenda in U.S. prisons.

BRITAIN is the mother-ship for American values and the brand leader of English-speaking culture. The Londonistan mindset is being replicated in America: on campus, in the media and in official circles. If Britain goes down under this assault, the forces in America now holding back the tide of cultural immolation will be immeasurably weakened.

"Londonistan" is a threat not just to Britain, but to the whole of the free world.


Melanie Phillips is a columnist for the Daily Mail (London); her book "Londonistan" is available in U.S. stores or through the internet. It was published in May 2006 by Encounter Books. ISBN: 1594031444

This article appeared in the New York Post Online Edition June 4, 2006.


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