There’s the rapid growth of Muslim enclaves in British cities where women are brutally oppressed in accordance with sharia. There’s the disturbing new pattern of censorship and self-censorship exemplified by novelist Sebastian Faulks, who in 2009, after incurring Muslim wrath for disparaging the Koran—“The consequences of saying things like this could be quite severe,” warned the Islamic Society of Britain darkly—rushed out a pathetic, groveling apology. There’s the spineless defeatism that led the Archbishop of Canterbury, in a 2008 speech, to whitewash sharia and urge “constructive accommodation” of it in the United Kingdom.
And there’s that very accommodation. Police have repeatedly refused to protect abused Muslim wives and children, for example. A couple of weeks ago, a swimming pool in Manchester popular with Muslims turned away a toddler because she wasn’t of the faith. Examples like this become even more troubling in light of a 2007 report from the Dutch intelligence service, which noted that European imams who had previously urged their flocks to become terrorists were now calling for them to shariafy Western society gradually, through a long-term campaign of bullying, intimidating, guilt-tripping, and grievance-mongering.
More and more Western politicians, alas, have turned themselves into Islamic theologians, taking it upon themselves to assert that the jihadists have misunderstood their religion. The sobering truth is that jihad—the effort, in whatever form it may take, to bring the “House of War” (that is, the non-Muslim world) under sharia—is consistent with the teachings of the Koran and the example of Mohammed.
True, the great majority of British Muslims aren’t terrorists. But this is far from saying that they are assimilating to Western norms of freedom and democracy. Consider: 40 percent of British Muslims surveyed by the Telegraph in 2006 told pollsters that they’d like to see Britain controlled by sharia; two years later, 36 percent of young British Muslims queried by the same paper supported the execution of apostates. The difference between these Muslims and the terrorists isn’t their ideology; it’s what they’re prepared to do personally in its name.
This suggests that Cameron was wrong to draw the contrast that he did: “Islam is a religion observed peacefully and devoutly by over a billion people; Islamist extremism is a political ideology supported by a minority.” The fact, again, is that what Cameron calls “Islamist extremism” is for many Muslims belief put into action.