Friday, March 24, 2006


Commentary by Martin Kelly
November 16, 2004

In her compilation of French Crusader era texts, Chronicles of the Crusades, the late English linguist Margaret Shaw recorded Jean de Joinville’s account of seeing the Saracen army for the first time.

They were massed on the beach, their prisoners in front of them. The prisoners were on their knees, waiting to be beheaded.

It all sounds sort of familiar.

The recent murder of the Dutch film-maker Theo Van Gogh, shot then stabbed in broad daylight in an Amsterdam street, has brought the jihad into focus again, in all its desperate dreariness. It is dreary, because it reeks of the totalitarianism that civilised nations like the Dutch and the Brits have worked hard to avoid. Van Gogh’s crime was to challenge the treatment of women in Islamic societies. The imagery he chose for his project, having texts from the Koran painted onto the body of a young woman in a diaphanous burqa, was in the worst of all possible taste and worthy of condemnation in itself. But it did not deserve a death sentence.

There has been much wringing of hands over the effect the murder has had on Dutch multi-culturalism. Perhaps there has been a dawning realisation that the great experiment, which was in many ways intended to be a very noble and welcoming thing, has failed not because of the people who have come but because of the culture they have come from. The two most liberal and open societies on continental Europe are The Netherlands and Sweden – the last instances of political violence on the continent have been in the Netherlands and Sweden, in both instances, the killing of Van Gogh and the murder of the Swedish politician Anna Lindh, by unassimilated ethnic minorities. It makes the case against multiculturalism quite conclusive. In the November 10 Daily Telegraph, Daniel Johnson wrote that ‘the Dutch are fast becoming a nation of neo-conservatives’.

That is nonsense. Van Gogh’s alleged killer is Dutch-Moroccan. If the Dutch had gone neo, right now they’d be preparing to invade Tunisia.

The jihad may even have reached Scotland. Earlier this year, a 15 year old boy, Kriss Donald, was abducted off the street by a group of Asian youths in the heavily Asian Glasgow district of Pollokshields. His burnt body was later recovered several miles away. One of the accused has turned Queen’s Evidence, or to put it more bluntly, turned snitch. He has given evidence that the ringleader wanted to abduct a white boy and put out his eyes.

According to Bukhari’s Hadith, as quoted by the Islamic scholar Ahmed Simon on, Mohammed once ordered that a prisoner’s eyeballs be gouged out.

Those many readers of The Washington Dispatch not afflicted with MTV Memory will recall that several years ago, the country of Afghanistan was invaded in order to liberate it from the baleful influence of Taliban jihadists. This country was going to be an oasis of liberal values. They have recently had an election, or the nearest simulacrum of an election that could be managed in that country, which the Pashtun prince and Ben Kingsley look-alike Hamid Karzai has won. On November 7, the Sunday Telegraph reported that Vincent White, an American citizen and adviser to the Finance Ministry, had spent four weeks in a Kabul dungeon after it was alleged that he had paid an Afghan youth for sex. The allegations against Mr. White, which he vigorously denied, were later retracted when the youth admitted to making the allegation under torture.

Looks like the fears about trying to bolt the appurtenances of a western society on to an Islamic one were justified.

In case any think this incident an aberration, an isolated pang at the birth of a new free society, on November 11 the Daily Telegraph reported that the Afghan Supreme Court has banned – opium trading? No. Honour killing? No.

The might and majesty of the Afghan legal system was directed against what the Telegraph described as ‘the rapid liberalisation of Afghanistan’s media’. They banned cable television. Hide your kites and dim the lights, ‘cos the boys are back in town.

It’s enough to give one a jihad-ache. Jihadists are headbangers. Right now, the continent of Europe is going through a post-socialist Periwig period, almost like the license of the Georgian era, where the maintenance of welfarism, secularism and personal licence are the principle thrusts of policy. In the new Europe, it’s impossible for a person like Rocco Buttiglione to become a European Commissioner because he has expressed his belief in Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

However, the mistake that many Americans make is in thinking that all Europeans think this way. The more rabid neoconservatives and doomsayers predict that Europe will be Islamic in 50 years’ time – not so. They say that Islamic demographics will win. Not necessarily.

It may be the case that my generation, the children of the Thatcher era, are so addled by consumerism that we might not last the distance. But even if they have the standard 1.2 kids, that’s still a population of hundreds of millions for the jihad to contend with. Already, restricting immigration is a hot issue in the UK, which has historically been the most immigrant friendly nation in Europe.

We shall see. The Dutch, the Scots of Continental Europe, are a people who built an Empire that spanned the globe, based in a country that was reclaimed from the sea. They will not go down so easily.

Neither will the Brits. For all the effort of politicians and businessmen to turn us into a nation of drones, we still care deeply about our country and those who serve it, people like Private Pita Tukatukawaqa, a native of Fiji who was killed last week serving with Black Watch. We know what the jihadists don’t; that the Fijians are the Apaches of the Pacific, proud, dauntless and terrible.

I don’t fancy the jihadists’ chances one little bit.