Max Hastings explains the problems of the Muslim world

Max Hastings assures Daily Mail readers that “most of the failures of today’s Muslim world are rooted in its own culture, rather than in our past misdeeds”:

The unpalatable truth is that most of the Middle East’s troubles derive from adherence to a medieval culture that recoils from innovation, promotes religion far beyond its proper place in mankind’s affairs, and institutionalises the oppression of women.

Young Winston Churchill wrote in his splendid 1899 history book The River War: ‘How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy . . . there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries.

‘The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

‘Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities . . . but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it.

‘No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.

‘Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytising faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science . . . the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.’

These were intemperate Victorian words, but who can say that they are entirely inappropriate today?

Hastings concludes:

The lessons of history are that we Westerners can do little to change the course of events in the Middle East, and are ill-advised to try.

Meanwhile, here at home we must fight with every weapon in our hands — legal, cultural and educational — to prevent the curse of Islamist militancy from spreading its wholly pernicious influence within our own societies.

What they do within their own regions of the world, it must be their affair to resolve, with such modest support as we can give. But there can be no compromise with such warped doctrines here, in the sorry name of multiculturalism.