If Martin Amis, who has just taken up a teaching post at the University of Manchester, should happen to bump into the Marxist literary critic Terry Eagleton on campus, it could be an uncomfortable meeting. In the new introduction to the 2007 edition of his classic book, Ideology: An Introduction, Eagleton launches an impassioned attack on the views of “Amis and his ilk” who argue that the West needs to clamp down on Islam.
The spur for Eagleton’s criticism is Amis’s assertion that, as the Islamic population swells, “the Muslim community will have to suffer until it gets its house in order“. Amis has suggested “strip-searching people who look like they’re from the Middle East or from Pakistan”, preventing Muslims from travelling, and further down the road, deportation. “Not the ramblings of a British National Party thug,” writes Eagleton, “but the reflections of Martin Amis, leading luminary of the English metropolitan literary world.”