As we’ve repeatedly pointed out on this site, Islamophobia is the issue over which a whole section of the Left has lost its political bearings and adopted positions barely distinguishable from the racist Right.
Nick Cohen is of course a prime example. In his latest Evening Standard column, he denounces liberals for opposing the imprisonment without trial of the Tipton Three at Guantánamo Bay (“the Americans had reasonable grounds for picking them up”) and for attacking the intended illegalisation under the government’s proposed new anti-terror law of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an organisation that has repeatedly stated its opposition to terrorist attacks such as the London bombings. As for 7/7 itself, Cohen lectures us that it had nothing whatsoever to do with the crimes of western imperialism but was solely motivated by the “psychotic ideology” of Islamism.
A very similar argument is presented by Mad Mel, with whom Cohen increasingly finds common ground, in today’s entry in Melanie Phillips’s Diary.
How liberal London got in bed with radical Islam
By Nick Cohen
Evening Standard, 8 March 2006
When Radio 4 invited the ex-editor of the Erotic Review to analyse The Road to Guantanamo, a vague notion that had been bubbling in my mind for months became a certainty. Liberal London has gone mad. It has cut its last mooring with rational debate and is floating away on a sea of self-delusion.
“I felt radicalised by it,” cried Rowan Pelling, as she announced that Channel 4’s film about the three British Muslims from Tipton the Americans arrested in Afghanistan had turned her into a militant. “I really did.”
For those of us who see the former purveyor of genteel pornography around Soho, it was a terrifying declaration. Will the bombshell turn into a human bomb and take out the decadent sex shops which once sold her magazine with an exploding Donna Karan bag?
As disconcerting was the reaction of the supposedly more serious critics with her on the weekend arts programme. Anyone who reads the papers knows that although the “Tipton Three” are innocent, the Americans had reasonable grounds for picking them up. They listened to Islamist imams in Britain, studied in a jihadi school in Pakistan and went into Afghanistan when the war began. Yet no one punctured Mrs Pelling’s new-found radicalism by raising uncomfortable facts. Nor did Michael Winterbottom consider them in his film.
There is a strange mood among the metropolitan intelligentsia at the moment. It has become a kind of class betrayal to do anything other than blame Blair and Bush for the woes of the world. On Sunday we had a spectacle more obscene than anything Rowan Pelling has published. The Archbishop of Canterbury stood in the Sudan, a country filled with the mass graves the Islamists have dug, and failed to register a squeak of protest. While crimes against humanity stared him in the face he chose to burble to David Frost about Guantanamo, inevitably, and – may his god forgive him – gay vicars.
The week before, the allegedly Left-wing feminist Clare Short hosted a Commons meeting to defend Hizb ut Tahrir, a far-Right party that wants to establish an Islamic empire, persecute homosexuals and force women into second-class citizenship. She couldn’t see that she was making a nonsense of her professed principles.
The failure of the well meaning to oppose movements that are against everything they believe in is not simply because of the disasters of the Bush presidency – although they have helped.
Since 7/7, Londoners have known that suicide bombers will kill us at random. One way of coping is to pretend that they are our fault. We feel safer if we turn our eyes from psychotic ideologies, and maintain that Islamism is merely a reasonable reaction to the “root cause” of wicked Western policy.
What we say is not true, but it is a comfort. Maybe if the erotic reviewers, filmmakers, archbishops and MPs confess our crimes, the cult of death will disband and leave us in peace.
Ordinary people call such reasoning wishful thinking. Psychiatrists call it denial.