It is hard to resist the symbolism of the Islamic State establishing a base for its murderous designs in the so-called capital of Europe at a time when the European idea is weaker than at any time since the 1950s. A jihadi loves a vacuum, as Syria demonstrates. Belgium as a state, and Belgium as the heart of the European Union are as close to a vacuum as Europe offers these days.
As Julia Lynch noted recently in The Washington Post, Molenbeek’s radicalism is not new. It was “home to one of the attackers in the 2004 commuter train bombings in Madrid and to the Frenchman who shot four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in August 2014. The Moroccan shooter on the Brussels-Paris Thalys train in August 2015 stayed with his sister there.”
This is an outrage. Splintered Belgium had lost control of Molenbeek. A heavily Muslim district of Brussels had in effect seceded. If this were the extent of the problem, it would be grave. But Molenbeek is just the most acute manifestation of a European failure.
The former head of Britain’s Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), Trevor Phillips, has admitted he “got almost everything wrong” regarding immigration in a new report, claiming Muslims are creating “nations within nations” in the West.
Phillips says followers of Islam hold very different values from the rest of society and many want to lead separate lives.
The former head of the U.K.’s equalities watchdog also advocates the monitoring of ethnic minority populations on housing estates to stop them becoming “ghetto villages.”
Phillips was the author of a 1996 report denouncing “Islamophobia” in Britain. Now he’s on the other side, saying that there’s still a lot of Islamophobia, but there’s a lot of concrete reason to be afraid of Islam in Britain. Kind of late for that, innit? There’s a new shock poll out in Britain, in advance of a documentary, reporting in part that:
• One in five Muslims in Britain never enter a non-Muslim house
• 39 per cent of Muslims, male and female, say a woman should always obey her husband
• 31 per cent of British Muslims support the right of a man to have more than one wife
• 52 per cent of Muslims did not believe that homosexuality should be legal
• 23 per cent of Muslims support the introduction of Sharia law rather than the laws laid down by parliament
The documentary will portray the U.K.’s Muslims as a “nation within a nation” that has its own geography and values.
In a piece for the Daily Mail, Phillips (who, by the way, is black) says:
Four per cent – the equivalent of more than 100,000 British Muslims – told the researchers that they had sympathy for people who take part in suicide bombing to fight injustice.
Asked if they knew that someone was involved with supporting terrorism in Syria, just one in three would report it to the police.
There is one truly terrifying finding. Muslims who have separatist views about how they want to live in Britain are far more likely to support terrorism than those who do not.
And there are far too many of the former for us to feel that we can gradually defeat the threat.
Liberal-minded Muslims have been saying for some time that our live-and-let-live attitudes have allowed a climate to grow in which extremist ideas have flourished within Britain’s Muslim communities.
Our politicians have tried to reassure us that only a tiny minority hold dangerous views.
All the while, girls are shipped off to have their genitals mutilated, young women and men are being pressured into marriages they do not want, and teenagers are being seduced into donning suicide vests or becoming jihadi brides.
We have ‘understood’ too much, and challenged too little – and in doing so are in danger of sacrificing a generation of young British people to values that are antithetical to the beliefs of most of us, including many Muslims.
How strange it is for me to read this as an American who feels like a religious minority in my own country, and who is advocating more of a separatist mentality, for the sake of our own religion. Then again, not all religions are the same. This piece brings to mind the story I’ve told in this space several times before: about an Egyptian Muslim, an immigrant to Britain, who told me a decade ago that she and her husband worried a lot about their daughters. The decadence of secular Britain, especially the pornification of the morality of young people there, appalled them, but just about every religiously observant school they turned to was run by Islamists who pushed a hardcore religious ideology they, as practicing Muslims, rejected.
It is hugely significant that Trevor Phillips, given his prominent role in denouncing “Islamophobia” and promoting multiculturalism, is now saying that his side got it almost entirely wrong. But what does that mean going forward, both for Britain and for Europe? How are they supposed to prevent Molenbeek when they keep taking in more Islamic immigrants?