Douglas Murray: "Silence on the problem of Islam elevates Islam" "We must speak out"
November 7, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
In a riveting speech to The New Culture Forum last night, the writer and broadcaster Douglas Murray warned that Britain was in danger of taking the path to cultural defeat if it continued to stifle criticism of, and debate about, the threat of fundamentalist Islam.
Speaking to a packed audience at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies – an audience which included Lord Trimble, Paul Goodman MP and many high-profile journalists – Murray declared that just as there was no right to respect, so there was no right not to be offended.
‘I believe we must speak out – and for very immediate reasons. Silence on the problems of Islam elevates Islam. It affords it a unique place in our culture that it does not deserve and should not have. You do not have to be believers in a thing to propagate it. We do so by our silence. Our fear and self-censorship are complicity: they act as a votary.
‘Every day cartoonists in the Western free press portray democratic leaders of the West as baby-killers, baby-eaters and homicidal maniacs,' he told the meeting, which was chaired by the NCF's director Peter Whittle, and which also included a lively audience discussion. ‘At least we now know why they don't draw cartoons even touching on Islam. ‘ ‘Cutting-edge' novels routinely and boringly lambaste the traditions of the West or pretend that the Western tradition doesn't even exist. But write a novel mentioning Mohammed, and Salman Rushdie can explain the consequences to you.'
Murray, who wrote the critically praised book ‘Neoconservatism: why we need it', went on to explain how the canard that by mentioning the problem, you are yourself the problem, had sunk deep and was the degraded response of a people whom seemed, to him, to be asleep.
He talked in depth about the experience of the Netherlands, where, almost exactly two years ago, Theo Van Gogh, the director of the short film Submission, about women's experience under Islam, was murdered in the street by an Islamic fanatic. The audience then watched a screening of the film, which because of the perceived ‘sensitivity' of the subject matter, has rarely been seen since van Gogh's death.
Murray explained that the uproar and protest which followed in Holland had, however, proved to be short-lived.
‘Some writers and public figures took the decision to stop mentioning Islam,' he went on. ‘One friend of mine, a prominent newspaper columnist before van Gogh's murder, vowed never to write about Islam again. I asked him once how he felt about the decision he had taken and he was clear: ‘The terrorists have won' he said.
After talking about the rapid demographic changes in Holland, and quoting a government report from 2004 which concluded that by 2017 the majority of the people in the country would be non-Dutch, Murray left the audience with a serious question.
‘Europeans are going to have to start asking: do we want to keep what we have? Do we want to salvage something? Or is there genuinely nothing which we wish to save?' he said. ‘I recommend to you – go to Amsterdam and walk around. Look at the woman in the burkha, and the druggy baby-boomer running the cannabis café and ask yourself who is going to be running this place in twenty years time.' Posted by The New Culture Forum at 3:34 PM 0 comments Links to this post Labels: Censorship, Event, Freedom of Speech, Political Correctness, Politics, Religious Fundamentalism