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  • Theological straitjackets


    by Rumbold
    12th October, 2007 at 10:10 am    

    I think that Melanie Phillips does good work in exposing some of the anti-Semitism prevalent in the world, even if she does go overboard at times. What annoys me about her though is her desire to see everything through the prism of ‘us verses them’. Her pieces entitled ‘The Dutch gates of Vienna’ and the ‘British gates of Vienna’ are a case in point. In them she reminds Europe of how the Ottoman Turks were beaten back from the gates of Vienna by an allied army in 1683:

    “In 1683, when Islam seemed poised to overrun Christian Europe, the invading Muslims were repulsed at the gates of Vienna in a battle which broke the 300-year advance of the Ottoman Empire into Europe. Today, with the globalisation of the jihad, there are many fronts in this fight to defend civilisation and many ‘gates of Vienna’ where this war is to be won or lost … Seventeenth century Europe successfully repulsed the Ottomans because it believed in itself.”

    Leaving aside the historical inaccuracies (there were no forces from The Netherlands, England, France and most other European states, some of whom were allied with the Ottomans), the fact that Phillips can compare the possibility of Turkey joining the EU with an invasion just shows that she cannot come to terms with the fact that most Muslims do not want to re-establish the Caliphate or blow up half the world.

    By creating such crude stereotypes, Phillips is helping to shore up the position of the Islamists she so despises. Recently, Shelina wrote a wonderful piece about being a Muslim. Her point was simple; she is an individual who happens to be a Muslim, a woman, a Brit and a number of other things. Her faith influences her, but it does not control her.

    Phillips and her ilk try to make it easier for us to dismiss people like Shelina as not proper Muslims. They are somehow tainted because they do not follow what we believe Islam to be. Never mind that there are Christians in this country with widely differing beliefs. Muslims must somehow be different- they must only have one rigid way of living. They must hold extremist views, or else they have been compromised by Western decadence.

    The government and the media have gone someway to repairing this damage by not pandering to the likes of the MCB. But the years that they did promote such groups has left a deep psychological imprint on the mind of many non-Muslims in Britain. Such a mindset can only worsen tensions in Britain; Muslims can now be easily demonised as the ‘Other’, ensuring that organisations like the BNP can take full advantage of the situation by again playing on the ‘us verses them’ dynamic. Some racists will always vote for the BNP, but their support would drop if people recognised that Muslims are just as complex and varied as any other religious group.

    Terrorism will always be a more glamorous subject for the media than ‘bloke who happens to be a Muslim goes out to the shops then watches Wolves lose then goes to bed’. It sells papers. There will always be resentment against Muslims because of terrorist acts, but it is how to divorce the moral majority from the immoral minority that is the key. Thanks in part to Phillips and co., that task will be difficult for the foreseeable future.


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    Filed in: British Identity,Current affairs,Muslim






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    1. Netherlands » Blog Archives » Theological straitjackets

      [...] Theological straitjackets I think that Melanie Phillips does good work in exposing some of the anti-Semitism prevalent in the world, even if she does go overboard at times. [...]




    1. sahil — on 12th October, 2007 at 10:51 am  

      Good article! I also don’t understand what Phillips would want the EU to do with its own muslim citizens. Hell the ‘enemy’ is already inside the gates.

    2. Rumbold — on 12th October, 2007 at 10:53 am  

      Thanks Sahil- presumably mass deportation is one of her options.

    3. ZinZin — on 12th October, 2007 at 11:04 am  

      Thats the Amis option.

    4. Sunny — on 12th October, 2007 at 3:36 pm  

      Good point. The funny thing is though, she always complains about ‘western decadence’ etc… going on about how ‘militant gays’ have promoted a culture of political correctness. Funnily, Osama Bin Laden says the same!

    5. Avi Cohen — on 12th October, 2007 at 4:32 pm  

      Does she help with anti-semitism or does she actually make it worse. Some people may use right wing writers as justification of anti-semitism by invoking oh look at what they say about us.

      This them and us approach is a sure fire way to increase problems and thus be able to say I told you so.

      This is why community engagement is so important to counter such sentiments on all sides. This is why the grassroots work is vital.

      Don’t be fooled by right wing writers claiming to expose anti-semitism, much of the community problems are caused by firebrand writing which leads to issues then they say we told you so. Causing community friction leads to problems no matter which communities are at odds with each other.

    6. Anas — on 12th October, 2007 at 5:23 pm  

      Sorry but obviously you are all ignorant of Melanie Phillips own strident defenses of terrorism as for example with regard to last year’s Lebanon bombing:

      http://anask.wordpress.com/2006/10/29/who-is-she/

      She’s an apologist for terrorism, end of story.

    7. Don — on 12th October, 2007 at 6:27 pm  

      Anas,

      Sorry we are all so ignorant. Thank the imaginary Lord you are here to enlighten our darkness.

    8. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 12th October, 2007 at 6:48 pm  

      Don,

      Just call him Anur from now on ! He’ll get it.

    9. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 12th October, 2007 at 7:02 pm  

      Rumbold,

      “Seventeenth century Europe successfully repulsed the Ottomans because it believed in itself.”

      You dont think that was a very strange thing for her to say and that she is only appealing to very ignorant contemporary European sensibilities about what is going on in Europe today? I mean the Europe of the 17th century probably looked more like Iraq does today. How did it believe in itself when it was in constant war over nation, church, and territory? Perhaps it believed in itself too much. Does she want Europe to go back to believing in itself the way it did in the 17th century? It may come at a cost, mainly a certain self critical faculty.

      Confidence is one of those strange things where its nice to have to sometimes but its stupid to have it when youre stupid.

    10. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 12th October, 2007 at 7:11 pm  

      After having read this piece by Melanie Phillips and how she referenced Ayaan Hirsi Ali and how she is the only person brave enough to warn Europe about what they face I just had to post this link of the interview she did with Reason magazine that Phillips takes an excerpt from. This woman is bananas. She wants the Constitution of the U.S. to be amended so it can unaccomodate its Muslim citizens.

      Just because she is under threat doesnt mean she too isnt a threat.

      http://www.reason.com/news/show/122457.html

    11. Roger — on 12th October, 2007 at 7:12 pm  

      A very old joke varied:
      Three writers are commissioned to write books about the elephant. The Frenchman writes on the sex life of the elephant, the German writes on the philosophical aspects of the elephant, Melanie Phillips writes about the elephant and antisemitism.

    12. Rumbold — on 12th October, 2007 at 8:07 pm  

      Bikhair:

      You dont think that was a very strange thing for her to say and that she is only appealing to very ignorant contemporary European sensibilities about what is going on in Europe today? I mean the Europe of the 17th century probably looked more like Iraq does today. How did it believe in itself when it was in constant war over nation, church, and territory?

      I agree with you- half the seventeenth century states hated the Hapsburg coalition that beat the Turks, with even Catholic states such as the French refusing to help relieve Vienna. I think that she is partly trying to appeal to contemporary prejudice, but also has probably not really studied the actual battle and knows little about it apart from the fact that the Muslims were beaten by some Christians. Maybe she knows that is where croissants came from too (the Viennese made pastry in the shape of the Islamic crescent as a way of mocking the Turkish besiegers, and it became a popular food).

    13. sahil — on 12th October, 2007 at 8:11 pm  

      “Maybe she knows that is where croissants came from too (the Viennese made pastry in the shape of the Islamic crescent as a way of mocking the Turkish besiegers, and it became a popular food).”

      That’s quite a cool random piece of info, must remember.

    14. Rumbold — on 12th October, 2007 at 8:13 pm  

      It is isn’t it Sahil- it had no real relevence, but I just like saying it.

    15. ZinZin — on 12th October, 2007 at 8:31 pm  

      Croissants are islamophobic?

    16. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 12th October, 2007 at 8:50 pm  

      Rumbold,

      Thanks for that trivia. Croissants are just flour and butter. Its so fattening, its smells fattening.

    17. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 12th October, 2007 at 8:52 pm  

      Roger,

      Its because of jokes like that that I am signing this online petition to have blogging considered a capital offense.

      *Points to the corner where you will sit for the rest of the day.

    18. sahil — on 12th October, 2007 at 8:59 pm  

      “Croissants are islamophobic?”

      Generally all baked goods and various assortments of pastries.

    19. Cisoux — on 12th October, 2007 at 11:06 pm  

      “Maybe she knows that is where croissants came from too (the Viennese made pastry in the shape of the Islamic crescent as a way of mocking the Turkish besiegers, and it became a popular food).”

      Excellent. That’s why they taste so nice.

    20. douglas clark — on 13th October, 2007 at 1:28 am  

      Hot cross buns? Anyone?

      It is a complete education reading this web site. Here was me thinking it was these cheese eating surrender monkeys, and all along it was the Austrians.

      You can just about imagine the QI episode where Stephen Fry asks the fiesty wee Irish guy where croissants come from, and.

      He knows he’s wrong, But he says it anyway, he says:

      “France”

      And Stephen Fry says, with that supercilious look we all secretly admire:

      “Wrong”.

      He then stands up and pulling away layers of flesh, reveals himself as ‘Rumbold’.

      This will, probably, be the last line in the last ever epidode of ‘Heroes’.

      ****——****

      Rumbold, joking apart, I think it is almost a respectable position to see the Battle of Vienna as one of the turning points in European History?

      I know, had the nail been lost, etc… But it probably did make a difference, don’t you think?

      It reminds me of another forgotten battle, Kursk.

    21. douglas clark — on 13th October, 2007 at 1:43 am  

      Rumbold,

      Sorry, I also meant to say, great article!

    22. haz — on 13th October, 2007 at 1:48 am  

      Get over it melanie philips is old, its obvious that shes a bigot pandering intelligence as a form of justification. Identity politics and being affected by melanie philips and her “ilk” is what keeps us distracted from bigger issues that dont concern race culture or colour. Colour culture and race are dead, we all pay taxes and we’ve all contributed to the Iraq war, ooops. The enemy is not muslims but anyone that stands in the way, breaking down melanie philips is an exercise in futility, her views concern marginal conservatives and marginal islamists who get riled when people make cartoons insulting them, cartoons! If they got riled over the numerous islamic dictatorships that exist or the fact that this whole country’s run by Corporate inc. then we might actually see a change. Identity is dead if we’re all bankrolled into the same system thats not made to listen.

    23. Rumbold — on 13th October, 2007 at 11:14 am  

      Douglas:

      “It is a complete education reading this web site. Here was me thinking it was these cheese eating surrender monkeys, and all along it was the Austrians.

      And some French use the term ‘Viennese’ to refer to their croissants.

      “He then stands up and pulling away layers of flesh, reveals himself as ‘Rumbold’.

      This will, probably, be the last line in the last ever epidode of ‘Heroes’.”

      Ha ha ha ha.

      “I think it is almost a respectable position to see the Battle of Vienna as one of the turning points in European History?”

      Traditionally it has been but the notion of seminal turning points has lost some its luster in modern historical research, and I have to agree. The Ottomans had overextended themselves and one of the reasons why they retreated to Asia Minor was because of the fear of being attacked there. In psychological terms it was a massive blow, but in reality it was somewhat less than that. The Ottomans struggled on until the 1920s, but their decline was a long one, having (arguably) started in the late 16th century with the destruction of their fleet at Leptanto, and their overextension into the continent proper.

      “Sorry, I also meant to say, great article!”

      Thanks you very much- I do always enjoy your comments.

    24. pfm — on 17th October, 2007 at 2:38 pm  

      I cry when liverpool lose and then go to bed, European & Ottoman history did my head in at A level.

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