I’ve been blogging for 13 years, and my first post was about Islam in Europe :
I believed then that danger of Islam was exaggerated, by people who I normally agreed with such as Eric Raymond
I’ve changed my view on many things since then, from being a by-the-book Libertarian to something I had to find a new name for.
Only one thing that I wrote back then is definitely now not true:
The Muslim immigrants to Britain are integrating slowly into British culture.
This 2005 piece by me comes off looking especially bad now
This does not mean that Islam is dying out, just that, like Christianity, it is evolving into a form that makes less conflict with the practicalities of living in a developed society. I expect that in a hundred years Moslems will continue to recite the Koran and observe Ramadan, but what I am calling the “primitive” elements — intolerance of Western practices of commerce, sexual behaviour, freedom of expression, whatever — will have died out.
Among Moslems in the West, as well as the more Westernised Moslem countries like Turkey, this is already the case for the majority. And this is why the “primitives” are angry.
File that under “overtaken by events.” I did say then that it was more important for the West to be seen to win in Iraq than to achieve anything concrete, so maybe if that had been done then things would look different today. Perhaps what I predicted was at that time still possible, but whether I was wrong about that or not, the reality today is utterly different. It is moderate Islam that is declining, globally, not Islamism.
“Integration” now going backwards. Possibly that had already begun in 2004 and I hadn’t noticed, but I suspect it is something new.
Many of my online homies say that “moderate Islam” is a myth or mirage — that the history of Islam shows that it is inherently and inevitably violent and expansionist. Pitched against liberals who say that Christianity has an equally violent and aggressive history, they certainly have the better of their argument. But while the leftists are ignoring everything before the 1800s, the rightists are ignoring everything since. There was very little Islamist violence in the 20th Century. The Partition of India was a free-for-all. The major Islamic states, Egypt and Turkey, were secular socialist-nationalist in character.
Contrary to my previous assertions, the situation is getting worse not better, but it is still noticeable that Islamist terrorists in Britain are not in their national origins representative of Britain’s Muslim population. The ringleader of the 2005 train bombers was from a typical British-Pakistani background, but most of the others have come from Africa or the Middle East. Even Butt seems atypical since he came to the country as a refugee — most British Pakistanis did not come as refugees, but as Commonwealth migrants back in the 70s and families thereafter. Britain has been granting asylum to very few Pakistanis — 77 in the last quarter [pdf] .
Pakistani immigration was encouraged for economic reasons up until 1971, and since then it has been family-based. However, their numbers have increased tenfold over those 45 years, from 120,000 to 1.2 million. That’s plausible as bringing in existing family members plus marrying more and having two generations of children, but it’s towards the high end of what you would estimate. If there’s another significant contributor to that tenfold expansion I don’t know what it is.
Striking as those numbers are, my point is that those “normal British Pakistanis” are not the Islamic terrorists in Britain. They really are the “moderate Muslims” that are alleged not to exist (The child prostitution gangs such as the Rotherham one, on the other hand, are exactly from that typical background, one reason why I see that as a totally separate issue). My biggest worry is that by adding significant numbers of African and Middle Eastern jihadis into the mix, the whole British Pakistani culture could be shifted. The Muslim population of Britain doubled between 2005 and 2015 (per Ed West) and the non-Pakistani Muslim population was probably multipled several times. This was the effect of the “rubbing noses in diversity” — the Labour government changing the demographics of the country not even out of strategy but out of vulgar spite. That was a development I failed to imagine.
Waiting for Islam to become more moderate is no longer on the table. Forcing Islam to become more moderate is, I believe, thoroughly achievable with sensible policies. The fundamental is for law and society to be at least as tough on expression of tribalism from Muslims as they are on expression of tribalism from natives. This is currently very far from the case. I try to stay out of day-to-day politics, so when I retweet other right-wingers, it’s usually because they’re highlighting this disparity:
The other side of that is this story: In Germany, Syrians find mosques too conservative
Mosques in Western countries are now more extremist than those elsewhere in the world. This is a straightforward holiness spiral — within a community, you can gain status by professing stronger allegiance to that community’s symbols than anyone else does. In a functioning community, this tendency is moderated by the practical demands of society. But, even the large, stable, Pakistani communities in Britain are not truly functional — they are subsidised and supported by the wider society.
The wider society — the liberal West — is deeply opposed to putting any restraint whatsoever on the puritanism growing within the community. They are like the naive conservationists of the past who believed that by keeping out all predators they were allowing an ecosystem to flourish naturally, when in fact they were unbalancing it towards a destructive tipping point. It is natural and universal for religious extremism to come into conflict with its neigbours and be pushed back by them.
Basically, what I’m saying is that Tommy Robinson is a natural predator, and by suppressing him, liberal society is producing a Trophic Cascade in the extremist ecosystem.
It’s not only in a minority community that this mechanism should happen. I asked on Twitter, is there any Islamic country where the mosques are not subject to state supervision of doctrine? In majority Islamic communities, the pushback in favour of practicality comes from the state. Again, a liberal Western state disclaims any responsibility for pushing back on Islam, though it is a job that I understand most Islamic states consider necessary.
Update: It should go without saying that continuing to increase the Muslim population is also destabilising. As well as increasing the imbalance, in itself it is a sign of weakness which makes extremism more attractive and moderation less attractive. I am not saying any more than that it is not (yet) necessary to undertake more drastic measures such as mass deportations of long-standing residents. Since the continued importation of Muslims is the same political process as the active protection of extremism from its natural opposition, ending one means also ending the other.