Why would asylum seekers try to bomb Britain?
spiked editor Mick Hume's Notebook in The Times (London).
- When news broke that two of the London bombing suspects came to Britain as the children of refugees from war-torn East Africa, the ballistic headlines ranged from ‘Bombers on benefits’ to ‘Bombers are all spongeing asylum-seekers’.
But nobody addressed the question – why would asylum-seekers try to destroy the country that gave them a home? After all refugees from war and famine, spongeing or otherwise, normally seek a haven where they can put down roots rather than plant bombs.
Perhaps it might have something to do with the way that, from the moment they arrive here, asylum-seekers are told that Britain is a racist hellhole that deserves what it gets. And they first receive that message not from some fringe Islamic preacher, but from the heart of our self-flagellatory culture. Those bombing suspects came to a society that seems intent on denying that there is anything good about living here. Britain gave them schooling. But what exactly would they would have been taught?
Think of the miserabilist images of society that we are all subjected to these days. Britain is portrayed as institutionally racist and increasingly Islamophobic at home and abroad, a darkly degenerate place full of violent drunks and drug addicts, disrespectful ‘hoodies’ and child abusers, pregnant teenagers and sexually transmitted diseases, whose people believe in nothing except football and getting fat in front of the television.
It is hard to overestimate how mainstream the self-abuse has become. After the police shooting of an innocent man last week, I watched an announcer on ITV News read out an e-mail from a viewer calling the Metropolitan Police as bad as the Nazis, in the same tone of voice that he might have employed for a press release from Scotland Yard.
Add to this poisonous cocktail the message instilled in asylum-seekers by many semi-official agencies: Britain is hostile; this is not your home; people here hate you; your human rights are being abused. It is not hard to see how all of this could encourage some losers to develop a sense of estrangement and eventually hatred. Tony Blair wants to crack down on extremist Islamist bookshops and preachers. He might start by asking where they get the ideas for their sermons about our corrupted society.
Of course there are intelligent criticisms to be made of Britain’s imperialist record and its treatment of minorities. However, even if it is not the paradise that those idiotic suicide bombers are supposed to be seeking, nor is it the purgatory that we are led to believe. Only the bombers are responsible for their actions. But perhaps we should not be shocked if some are asylum-seekers when they are getting their grievances against British society nursed on the NHS.
- Then again maybe I am wrong, and Britain really is a racist hellhole.
Yesterday the BBC reported a big rise in Islamophobic attacks since July 7. The Muslim Safety Forum claimed a 500 per cent rise in ‘faith-related’ attacks in London, while the Islamic Human Rights Commission said that there had been a 13-fold increase in the UK.
Grim statistics, but what do they mean? The ‘enormous upsurge’ in attacks reported to the IHRC turns out to be from six or seven incidents a week to 170 in a fortnight. That sounds like an increase from virtually none to relatively few. Moreover, it came after the IHRC launched an online and satellite TV trawling operation, asking Muslims to report ‘anything from verbal abuse, nasty looks to physical assault’, or just being ‘treated differently’. That relatively few incidents fit even that broad definition of attacks suggests a rather different situation than the headlines. But I suppose a press release headed ‘Not much sign of serious Islamophobic backlash’ is unlikely to get you on the BBC news.
- With the recent bombing of holiday resorts in Turkey and Egypt, many people appear as nervous about travelling abroad as they do about using the London Underground.
But we all surely need a holiday from the War on Terror, to help us to remember that there are far more important things in the world than bombs. So I am off to Italy with the family tomorrow. The terrorists like to taunt us that we love life, while they love death. Given the choice, I’ll take la dolce vita, thanks all the same.
Mick Hume is editor of spiked
This article is republished from The Times (London)
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