Boris has a point about Islam

Why should centuries of Muslim imperialism be beyond criticism?

Alaa al-Ameri


Boris Johnson is the only man alive who could convincingly turn The Emperor’s New Clothes into a one-man play. He’s perfect for every role – the pompous, bumbling, vain emperor; the barefaced conmen trafficking in audacious whoppers; and, most importantly, the little boy, unable to keep from blurting out the obvious, especially when everyone around him is busy parroting the convenient lie of the day.

Not for the first time, Johnson has offended polite society by suggesting that there might be something less than perfectly laudable about some aspects of Islam. Perish the thought. In particular, offence-miners at the Guardian have discovered that Johnson once wrote that Islam has held Muslim countries back by ‘centuries’.

A cursory look around the world is enough to conclude that there may be something to Johnson’s argument. A deeper look at Arab and Muslim history – both ancient and recent – might at least confirm the possibility that such a statement is something other than flat-out bigotry. Or so you might have thought, if you had recently awoken from a 30-year coma. In 2019, however, such thoughts are unthinkable.

We can moralise all day long about the evils of European colonialism. But it was a historical blink of an eye in comparison to the centuries of Arab and Muslim colonialism that produced the cultures to which Johnson was referring. We can wring our hands over the influence of literalist Christianity on American politics. But this is a drop in the ocean compared to the cultural and political leverage of Islam across the globe. We can lament the potential harm to Indian democracy posed by militant Hindu nationalism. But there is nothing questionable about entertaining the notion that centuries of Muslim global imperialism – which ended less than 100 years ago – might have left behind a less than a gleaming legacy.

Johnson’s allusion to the lack of social and economic development in the Muslim world seems to have offended some people. And yet these same people are usually the first to demand that anyone arriving in Europe from poor Muslim countries should obviously, unquestionably, be accepted as a legitimate refugee. Perhaps, on some level, they recognise that life in Europe is freer, safer and more prosperous than life in the Muslim world. For generations, millions of Muslims have chosen to leave societies dominated by Islamic religious laws and cultural norms, and have thrived instead in the West – benefitting from relative political stability, individual freedom and the rule of law.

Unfortunately, thanks to today’s multicultural celebration of difference, any attempt by Muslims to wholeheartedly join the common body of British, European or American citizenry is almost seen as suspect – as if it is some unfortunate dilution of authentic ‘Muslimness’. Both Islamists and their apologists in the liberal-left do not see Muslims as truly belonging to Western societies. I’ve been aware of this attitude all my life – both in the shunning and intimidation of dissident voices within the Muslim community, and by the cold shoulder offered by many right-on lefties who require non-whites to be nothing more than extras in their own personal story of cultural acceptance and moral largesse.

This view of Muslims as little more than political props was made clear by US congresswoman Ayanna Pressley at the weekend. She said that ‘we don’t need… Muslims who don’t want to be a Muslim voice’. Whether Pressley intended to or not, she confirmed the obvious: that there is a stock victimhood role for Musilms in the Western world – a role that has been hard-won by self-appointed ‘representatives’ like the Muslim Council of Britain, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and other peddlers of the Muslim-victimhood and ‘Islamophobia’ narratives.

If, however, you happen to be a Muslim who is unwilling to shuffle obediently into frame, looking suitably put upon, then you are deemed a problem – as any extra with the temerity to adlib his own lines in someone else’s play would be. You even have a thinly disguised racial slur reserved just for you: Native Informant – a word used to smear liberal Muslims, ex-Muslims and critics of Islamism as traitors. Like ‘Uncle Tom’, it’s one of those curious epithets that white (and in this case, non-Muslim) ‘allies’ of identitarian grievance-mongers feel empowered to spit at anyone who steps off the reservation.

Anyone genuinely interested in the lives of Muslim citizens (in the West and the Islamic world) should welcome robust discussions about Islam’s history and legacy, instead of responding with outrage. After all, Islamic history is part of human history, and is therefore not beyond critical analysis. Instead, commentators and politicians are obediently trotting out, and seeking to protect by law, a fairytale view of Muslim history and identity that was invented by early 20th-century Islamists, and then foisted on the rest of us. If the identitarians and their allies actually trusted Muslims and treated them as adults, Muslims would not be considered any more likely to overreact to critical discussions of Islam’s legacy than a Catholic would be to someone saying that Europe is ultimately better off following the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire.

In such a world, Johnson’s comments would be utterly un-newsworthy, because the reaction to them, if any, would be measured, calm and factual. We can only hope for such a world.

Alaa al-Ameri is the penname of a British-Libyan writer.

Picture by: Getty.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


Jonathan Swift

26th July 2019 at 6:24 pm

A good source for facts about Islam is:

Bikinis not Burkas

21st July 2019 at 12:21 am

Quran 2:282 Allah the stone statue said, Women are half wits!

Bikinis not Burkas

21st July 2019 at 12:20 am

Muhammad said women are deficient of intelligence!

Pull on an Islamic head dress raise your hand and scream “Look at me, look at me, I agree with Muhammad, I am STUPID!”

Michael Villano

20th July 2019 at 3:30 pm

Johnson and this author are factually correct.
Comical reading fascist thug Amilia Cantor in the comments section issue threats to the author.
Her entire worldview is based on lies to justify her violence and threats of violence bc she’s just too mantally lazy and low IQ to formulate rational arguments.

Amelia Cantor

20th July 2019 at 10:58 am

Johnson has no “point” but self-advancement for Johnson. If that means spewing far-right hate-memes, that’s fine by him.

It’s also apparently fine by the coconut who wrote this piece. But be warned: everything you say is being noted by the Muslim community and you will not escape paying the price for collaborating with Islamophobia and Islamophobes.

Michael Villano

20th July 2019 at 3:33 pm

You’re just a low IQ fascist name-calling thug too mentally lazy to be bothered constructing or refuting rational arguments like those put forth by the very eloquent and culturally informed author of this piece. I can’t believe they even let you post threats but I’m glad they did.
Speaks volumes more about you than anything else.

Amelia Cantor

22nd July 2019 at 9:43 am

Yes, so eloquent and culturally informed that he would think very carefully before defending Johnson in a Muslim country like Malaysia or Pakistan. That’s how much in touch with the Muslim mainstream he is.

And as for me being a “fascist”. Can your high-IQ eloquence not come up with something more original (not to say accurate) than that?

Martin Bishop

20th July 2019 at 5:45 pm

What price will that be?

Karl Hesler

20th July 2019 at 9:02 pm

Be warned, be afraid, run for your life, if you ever offened any Muslims, by pointing out the obvious utter stone ageness, and stupidity of ISLAM. Be very afraid , they will come for you, and then what are you going to do ?
Iy is time to confront ISLAM at each and every step, and let them know that if they come to West, then behave like normal people, and respect the society which gave them a chance to come here, Or else they can go back to Sh—hole country they came from. Leave your head towels/JUBBA aka Hijabs, and ridiculous tents/ BURKAS back in your hl– hole countries where you came from.

Jane 70

20th July 2019 at 6:02 am

There’s much to be said for France’s ‘laicite’, written into the constitution. The French are also struggling with the rise of Islamism and identity grievances, but at least they have this code of practice.

Can’t see that happening here, more’s the pity.

Karl Hesler

20th July 2019 at 9:09 pm

ISLAM needs a slap on the face each and every time these Muslims start talking Islamic nonsense. These stone age, followers of a child marrying, warlord, and robber prophet need no accomodation. They must leave behind their stone age practices when they come here. Whatever happened to the great western civilisation. why is West bending over backword to let these primitive islamic hordes to run amok. Screw them, until they behave like normal people. UK NEEDS Johnson as PM, even he may not be enough, but it can be a start.

Ian McKenna

20th July 2019 at 4:08 am

Islam murdered 80 million Hindus.

Jane 70

20th July 2019 at 7:34 am

The Graun has been having a go at India’s Modi for quite some time; no surprise there.

Karl Hesler

20th July 2019 at 9:20 pm

Hafiz Saeeds of the world still think that they are not finished yet, and the rest of India still remians to be conquered by a thing called GHAZWA-e-Hind. Muslims are deluded to an infinite degree, whetehr from Pkaistan, and whether they are n th generation immigrants to the WEST. Around 12 th century IMAM GHAZALI told them not to belivee in “CAUSE and EFFECT”, but rather in Allah’s will which works at every time slice etc. That nonsense and other Islamic beliefs caused Islamic world to descend to Sh–hol-ness, and it has been sinking ever since.

Winston Stanley

19th July 2019 at 5:57 pm

Maybe one day spiked will publish a similar aticle about Judaism/ Zionism, to tell us about how there might be “something less than perfectly laudable about some aspects” of Zionism. And about how Zionism “might have left behind a less than a gleaming legacy”. That we in a free society should not be “little more than political props” in the full throated Zionism of the British state. And about how Zionists have developed “a stock victimhood role”, “a role that has been hard-won by self-appointed ‘representatives’”, “and other peddlers of the [Jewish] victimhood and ‘[anti-Semitism]’ narratives”. About how, if you are a Jew who speaks against Zionism, “you even have a thinly disguised racial slur reserved just for you”, a ‘self-hater’, “a word used to smear liberal [Jews], ex-[Zionists] and critics of [Zionism] as traitors.” “After all, [Zionist] history is part of human history, and is therefore not beyond critical analysis. Instead, commentators and politicians are obediently trotting out, and seeking to protect by law” full throated Zionism under the guise of ‘anti-Semitism’.

When spiked do that, then we can say that they indeed are promoting a level playing field for all, and that they are not just having a go at Muslims as usual. I think that we all know what we are not allowed to criticise, Zionism, which is likely one reason why spiked never do it. They need to drop the pretence that they are not allowed to criticise Islam and Muslims. They do it all the time, and so does everyone else who chooses to.

And btw. Western colonialism was not a “blink of an eye”, and the influence of Christianity on the West throughout the Middle Ages, and to some extent on USA today, is not “a drop in the ocean”. They are very serious matters. The legacy of Christianity, Islam and Judaism all need to be taken seriously, as does Western imperialism. It just makes you look partisan if you try to play up the one while playing down another, and totally ignoring the other. I doubt that many of us really want to dragged back into Christianity/ Islam/ Judaism hostilities. That is what the Middle Ages were for. Most of us want an honest and unbiased appraisal of all facets of our world today, not a partisan battle. And we want the freedom to be able to do that.

Martin Bishop

19th July 2019 at 9:27 pm

I get the impression that BON and the spiked tribe are attempting to forge tribe alliances and maintain/gain financial support from these tribes. The cost is a loss of impartiality and objectivity.

Martin Bishop

19th July 2019 at 9:48 pm

No idea if my original response to this will appear, or even if this one will. But I have to ask, has anyone else noticed the irony of comment moderation on a pro freedom of speech site? All speech is free, but some speech is more free than others?

Hana Jinks

20th July 2019 at 3:43 pm

Nd just for everyone’s edification, this post was demmed moddable by spiked, nad l share in the hope that others will also share their more absurd one’s.

And if any one else is keeping count, I’ve had four posts that have so far been deemed …errr irredeemable.

Linda Payne

19th July 2019 at 5:24 pm

Muslim parents are demonstrating and openly criticise the LBTG agenda of teaching about ‘relationships’ in primary schools, I happen to agree with them. However how far would we get if we question their religion?

Justin Bieber

19th July 2019 at 9:22 pm

Not very far……..

But it wouldn’t be the Muslims themselves that would crack down on you, it would be the (non-Muslim) elite that decided decades ago that flooding Europe with Muslims was in their interests in order to divide and conquer once unified nations

Hana Jinks

20th July 2019 at 3:26 pm

I just wish that I’d found the site a few months before. All of the Jerry Oven-Kraut situation could’ve been well-sorted by now if l could still play sock-puppets. Nevertheless, girls will be girls, and he thinks I’m joking. He saw how l made Anti Moreswill a dungeon-bitch.

Hana Jinks

20th July 2019 at 3:29 pm

What was that you were saying about virtue-signallers the other day, cos l can smell nazi’s

Mark Lambert

19th July 2019 at 5:15 pm

I spotted this story when David Lammy sent out a tweet calling Boris “shameful and ignorant” (because of the article in the Guardian). So I read the article. My mind immediately went to a video of American Cosmologist Neil deGrasse Tyson, describing firstly the Islamic “Golden Age” between 800-1100 when innovation of certain things occurred, and as he described, came to a sudden halt with the advent of fundamentalist religion in the 12th century, and as he says “The Islamic world has never recovered”.

How do I know that and Guardian journalists and David Lammy do not? How come there have been numerous books describing this and Lammy and the journalists are not aware of them, or didn’t decide to “have a look around” before spouting off.

It might be because they simply want to bash Boris. But this time, they have looked very foolish.

Apparently we all have to take a default view that “everything, but everything is and always has been perfect in the Islamic world”, at exactly the same time as various people disparage everything about Britain’s past history.

I’m not sure they know what they are doing, because it is mightily annoying a lot of people.
We can analyse and criticise our own history thanks, and because of that, we can apply the same rules to other histories.

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