These developments placed the liberal establishment in something of a quandary. Rushdie was a fully paid up member of the liberal elite, but he had clearly offended a large number of Britsh Muslims, then considered by liberals as a useful but harmless client group. In the event the liberal establishment sided with Rushdie, supporting his freedom of speech against what, as committed secularists, they considered to be religious atavism. But the Rushdie affair did, at least, bring home to liberals the potential for conflict between their blind support for multiculturalism and the ideal of freedom of expression for their liberal views.
From that time onwards the relationship between the Muslim community and mainstream society has come under increased strain, which reached crisis point with the destruction by Islamic terrorists of the World Trade Centre in 2001 and the Madrid train bombings in 2004. These events gave rise to fears in the British media that Britain could be similarly open to such attacks, a view which the government appeared to share. These fears were realised with the London tube and bus bombings of July 2005 in which over fifty innocent passengers were murdered. Media linkage between terrorism and Islam prompted claims of 'Islamophobia'. However, although the vast majority of Muslims pose no security threat, there is strong evidence that an increasing number of Islamic fanatics are operating in this country who could potentially be a source of great danger.
The former head of MI5, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, warned that 'some 200 groupings or networks comprising more than 1,600 individuals are actively engaged in plotting or facilitating terrorist acts here and overseas'. The scale of the problem is made chillingly clear when she added that 'surveys among Muslims suggest there could be as many as 100,000 who consider that the [London bombing] atrocities were justified'. These potential terrorists are unlikely to be newly arrived asylum seekers, but instead mostly well educated young men, born and bred in this country, who are seriously disconnected from British secular society. Any terrorist attacks in the future from such a source will have untold consequences for the stability of British society.
It should be remembered that Britain has become a target for Islamic jihadists only because we have allowed huge numbers of third world Muslims to enter the country, constituting a potential fifth column. Without their presence there would be no means of mounting attacks. The overwhelming majority of British Muslims opposed the military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Unlike the indigenous opposition which was based largely on anti-Americanism or pacifism, Muslim opposition appears to have been motivated by sympathy for the plight of their Muslim 'brothers'. Such an outlook gives credence to the belief that when Muslims are faced with a choice between the perceived claims of their religion and loyalty to the country in which they live, many will choose the former, to the detriment of the cohesion of British society.
One of the most notable features of politically correct thinking is that, whenever the issues of race is raised, the benefit of the doubt is invariably given to ethnic minorities, however dubious the evidence, but the worst of motives is always imputed to white people. In this respect a long leftist tradition of double standards is being followed, for example, the many apologists for the Stalinist tyranny in the 1930s who shrilly denounced Mussolini and Franco, or the lauding of Castro’s Cuba in the 1960s whilst demonising Ian Smith’s Rhodesia. So liberals have a consistent track record of being in denial about what most people would see as self evident and obvious.
Perhaps the most extreme current manifestation of this syndrome is the liberal patronage of Islam in Britain. If the tenets of Islam were propagated by a home grown political movement liberals would be loud and vocal in their denunciation of it. But because it is almost exclusively followed by the ethnic population, liberal criticism of Islamic values is strangely muted. So it is worth noting just a few of the activities that have taken place with the sanction of Islamic sharia law: • The public hanging by means of a crane of a 16 year old girl for 'acts incompatible with chastity' (Iran); • A sentence of death by stoning for adultery for a 31 year old woman (Nigeria ) • Public execution for engaging in homosexual acts (Saudi Arabia) • The shooting of women appearing in public without the escort of a male relative (Afghanistan ) • Severe beating for any woman accidentally showing feet or ankles (Afghanistan) • Prohibition on the driving of cars by women (Saudi Arabia) • Deaths of 14 girls in school fire following actions of religious police enforcing dress code (Saudi Arabia) • Father of two sentenced to death for public drunkenness (Iran) These are of course only the tip of the iceberg - most people are aware of the grotesque human rights violations, particularly for women, which are commonplace in Islamic countries. Although not all of them are as repressive as those listed above, there is no escaping the fact that liberals have chosen a very strange bedfellow with this liaison. However, Islam and political correctness do share one thing in common, they both have a low threshold for allowing dissenting views.