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Whose Islam?

by Mark Steyn

The “war” part of the war on terror is pretty much over, and we’re now fighting it culturally, rhetorically. Which is not something we do well. Take the British prime minister and his traditional nothing-to-do-with-Islam statement, issued in the wake of the Kenyan shopping-mall carnage:

These appalling terrorist attacks that take place where the perpetrators claim they do it in the name of a religion: They don’t. They do it in the name of terror, violence and extremism and their warped view of the world. They don’t represent Islam, or Muslims in Britain or anywhere else in the world.

Same with the Muslims who beheaded a British soldier, Drummer Rigby, on a London street in broad daylight. On that occasion, David Cameron assured us that the unfortunate incident was “a betrayal of Islam. . . . There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act.”

How does he know? Mr. Cameron is not (yet) a practicing Muslim. A self-described “vaguely practicing” Anglican, he becomes rather less vague and unusually forceful and emphatic when the subject turns to Islam. At the Westgate mall in Nairobi, the terrorists separated non-Muslim hostages from Muslims and permitted the latter to leave if they could recite a Muslim prayer—a test I doubt Mr. Cameron could have passed, for all his claims to authority on what is and isn’t Islamic. So the perpetrators seem to think it’s something to do with Islam—and, indeed, something to do with Muslims in the United Kingdom, given that the terrorists included British subjects (as well as U.S. citizens).

It was a busy weekend for Nothing to Do with Islam. Among the other events that were nothing to do with Islam were the murder of over 85 Pakistani Christians at All Saints’ Church in Peshawar and the beheading of Ricardo Dionio in the Philippines by BIFF, the aggressively acronymic breakaway faction (the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) from the more amusingly acronymic MILF (the Moro Islamic Liberation Front). Despite a body count higher than Kenya, the Pakistani slaughter received barely a mention in the Western media. You’d be hard put to find an Anglican church in England with a big enough congregation on a Sunday morning to kill 85 worshipers therein, but in Peshawar, a 99 percent Muslim city, the few remaining Christians are not of the “vaguely practicing” Cameron variety. Viewed from London, however, they’ve already lost: One day there will be no Christians in Peshawar and the city will be 100 percent Muslim. It may be “nothing to do with Islam,” but it’s just the way it is: We accept the confessional cleansing of Pakistan, as we do of Egypt, because it’s part of “the Muslim world.” Nairobi, on the other hand, is not, and a murderous assault on an upscale shopping mall patronized by Kenya’s elite and wealthy secular expats gets far closer to the comfort zone wherein David Cameron “vaguely practices”: In a “clash of civilizations” in which one side doesn’t want to play, a shattered church has less symbolic resonance than a shattered frozen-yogurt eatery….

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