Dating fatwa definition
One day, a historian will pinpoint exactly when we in the West started talking about Muslims. Even in anti-immigration rhetoric, mention of religion used to be rare. Enoch Powell’s famous “Rivers of Blood” speech of 1968 did not tackle religion.In the index of Simon Heffer’s definitive biography of Powell, the words “Islam” and “Muslim” do not appear.The founders of the European Union wanted it to give Christendom modern democratic form, but this is now nearly invisible.The leader of the union’s largest Christian Democrat party, Angela Merkel, has let more than a million mainly Muslim immigrants into her country this year alone.It stands behind organisations like the Muslim Brotherhood (linked here with the Muslim Association of Britain), Jamaat-e-Islami (strong among some members of the Muslim Council of Britain) and Hizb Ut-Tahrir.It rests not only on an interpretation of the words of God allegedly spoken through the mouth of his Prophet, but on a tale of grievance.If Mr Trump starts shouting, or Tommy Robinson, formerly of the English Defence League, pops up, the authorities all know how to try to squash their “unacceptable” thoughts.But if Muslim leaders say that the plight of their brethren in Britain today is like that of Jews in Germany in the Thirties, or that no Muslim should serve in the British armed services against a Muslim country, no one jumps on them.
The ideological content of Islamism is even more important than was that of latter-day Soviet Communism, and much more persuasive within a section of the British population.
Like most other commentators, I agree that Mr Trump’s remarks were nasty and dangerous – nasty because they libel millions of decent people, dangerous because they could drive such people to think: “If you hate and fear us, we must hate and fear you.” But there is another reason why he has caused such a stir.
Like all skilled populists, Mr Trump is touching (or rather trampling) on a real problem.
This made waves in the United States too, but my guess is that the question of Islam did not reach the front of the American mind until 11 September 2001.
Fewer than 15 years later, it is the hottest subject. He wants a “complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s elected representatives can work out what is going on”.