The Sickness in Britain’s Heart
The soldiers are microscopic, but it’s a war just the same. Under constant assault by pathogens, the human body stakes its life on the multi-layered defenses of its immune system. Every millimeter of a man is a battleground. The border guards, messengers, warriors and generals are skin, lymph, mucus, antibodies, bone marrow and hormones, each with amazingly proficient means of detecting, destroying and dispatching anything that would jeopardize the home they exist only to defend.
If this unseen militia cannot carry out its mission, germs and toxins attack the system and trigger sickness and disease. When immunity is sufficiently disabled, a person faces certain death.
Such is the sick state of Britain today.
The United Kingdom is irreparably infected with a host of pathogens cultural, moral and spiritual. Though many of these hurt the national body, one is particularly deadly: the spread within British borders of aggressive, hate-filled, violence-loving Islamist extremism.
This deep, creeping cancer has grown in Britain’s bowels for decades virtually unnoticed. But on July 7 of last year, it announced its presence suddenly, with a shock of pain: Coordinated suicide bombings killed 52 Londoners on their morning commute. A mere 13 months later, this past August, an attack many times greater—the destruction of 10 transatlantic flights leaving from London—would have slain thousands had not British and Pakistani police busted it.
What was so appalling was, the minds that hatched these murders—filled with incomprehensible, alien hate—were homegrown. In both cases, the villains who deigned to rob innocent British fathers, mothers and children of life did not come from the hot sands of the Middle East, but from the boroughs of Mother England herself. Britain’s deadliest enemies were, in fact, Britons—outgrowths of the nation’s own sickness.
Remarkably, the weak immunity that enabled this sickness to flourish has unmistakably been Britain‘s own doing. The British have systematically neutralized their own national defenses against this malignant infection, thus inviting it, even nurturing it.
A Peek at Britain’s Muslims
Of Britain’s 60.6 million people, at least 1.6 million are Muslim. The disproportionate impact of this minority can be discerned in part by the fact that Islam is Britain’s fastest-growing religion, and its second largest. More people in Britain attend a mosque each week than visit an Anglican church.
Alone, these facts speak more to the crippled state of the Church of England than to any particular threat from Islam. However, peering inside the numbers reveals some startling trends.
Among those 1.6 million British Muslims, a great number identify more with the global body of Islamic believers than with their home country. One third would rather live in the UK under Islamic law than British law, according to a Channel 4 Dispatches poll in August. That figure roughly matches a shocking one from a YouGov poll a year earlier: Almost a third of British Muslims believe that “Western society is decadent and immoral, and Muslims should seek to bring it to an end, but only by nonviolent means” (emphasis mine).
When Muslims speak of bringing Western society to an end, they are talking about making it subject to Islamic law. Nonviolent means of achieving this goal include gradually promoting the spread of Muslim customs and rituals; securing special privileges for Islamic schools, mosques and other organizations; and gradually cracking down on un-Islamic activity. They also include swelling the number of Muslims through immigration, reproduction and conversion. In Britain today, one sees bustling activity by Muslims on all these fronts.
For many, it is a small step to sympathizing with those willing to blow themselves up in subways and on airplanes. The Dispatches poll showed that almost one fourth of British Muslims—and far more among those under age 24—believe the 7/7 bombings were justified because of the British government’s support of the U.S.-led “war on terror.” Thus, the relationship between the host country and a sizable percentage of this particular minority is already an adversarial one.
And among still smaller percentages of those 1.6 million British Muslims, one finds far more toxic attitudes. The YouGov poll cited above found that 1 percent believe the West’s end should come “if necessary by violence.” That equates to at least 16,000 Muslims living in Britain who hate their country enough to want to see it come to a violent end.
In her scorching book Londonistan, author Melanie Phillips documents the unbelievable extent to which the UK has become home to the most extreme elements of Islamism in the world. Because of the freedom with which they are able to operate in Britain, numerous radical groups—including arms of al Qaeda—have planted their headquarters or significant operations there. Says Phillips, “UK-based terrorists have carried out operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel, Morocco, Russia, Spain and the United States.” Consider this list of infamous Islamists: the murderer of journalist Daniel Pearl; al Qaeda members who sought to target U.S. financial centers; the man who rammed an explosive-laden truck into police barracks in Kashmir; shoe-bomber Richard Reid; suicide bombers who blew up Israelis in a Tel Aviv bar; one of the masterminds behind two attacks in Bali. All these terrorists called England their home.
How could such monsters incubate within what is supposedly America’s strongest ally in the “war on terror”? The reasons are numerous and shocking—and deeply revealing of the nature of Britain today.
Though the malignancy of radical Islamism is spreading in many non-Muslim nations—throughout Europe, North America and Southeast Asia in particular—in Britain the problem is uniquely bad. For its pathetic response to the incursion of militant Islam, commentator Daniel Pipes calls it the “weakest link in the Western chain.”
Official response to the July 7, 2005, terrorist attack in London provided a perfect cat scan of the advanced state of the disease. Reportage of the event quickly produced a politically correct, Islam-free version of the murders: The perpetrators were “bombers,” not “terrorists.” That they were Muslims who had been recruited at a British- and EU-government-funded Islamic youth center known for its radical politics was glossed over.
In the official account, the real victims were British Muslims, who were certain to suffer an increase in “Islamophobia” from ignorant Britons who would naturally conclude from the attack that all Muslims are evil. The deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Brian Paddick, tried to head off public mistrust of Muslims by saying, “Islam and terrorists are two words that do not go together.” The Nottinghamshire chief constable made it his top priority to deal with the problem—not by clamping down on extremism, but by pacifying the Muslim community with gestures such as ordering 20,000 green ribbons for all public officials to wear in a show of solidarity with Muslims.
Prime Minister Tony Blair created a post-7/7 advisory task force to tackle extremism “head on”—made up of the best experts on the subject the government could find: Muslims, some of whom were notorious extremists. Unsurprisingly, the task force’s recommendations entailed appeasing Muslims by bending British culture and policy into closer conformity with Islam. In essence, it pinned the blame for 7/7 not on angry Muslims, but on the state—for making Muslims angry.
That ridiculous idea lies at the core of political correctness: that a minority culture is always a victim of the majority culture—that even its crimes can be understood as having been provoked by the oppressions of the majority. During the cultural revolution of the 20th century’s later decades, Britain swallowed that toxic brew in lethal doses.
Thus, even after Islamists filled London’s public transportation with corpses, British officials read from the script, blaming not Islamism, but Islamophobia. London’s mayor, Ken Livingstone, after initially condemning the attacks, within a couple weeks was saying that the true fault lay in “80 years of Western intervention into predominantly Arab lands because of the Western need for oil.”
Yes—in Britain, one of the most widely used receptacles for pitching blame for Islamism is the war in Iraq. If only Tony Blair wasn’t George W. Bush’s poodle, 7/7 never would have happened, in other words.
The Church of England—deeply infected by liberalism and hatred of the West—put forward its recommendation for protecting Britain from another 7/7: Win the hearts of militant Muslims by prostrating before them. A group of Anglican bishops, in a September 2005 report, proposed that Britain apologize for the Iraq war. Since they didn’t expect Downing Street to do so, they agreed that the church itself should make a “public act of repentance” before Muslim leaders.
British criminologists came up with a unique explanation for what caused 7/7: that the terrorists were just trying to prove their masculinity. Presenting a paper on the subject to the British Society of Criminology, the University of Huddersfield’s Antony Whitehead explained, “It’s a very understandable dynamic. Young Muslim men in the British culture experience a lot of internalized pressure to conform to the idea of manhood—the ideal of courage and standing up for yourself. … We are coming at this from the wrong angle. We are making the assumption that it’s all about Islam.” In truth, virtually no one—at least, no one of influence—assumed it was “all about Islam”; in fact, they tied themselves in knots trying to prove their assumption that it was all about anything but Islam.
What Religion Connection?
British officials give the impression that they are far less afraid of terrorism than they are of being accused of racism or religious discrimination—hanging offenses under political correctness. Thus, they flee from anything that could be remotely construed as such. One of the most common and predictable means of proving one’s credentials as an officially tolerant person is to insist—surely if one says it loudly and often enough it must be true—that the vast majority of Muslims detest what the terrorists are doing, and that violence is anathema to the imminently peaceful religion of Islam.
It is hard to ignore the fact, however, that these statements always issue from white, non-Muslim types—never from the leaders of this supposedly vast body of “moderate” Muslims. “That a silent majority of European Muslims believed in democracy and despised terror was by now a truism,” wrote Bruce Bawer in While Europe Slept. “Observers found themselves thinking, however, that if that silent majority existed at all, it had to be one of the most silent majorities ever.” In fact, polls such as those revealing that one in 10 British Muslims supported the 7/7 attacks—that one in four sympathized with the “feelings and motives” of the attackers—that more than half could “understand” why someone would blow himself up in order to kill innocent people—belied the idea that terrorists are just crazy fringers, motivated by something entirely separate from their religion.
It is interesting that the British are so scrupulous in overlooking the patently obvious religious connection to terrorism. This is not only because they are loath to appear discriminatory, but also because theirs is a deeply secular society. Religion has been almost completely leeched out of British life. Thus, its people can only stare uncomprehendingly at a people so dedicated to and motivated by religious faith.
But by denying Islamist terrorism’s roots in religion, the British unwittingly guarantee that whatever solutions they undertake will absolutely fail to correct the problem. Setting its true causes aside, they are forced to manufacture sham causes. Having misdiagnosed the disease, they must then concoct cures for phantom diseases. As a result, their “cures” only fuel and aggravate the cancer—as much as if they tried to douse a wildfire with gasoline.
Identifying With the Jihadis
It is one thing for Islamists to blame Britain for Muslim rage—it is another for Britain to blame itself. Self-hatred is a sickness all its own. Britain has a raging case of it.
Case in point: The British establishment—including the media, particularly the bbc—is continually serving the British people a potent concoction with two noxious ingredients.
First is an absence of facts regarding the dangers of violent Islamism in Britain and abroad; much is underreported, and what is reported is often stripped of its Islamist context. For example, Prime Minister Blair’s speeches this past summer outlining his war strategy and explaining the seriousness of the danger posed by Islamism were barely reported in the British press. Daniel Johnson wrote in the New York Sun September 7, “If neither his officials, nor his political allies, nor the media are listening, how can he expect the public to hear? His message about the existential threat posed by Islamist ideology has been drowned by the din of speculation about his future.” Blair has been vilified even for what mild attempts he has taken to address the problem. Soon he will be run out of office for them. The nation is interested in other things.
Second is the incessant peddling of the message that Britain is somehow to blame for Islamist attacks on itself. Why? Because it is killing Iraqis to take their oil; because it oppresses British Muslims; because it supports the U.S., which supports Israel, which is the cause of all the world’s problems. These themes occur in various forms in print and on television ad nauseam.
A chilling truth the establishment must face is that its party line, on many specific points of doctrine, falls in lockstep with the radical Muslim view. Another way to look at it is that the Muslim worldview is measurably shaping Britain’s worldview.
Part of the reason for that is the newsmakers’ fear of provoking Muslims and stirring up violence—which in itself shows there is a serious problem that should be dealt with rather than papered over. (After all, what better proves that Islam is violent than the fact that anyone implying this is accused of provoking peaceful Muslims to become violent?) But the more insidious reason is that the leftist media and political personalities agree with many of the Muslim ideas: that the U.S. is imperialistic, that peace in the Middle East is contingent upon Israel moving somewhere else; that terrorism would stop if only coalition forces would pull out of Iraq. In fact, a majority of Britons believe these ideas. A YouGov poll conducted in June revealed that 65 percent of Britons consider Americans “vulgar,” and 58 percent see the U.S. as “an essentially imperial power, one that wants to dominate the world by one means or another.” A strong majority of Britons believe Israel used “disproportionate” force against Hezbollah in Lebanon. In these ways, the British people have more in common with Islamist extremists than with their own prime minister.
British leaders should be challenging the lies propagated by Muslims. Instead they publicize those lies—because they believe them!
As Bret Stephens wrote in the September 5 Wall Street Journal, “[W]hat really ought to terrify Britain’s leaders aren’t the conclusions that divide mainstream and Muslim Britain, but the premises that unite them. From the credence given to people like Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky, to the simplistic derision of the U.S. and the frenzied hatred of Israel, the two camps attend the same church and sing from the same hymnal.”
The irony is that, in purchasing the Islamist bill of goods regarding the evils of Western imperialism and so on, these opinion shapers are forced to overlook the evils of Islamist ideology—predominantly, that killing innocent people is a righteous act; not to mention its blatant contraventions of Western ideals such as women’s rights, monogamy and free speech.
In the end, whatever the reasons, the effect of the left’s sympathy with Islamism is the same: When people—Muslim, Christian, secularist or anything else—are endlessly flooded with such messages, they are bound eventually to have increased hostility, even rage, against the U.S. and Israel, as well as any British policy that aligns with them.
Thus, in yet another way, Britain, rather than treating its sickness, has aggravated it.
Covenant of Security
Of all the aspects of the diseased innards of British society that the nation’s collision with Islamist extremists has exposed, one of the most disgusting has been what is called its “covenant of security.”
This was revealed in the shock that British authorities registered after the 7/7 attack. Many of them simply never expected such a thing to happen there. Why? Even though they had long been aware of the bustling hive of extremist activity taking place in their midst? Even though, for decades, they had simply looked the other way? Why so shocked? In large part it was because of a sinister, tacit agreement they had made with local radicals: to leave them alone as long there were no attacks in Britain.
Melanie Phillips explains, “This bargain, or ‘covenant of security,’ had been the dirty little secret at the heart of the British government’s blind-eye policy” (op. cit.). Never mind the fact that these radicals were successfully masterminding, funding, supervising and carrying out murderous attacks in other countries. Never mind that they were actively recruiting foot soldiers for their evil acts in local mosques. As long as they didn’t do their dirtiest work at home, they could carry on.
And this from a supposed chief ally in the “war on terror”!
Surely Muslim leaders saw through the hypocrisy. Surely they recognized weakness when they saw it. How they must have shaken their heads in contempt at the British authorities, with their hollow religion and empty ideals, talking tough for the cameras and for the Americans, then caving in to Muslim demands—to the hurt of at least 11 other nations whose citizens were killed by UK-based terrorists. In this, and throughout British society, the devout believers in extremist Islamism saw plenty to confirm in their minds the superiority of their violent, uncompromising ideology over Britain’s self-serving one.
Abu Abdullah, leader of the Finsbury Park Mosque in London, is a British-born convert to Islam who told cnn in August that it is an “Islamic right” to take up arms against the West, that Tony Blair and George Bush are legitimate targets for violence, that America and Britain should be subjected to further attacks. This man—whose candor in spewing out vileness, and with a British accent, takes one’s breath away—made a notable point in a 2004 interview with pbs’s Frontline. He explained, “The reason that I converted to Islam is because the Western world or the world in general had nothing to offer me other than gambling, sex, killings, etc. Islam gave me hope.”
This is a common argument made by Islamists to justify the idea that Western society should be destroyed: that it is decadent and immoral. Is this a valid charge?
Britain once had a firm sense of its own identity—rooted in biblically based morals and high standards—and of obligation to set an example of uprightness and civility for the rest of the world (see “How Britain Learned to Hate Itself,” page 18). Today, however, traditional British values have been almost wholly replaced by a rabid devotion to the hollow ideals of tolerance and multiculturalism. This “tolerance,” in practice, translates into a violent repudiation of tradition—which, in Britain, includes all scripturally based beliefs and morals. British society has vitiated its people’s sense of identity, of history, of responsibility. As a result, it has become the embodiment of secularism, self-loathing, immorality and loutishness. It seeks money rather than virtue; it worships pleasure rather than God.
Too many of Britain’s politicians, educators and religious leaders have failed to stand and shore up the nation’s defenses against this ravaging plague. A most notable example is Prince Charles’s attitude toward the UK’s state religion. Were he crowned king of England, Charles would be the titular head of the Anglican Church. In a seismic break from Britain’s past—but one thoroughly in touch with the modern values of his people who have turned their back on their founding religion—Charles once proposed that, as king, rather than assuming the title “Defender of the Faith”—that is, of Protestantism—he would be a “defender of faith”—any and all faith!
The ugly truth is, Islamism’s attack on Western decadence would never have gained such traction if the West had conducted itself in a morally upright way, and if it had unapologetically offered its people—of every creed—a firm sense of noble national identity. By trampling on its own sense of Britishness, this nation created a void that was filled on one hand by decadence, and on another by a deep loyalty among Muslims to the Islamic community that, in some cases, included embracing its most militant dogmas.
And because everything respectable that Britain once was is now regarded by many with shame, the nation simply has no answer. Devout Muslims are right to hate the materialism, the immorality and the selfishness. But those are not the things Western society should represent—they are the evils that rushed in to fill the vacuum left by the trashing of the pillar virtues Western society once aspired to represent.
Conservative mp John Hayes, in a scathing indictment of Britain’s moral state in the Aug. 6, 2005, Spectator, made this point—one that would be all-too-easy to dismiss for being too simplistic, but that should be deeply considered: “The most fitting response to the terrorist outrages would be the kind of moral and cultural renaissance that would make Britons of all backgrounds feel more proud of their country.”
That statement touches very close to the only possible healing for Britain in its advanced state of sickness.
You may be shocked to learn that the United Kingdom’s present diseased condition was prophesied over 2,700 years ago—as was its outcome.
Britain’s history with the God of the Bible is thoroughly documented and plainly evident throughout its system of law and governance, which is rooted in scripture and rich with biblical symbology. (Request a free copy of Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy to examine the historical and scriptural evidence of Britain’s identity.) Its past experience as the tribe of Ephraim within the biblical nation of Israel is clear: When it subjected itself to God’s commandments, it lived in peace, receiving blessings and favor. When it broke those commandments, it suffered from a host of plagues and curses.
Today’s Britain, having trashed that heritage and spurned the God of the Bible, has entrapped itself in this same pattern of curses.
Longtime Trumpet readers are aware that editor in chief Gerald Flurry has pointed to the dangerous Middle East “peace process” as fulfilling a specific biblical prophecy—that of “Judah’s wound,” found in Hosea 5:13. Biblical Judah is the modern nation called Israel, and its “wound” is the process by which Israel is trying to shore up its national security by placing its faith in its enemies—enemies who happen to be Muslims bent on Israel’s destruction.
That prophecy links Israel to Britain in a peculiar way. Here is the verse: “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.” Ephraim is the biblical name for modern Britain (as The United States and Britain in Prophecy proves). And here, in the same context as Israel’s “wound,” is mentioned Britain’s “sickness.”
Does it not make sense that the wound that drives Israel to seek help from Germany (“the Assyrian”—proved in our booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire, free upon request) would be so closely linked to the sickness that causes Britain to do the same? In both cases they are partly caused by harmful dealings with a radical Islamist enemy.
In this prophecy, Britain at some point recognizes its sickness. This is certainly happening in some British circles already, as commentators like Melanie Phillips and Daniel Johnson send out warnings to the public. At present, they are minority voices. But even among Britons at large, a majority now believe, for example, that Britain’s immigration laws should be stiffer. Laws have been implemented to deny visas to foreign extremists, and to deport radicals who live in Britain (though, with endless appeals, this law is still woefully toothless). Based on Hosea’s depiction, we should expect to see the British increasingly wake up to just how dangerous the sickness they have allowed to develop within truly is.
But once they see that sickness, what will they do about it? It will quickly become clear that the time for self-healing is long past. The disease is too far advanced; the body too weak. But they will not turn to God—the God who first gave them all their national blessings and who alone could restore them to health—not at first, anyway. Hosea’s prophecy is that first, like the Jews, the British will instead turn for help to the Germans. And that, as several dozen other prophecies plainly tell us, will prove to be a fatal mistake.
But the biblical narrative doesn’t stop there! Prophecy also tells us that, once the British have learned the invaluable lesson that those who trust in man are cursed—once they have suffered through the plagues that come as a result of their faithlessness—the remnant of them will turn in heartfelt repentance to God, and He will re-establish them as a strong, robustly healthy nation!