Tag Archives: British tourists

TEN YEARS AFTER 7/7

7:7 remembrance service

A Service of Remembrance was held in London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral today, to commemorate 7/7, England’s 9/11.   It came just eleven days after another terrorist attack in Tunisia claimed the lives of thirty British tourists.

Ten years ago exactly, 52 people were killed when four home grown Islamic terrorists blew up three subway trains and one bus.   Dozens more suffered life-changing injuries.

At times, the service was deeply moving.   In attendance were Prince Andrew, the Prime Minister David Cameron and his predecessor, Tony Blair, who was prime minister when the attacks took place, together with his wife, Cherie.   Family members of the deceased filled the great church, built in the late seventeenth century following the Great Fire of London.

London is, arguably, the most multicultural city in the world.   The deceased were drawn from different cultures and different religions.   The perpetrators of the atrocities were all Muslims, born in England, and all from fairly affluent backgrounds.   Their actions were not motivated by poverty or lack of opportunity.

The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, pointed out, that:  “the majority of the victims were young, they came from all over the UK and all over the world. There were Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Humanists . . . London is an astonishing world in a city, but beyond the diversity… this was a terrible crime that robbed us of family and friends.”

He continued:  “Our London is a laboratory for testing whether it will be possible for the cosmopolitan civilization, which is becoming a global reality, to hold together.”

“We are in the midst of a debate about identity, including what it means to be British.   Some in the world are reacting to change by retreating into ever narrower definitions of their identity.   At the same time, merely invoking the universal concepts of tolerance and respect, with which we probably all agree, does not generate one iota of the energy required to transform lives and to build a community.   We cannot exorcise the Satanic by creating a spiritual vacuum.”

The Bishop’s comments were thought-provoking.   Some might disagree with some of what he said.

He talked of our “cosmopolitan civilization, which is becoming a global reality,” when, in truth, it really isn’t.   The suicide bombings that were being commemorated were the acts of second generation Muslims.  The countries their families came from are not cosmopolitan.   They do not allow westerners into their countries except on short-term contracts – they certainly cannot settle and become citizens no matter how long they stay.   Britain and other western nations allow immigration from the Middle East and grant citizenship, thereby encouraging a cosmopolitan society, which clearly has its challenges, when young citizens, far from appreciating the country their parents moved to, instead try to kill as many of their fellow citizens as possible.

He also talked of the “universal concepts of tolerance and respect.”   Sadly, these are not universal concepts.  They are concepts that developed over time in Protestant countries, when the proliferation of different sects necessitated learning to live peaceably alongside each other.   They are western concepts.   They do not even extend to Eastern Europe, let alone to China, Russia or even Japan.

The bishop’s remarks highlight the great gulf that exists between the West and the Rest.   Multiculturalism is largely one-sided, with people in the West having to bend over backwards to accommodate other cultures that have moved into their territory and are now demanding they get their own way.   And, when they don’t, they will blow other people up to make a point.

It’s not surprising that a BBC straw poll taken on Saturday, found that 95% of British people say that multiculturalism is not working.

Further, today’s British papers quote the ex-head of British Counter-terror as suggesting that it’s time for the British government to provide charter flights to Syria, encouraging homegrown jihadists to fly out and join ISIS, after surrendering their passports.   This is, finally, recognition that many Muslims in their midst will never show the tolerance and respect that living in Britain requires.

 

 

“METHINKS HE PROTESTS TOO MUCH!”

Islam peace

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After the gruesome murders of over thirty British tourists on a Tunisian beach Friday, the British Prime Minister David Cameron was quick to condemn the atrocity.  But he was also quick to remind those listening that Islam is a religion of peace and that terrorists have seized and perverted Islam.

He is now calling on the national media to stop referring to “Islamic State,” the name that ISIS calls itself.

“Methinks he protests too much!”

For years now, we’ve been hearing of terrorist acts committed by Muslims in many different countries.  Yes, occasionally, we hear of a terrorist act committed by Hindus and individual acts of violence by supposed Christians, like the one in Charleston two weeks ago.   But most terrorism is committed by Muslims, both Shia and Sunni.

Sometimes, it’s hard for politicians to come out and tell the truth, but one day somebody will have to, if we are to ever win “the Great War of our time,” as Michael Morell calls it.  Mr. Morell was the former deputy director of the CIA.

Mr. Cameron’s call to end the use of the term “Islamic State” led to a discussion on the BBC World Service (radio) this morning.   It amazes me with so much going on, with terrorist attacks threatening us all and with IS constantly expanding its territory, that we can indulge ourselves in discussions of semantics on worldwide radio.

At one point, the term “Islamic State” was being discussed.  One contributor said we should not use it as ISIS is not Islamic and not a State.  What is it then?

I googled a definition of “state.”   The following definition came back: “a nation or territory considered as an organized political community under one government.”   Based on this definition, IS is certainly a state, or country.   It’s not a “state” as in the US, which is a federation of 50 states.  But it is as much a state as Germany, Italy, France, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc.

It has territory.  In fact, it has more of it every week.  It now controls most of Libya and has clearly expanded its influence into Tunisia, with two major terrorist attacks in three months.

It’s also an “organized political community under one government.” It’s certainly not organized like other countries, but in its own way it’s organized and has a central authority that lords it over the people, just like other governments.

So why can’t it call itself “Islamic State?”

The problem is that it gives Islam a bad name.

But, that’s nothing new.  Islam has had a bad name for 1400 years, ever since its founder, the prophet Muhammed, told his followers to go out and kill all infidels, to conquer the world.

Our ancestors knew that this was reality.   On a number of occasions during this long time period Europeans were in a state of armed conflict trying to stop Muslims from conquering Europe or the Middle East.   Yes, President Obama was correct when he reminded listeners that Christians did some terrible things, but now is now.  It’s not Christians that are threatening to shoot or behead us en masse, it’s Muslims in general, al-Qaeda, al-Shahaab and ISIS in particular.

And it doesn’t help when Messrs Cameron and Obama keep repeating that Islam is a religion of peace.

In fact, it shows them up as being ignorant of history.

It also shows that they haven’t read Graeme Wood’s groundbreaking article on ISIS in the March issue of The Atlantic, the most read article in the magazine’s long history.  Wood’s long article showed that ISIS represents true Islam, that the organization’s roots can be found in the seventh century and that they see themselves fulfilling eschatological prophecies before the advent of the Messiah.

Refusing to recognize this is irresponsible.  People cannot defend themselves if they cannot clearly identify the enemy.  ISIS is the real Islam and it has territory, so it has every right to call itself “Islamic State.”   In fact, it’s the perfect name for this political entity.

One of Mr. Cameron’s predecessors as prime minister, a fellow Conservative leader, Winston Churchill, did not come on the radio after every Nazi attack to remind the British people that it wasn’t the Germans who were doing this, it was only the Nazis who represented hardly anybody.   If he had, it’s doubtful that victory would have been achieved.

Mr. Cameron’s England is more reminiscent of a book written shortly after World War II.   In George Orwell’s “1984,” the Ministry of Truth told nothing but lies, even going so far as to rewrite history for the newspapers.  It was almost impossible to think for yourself. If you did, it wouldn’t be long until the Thought Police caught up with you.  Today’s “thought police”, employees of the Ministry of Truth, are the multiculturalists who keep telling us that Islam is a religion of peace and threaten us with prison if we say otherwise.

Meanwhile, the “proles,” the proletariat, the ordinary people of Orwell’s England, were fobbed off with endless entertainment, so they wouldn’t think too much.   It’s a good thing he died in 1950 – an evening with cable television would have finished him off, anyway.

Mr. Cameron should remember Hans Christian Anderson’s tale of “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” the story of a gullible king who was sold a miracle new fabric that only his loyal subjects could see.   Then, one day while riding in a parade, a little boy, who was not privy to the secret of the new fabric, shouted out before all, that the king had no clothes on.   As Danny Kaye sang it in song:  “Look at the king, the king, the king…..the king is in the all-together, the all-together, as naked as can be.”

One day, with increased acts of terrorism in our own countries, it will become impossible to keep repeating the mantra that Islam is a religion of peace.

But, by then, it may be too late!

AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST

Tourists posing on top of Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia
Tourists posing on top of Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia (before they took their clothes off)

Christians are meant to be “ambassadors for Christ” (II Cor 5:20).   Sadly, many Christians do a bad job and this makes Jesus Christ and Christianity look bad to non-Christians.

In a similar way, when we travel to other countries, we represent our own country.   We are unpaid, unofficial ambassadors for the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia or wherever else we may come from.

Many people do not take this seriously, either.

An example of this took place a few days ago in Malaysia when a handful of western tourists (one person from the UK, one from the United States, an Australian, and two Canadian siblings), stripped on top of a mountain, exposing themselves and even having photos taken with nothing on.

They were just goofing off as many young people do.   At home, they might have gotten away with it, or perhaps received a citation.

But, in Malaysia, a strict conservative mostly Muslim country, their juvenile display was deeply offensive.   Even more so in the area around the mountain where the local people consider the mountain sacred, home to their ancestral spirits.

Shortly after their stupid act, there was an earthquake, which many locals attributed to the visitors’ misbehavior.

The perpetrators of this stupidity were given three days in prison and have had to pay a $1330 fine.   They also have to apologize and are being deported.

They are fortunate.   In some Muslim countries, they might have been stoned to death.

It’s not just that they did something wrong, an act that would be condemned anywhere in the world, their ignorance is also mind-boggling.   Here they were in a Muslim nation doing something deeply offensive.   They didn’t even realize how serious their misbehavior would be.  Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

But their act also adds to a growing perception in the world, that westerners are degenerate.   Whereas Victorian tourists knew how to dress and how to act in public, the last few decades has seen a drastic change in the people of the United States, Canada and Britain.   Freedom has become license.  Licentious behavior, once condemned every week in church, is now accepted.   But our national reputation is tarnished by it.

An article I saw a few days ago told of a holiday resort in Spain that doesn’t want any more British tourists.   They only go there to get drunk and fornicate, even on the beach in front of local families passing by.  When people see this, it can’t help but affect their view of Britain, even though many British people would also be offended.

We are told that:  “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).

Each one of us has a responsibility when we go overseas to set a good example, of proper and righteous behavior.   For Christians, this is doubly important, as we not only represent our own nation but also Jesus Christ.