, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


In September, 1939, after the Nazis had triumphantly rolled their tank battalions over the corpse of the Polish defence forces, there began a period now referred to by historians as the ‘phoney war’.

This period – which lasted roughly eight months before terminating dramatically at the Battle of France in 1940 – saw little to no actual military activity in Europe, despite the war being officially underway and there being no diplomatic solution considered feasible by European leaders.

That is not to say that nothing happened. There were, of course, war-like gestures by both sides, such as the digging of trenches, the erection of barbed wire fences and other military deterrents etc… What was missing, what made the war phoney, was the absence of any pro-active initiatives, any real engagement of the enemy, either with policy or force of arms.

In regard to Europe’s confrontation with Islamism, we have been locked in a period of phoney war for over ten years now. In this period, no real battles have been fought, or at least none to any great consequence. Only war-like gestures have been made. Nothing big. Nothing loud. Nothing enough to scare the pigeons.

The burkini ban proposed by the French government last week is one such gesture. Though the ban (which has since been blocked in the French courts) was greeted initially by some in the cultural-defence community as bold and meaningful, I cannot for the life of me think why.

Woman wearing the 'Burkini' swimsuit in Nice, France

Woman wearing the ‘burkini’ swimsuit in Nice, France

The burkini ban was simply a token move by the French government designed to convince the smaller-skulled among the French public that it cares, that it is willing to do something about the threat of Islamisation.

By itself, the ban would have done nothing at all to improve security, guarantee the secular character of French society, or even liberate the women concerned from their religious obligations. Indeed, it may have even robbed them of liberty, since, given that Muslim women are governed ultimately by their husbands, such women would almost certainly have been ‘advised’ to avoid the beach rather than risk breaking Quranic law.

The ban would contribute nothing. It was nothing – nothing pretending to be something.

To avoid the charge of picking on the French here, it should be noted that many such token gestures have been enacted or proposed by the British and American governments also. I can still recall the fanfare and fake controversy when the Home Office announced that it would be no longer acceptable for Muslim women to wear the veil in their passport photos. Imagine that…

The Niqab - often referred to as the 'Burka'

The Niqab – often referred to as the ‘Burka’. No legal restrictions on Muslim dress have been successfully enforced in Western nations.

Whatever explanations they manufacture for their apathy, the truth is that the governments of the West are simply too scared to take any serious action to combat the Islamist threat. And, to be fair, it isn’t difficult to imagine why they would be.

If the reader is on Facebook – and has a representative selection of friends on this site – he/she will have observed with dismay the absurd intensity of the backlash against the burkini initiative these past few days.

Self-defined Liberals, both in France and outside of it, have branded the idea ‘fascist’, ‘totalitarian’, and (of course – drum roll please….) ‘RACIST”. The idea was even said by some to violate the rules of feminism and sexual equality – including, it should be noted, by Muslims themselves, who ordinarily have scant regard for the notion of female empowerment.

In the Independent newspaper columnist Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan went further than most by pressing the accusations of racism and feminist betrayal into one incoherent lump, arguing that French feminism is itself explicitly rooted in “colonialism and imperialism.”

“Correct me if I’m wrong,” she wrote, “but I thought this was a pretty black and white thing we feminists were agreed on. An article of faith if you will: Thou Shalt Leave Women To Do As They Will With Their Own Bodies. France, often posturing itself as the beacon of feminism because apparently feminism was born of the French Revolution… should surely know this article more than most. And yet, here it is – the French state itself – forcing women to wear or not wear certain clothes! Incredible!…Muslim women are posited always as victims of their dress who require liberation from the French authorities. And here’s the catch: this French desire to liberate Muslim women and the positing of Muslimness as ‘oppositional’ to Frenchness has a long and bloody history (in the colony of Algeria).”

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has spoken in support of the Burkini ban

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has spoken in support of the burkini ban

The comment section beneath this article contains numerous criticisms of Khan’s leaky reasoning, but just as many agreeing voices. Khan is, furthermore, in the solid majority within the closed world of the Western press and the activist mainstream it feeds.

In France, Britain and America, protests against the burkini ban have been staged outside French embassies and cultural centres. On the internet, petitions have been drawn up and generously endorsed with signatures from right-thinking undergraduates and bearded Guardianistas.

If this timid, pointless gesture cannot pass into law without triggering such hysteria, one can well understand why our governments are averse to doing anything more profound.

I will not here deal with the specific arguments for and against the burkini ban in France (or elsewhere), since the initiative is too meaningless and tokenistic to merit our consideration. Instead, let us consider (for contrast) a meaningful, serious policy; one with which the governments of the West could take the fight to the Islamist forces threatening our way of life and physical existence. To do this we must necessarily turn away from Europe and look to America.

The Donald Trump speech I referenced last week (which addressed the issue of US foreign policy) advertised many novel and impressive strategies for pushing back against the Islamist ranks. Of these, one stood out to me as particularly commonsensical: namely, the drawing up of an ideological test for prospective migrants to the United States prior to their admission. This brave idea is logical and reasonable not just for the US, but for the entire Western world.

Donald Trump addresses supporters in Ohio

Donald Trump addresses supporters in Ohio

As Trump explained, this would be no different in practice to the tests used (effectively) by many Western nations during the Cold War. As with Communism during the Soviet era, Islam (Trump still insists, for political reasons, on calling it ‘radical Islam’) represents a massive and feasible existential threat to the social and governmental norms of all Western countries. It is only natural, therefore, that the West should take the same precautions now as were put to use then.

What would such an ideological test look like? No-one knows for certain (Trump has the habit of being rather vague). I can only say at this juncture what I think it should look like.

Here are some suggested questions for Trump’s ideological test (and I write these fully in the knowledge that they are too extreme even for Donald Trump’s campaign):

Q1: Do you recognise, understand and accept a causal relationship between the strength of Islam in a country and the backwardness of that country?

Answer required for a pass: Yes.

Q2: Do you recognise, understand and accept that what attracts you to the Western world is the cultural superiority (freedoms, secularism and sophistication, etc.) of the Western world?

Answer required for a pass: Yes.

Q3: Do you recognise, understand and accept that those things you wish to escape by leaving the Muslim world are the natural and inevitable by-products of Islamic culture?

Answer required for a pass: Yes.

Q4: Do you believe women, homosexuals and followers of non-Islamic religions should have the same rights and freedoms as anyone else?

Answer required for a pass: Yes.

And finally: Q5: Do you swear on the Quran to put your commitment to the liberal, bohemian values of the West over and above any commitment you retain to the Muslim faith?

Answer required for a pass: Yes.

While imperfect and incomplete, I think this little questionnaire would go some way in filtering out the more honest Islamists from among the migrant hordes. Lying (a virtue in Islam) is obviously a possibility, but, even in that case, such an interrogation would nevertheless succeed in putting unwelcome thoughts in previously closed minds.

When the phoney war is finally over, and when the competing sides are clearly identified and ready for an honest confrontation, I believe Muslim immigration to Europe and America will be outlawed entirely. But we are not at that stage yet. The war of gesture vs. gesture still has a lot of life left in it – not to mention appeal.

All people, of all backgrounds, are naturally inclined to oppose confrontation and support the status quo. Even during WWII, the British, German and French populations were almost certainly relieved by the break in hostilities offered by the phoney war. They knew deep down that it couldn’t last. They knew deep down what the Nazis were really about. But they wanted space to breathe, to continue life as normal. It is no different now.

Ultimately, of course, the same thing will get us out of our comfortable trenches as got the French and British armies out of theirs in 1940. We will have no choice.