I learnt much from this article about what motivates ISIS by Graeme Wood when it was published in The Atlantic in March. I was led to it by a Muslim friend and recommend it very highly. If you read it then it's worth rereading now.
The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.Of course ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the rest are fighting for Islam and their version is probably as legitimate a version of the warlike 7th century creed as the West-friendly ones. My Muslim theologian friend always denied this but he was a Francophone, Oxford-educated Guardian-reading left-winger who drank wine and lived on government benefits all his life in London, so he would think Islam and the Enlightenment were compatible. Come to think of it I'm not sure if Christianity and the Enlightenment are that compatible, although Christianity gave birth to the Enlightenment and without Christianity the Enlightenment is unimaginable.
Here are three brilliant articles written in the aftermath of the attacks in Paris. If you only have time for one make it this one, by Mark Steyn, entitled
The Barbarians Are Inside, And There Are No Gatesin which he makes this powerful point.
Among his other coy evasions, President Obama described tonight's events as "an attack not just on Paris, it's an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share".
Here is a great blog post by Douglas Murray on nine conclusions not to draw from the Paris attacks and, surprisingly perhaps, Katie Hopkins has written a very good, sombre, powerful and serious piece, asking
But that's not true, is it? He's right that it's an attack not just on Paris or France. What it is is an attack on the west, on the civilization that built the modern world - an attack on one portion of "humanity" by those who claim to speak for another portion of "humanity". And these are not "universal values" but values that spring from a relatively narrow segment of humanity. They were kinda sorta "universal" when the great powers were willing to enforce them around the world and the colonial subjects of ramshackle backwaters such as Aden, Sudan and the North-West Frontier Province were at least obliged to pay lip service to them. But the European empires retreated from the world, and those "universal values" are utterly alien to large parts of the map today.
Is Britain just going to sit and wait for its own day of reckoning?I fear the answer to her question is yes though I hope I am mistaken.
Actually it's not surprising at all that her writing is good. She is first of all an entertainer but when talking about refugees she is very much a force for good.
For some reason, the people I am angry with are not the killers, but the insufferably omniscient writers of the Economist. In particular i am angry with this article, 'Exodus: Europe should welcome more refugees and economic migrants—for the sake of the world and itself' that extols Angela Merkel's policy on migrants and says
an old idea of Christendom still lurks within modern European identity.