JK Rowling and global jihad

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I, like ten million others, follow JK Rowling on Twitter. A steadfast mainstream liberal, her feed is a litmus-test of just how tired and clueless Britain is on any given day.

I read her tweets with interest in the wake of the multiple murders committed last week by the British jihadi Khalid Masood, who drove an SUV into crowds of pedestrians near Westminster before stabbing a policeman to death.

It reliably consisted of platitudes about how London is not cowed by terrorists and cannot be defeated. She even posted a letter by the US ambassador to Britain reporting on its terminal condition to Washington in 1940, when it faced the Nazis alone, as proof of how no one should underestimate the British – oblivious to the irony of how they ultimately needed America to save them from annihilation.

She also tweeted a film made by the historian Dan Snow of himself ambling around London to prove how courageous and uncowed he and the British are by jihadism, notably outside Buckingham Palace, one of the most heavily policed areas of the city – an act of defiance that required balls of steel, I’m sure you’ll agree.

The other inane rubbish doing the rounds on British Twitter has included the declaration, mocked-up to look like a London Underground statement: “All terrorists are politely reminded that THIS IS LONDON and whatever you do to us we will drink tea and jolly well carry on.” This inspired Piers Morgan – the closest thing the Anglotariat has produced to a public intellectual – to write a very predictable column in which he shrilled, “Londoners won’t cow to callous bastards … Britain won’t buckle”.

The real message implied within all this bogus righteousness is clear: “Kill us all you like, Jihadi Sahib, we Britishers can do nothing.” It is an invitation that will be gladly taken up. After which, the British will again declare how uncowed and undefeated they are, before they are killed some more – and that is how this gory show shall continue.

I’ve drawn attention to JK Rowling because I think she is the most important British writer since Shakespeare, making a vital contribution to the suicidal impasse the British find themselves in. While Shakespeare’s work expressed the first inklings the British had of themselves as a people of talent and destiny who would go out into the world and irreversibly change it, the Harry Potter books mark the moment when, addled by the over-complexity of the modern world, they retreated into childish fantasy.

Her first in the series was published in June 1997, the month after Tony Blair came to power. Both succeeded in peddling the same ridiculous fairytale: of plucky, pure-hearted little Britishers who are born to defeat evil and save the world. Rowling and Blair clearly believe they belong to a unique people: indeed, she resisted all Hollywood attempts to dilute the Britishness of her characters in the subsequent films. As such, Harry Potter is as much a work of deluded national propaganda as the James Bond franchise.

And now, twenty-years on, Blair is fantastically rich, having stirred up a hornets’ nest in the Islamic world that his country can do nothing to control, and Rowling is fantastically rich too, tweeting insipid declarations of invincibility in the wake of a jihadi atrocity.

Like so many Brits, she has invoked the “spirit of the Blitz”, harking back to that other moment of national passivity in the face of mass murder, when they sat drinking tea in bunkers as the German rained bombs on them at will before crazily deciding to invade the Soviet Union instead – sealing their own fate in the process.

Rowling seems oblivious that the Blitz, though a critical moment in London’s history, means nothing to modern-day Londoners. The overwhelming bulk of this city was either born abroad or is the offspring of those who were, and their general view of the British-German conflict of the Second World War is of two sets of racist imperialists fighting over who gets to own the darkies. Thankfully, both sides lost.

London is nothing to do with the British now. It culturally and economically seceded from the UK years ago. Indeed, many Brits despise the city for its avaricious globalised condition: a teeming pit of ambitious foreigners with no concern for the country around them.

But while London is no longer a British city, it certainly is a Muslim one, and that is why it is a target for jihadis. Had Khalid Masood killed ten times as many people in his home-town of Birmingham, the world would not have cared as much. Like the other provincial British jihadis who blew themselves up on the transport system ten years before, he struck at London because it is the commercial and cultural capital of the Islamic world.

In time, London will be recognised as the greatest Muslim city in history – of greater importance and stature than Baghdad or Istanbul ever were. In no other city do Muslims of every creed, from every country, convene as easily as they do here: Indonesians, Ahmadis, Egyptians, Sunnis, Nigerians and Shia – every variety is here. Not only is 13 per cent of the population Muslim, but the mayor, Sadiq Khan, also is. An urbane Pakistani Ismaili, he is in his element in the Islamic cosmopolis he oversees.

London is fast becoming the global capital of the multi-trillion-dollar Sharia-banking market, and the city is awash with Muslim money. Great stretches of its prime real-estate is owned by Arabs, Central Asians and Muslims from further east. Areas like Knightsbridge and Kensington – once the preserve of the British elite – now have the elegant ambience of Beirut or Marrakesh, filled with beautiful, cultured and fashion-conscious people from as far afield as Tripoli and Mumbai.

The city’s tallest, most eye-catching and expensive building, the $2.2billion 95-storey glass construct known as The Shard, is owned by the State of Qatar. It is the Qutb Minar of modern London, stating the pre-eminence of Islamic power and wealth in the city, just as the Mamluks declared theirs in Delhi almost a thousand years before.

The Muslim cosmopolitanism of London is quite wonderful. Summer evenings spent smoking hookahs, inhaling the scent of attar and spices outside an Edgware Road cafe while watching gorgeous long-lashed hijabis walk by bring heady memories of equally blissful nights in Nizamuddin.

The most surprising thing in the wake of a jihadi attack in London is how pompous and out of touch the British response is. Right-wing Brits shout that more must be done to combat extremism and to integrate Muslims into British life, while liberals declaim the resilience and tolerance of their country. Both opinions are wholly irrelevant.

Europe is bordered to the east and south by a Muslim population of approximately a billion that cannot be defeated by war nor kept at bay. An accommodation with these people will be found that meets their needs. Britain, the most open of European countries, is making this accommodation more than any other: a process that will deepen and accelerate as it relies even more on Arab money in the wake of Brexit.

Britain’s relationship with Islam will not be decided by the British but by its Muslims, backed up by petro-dollar billionaires. The Islamic cosmopolitanism that is increasingly becoming London’s culture suggests the future will be one most liberal Muslims will approve of – which is why jihadis, and so many Brits, hate the city so much.

The Article First Appeared In DailyO

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