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What's Wrong With Britain?

Lately I keep coming back to Britain. Across Western Europe in the last few years, national or regional governments have instituted full or partial bans on Muslim face coverings: no niqab or burka in French, Austrian, or Belgian public spaces, ditto in Bavarian schools, in various localities in Italy, in the canton of Ticino in Switzerland, and in certain public spaces in Barcelona. On Tuesday, after a thirteen-year effort by Geert Wilders, the Dutch Parliament finally approved a French-style ban. These bans may represent only a fraction of what needs to be done to save Europe, but at least they're something -- minor if defiant gestures of civilizational self-assertion in response to aggressive emblems of conquest.

In Britain, by contrast -- well, when asked last year about a burka ban, Prime Minister Theresa May curtly ruled it out as “divisive” and discriminatory. “I believe that what a woman wears is a woman's choice,” she said, preferring not to acknowledge the well-established fact that many women and girls who walk around in 90-degree temperatures with their faces and bodies covered in heavy, dark, non-breathable fabrics are not doing so out of choice. These days, even as other countries are beginning to debate these matters and pass (admittedly tame) prohibitions, the kind of wholesale denial of reality expressed by May seems, in Britain, to be ever more deeply rooted.

Yes, they voted for Brexit -- but even Mr. Brexit himself, Nigel Farage, is notoriously allergic to even the slightest critical commentary about Islam.

For an example of what I'm talking about, take a column that appeared in a recent issue of the Spectator -- the British one, not the American one. Now, I used to think of the Spectator as an oasis of sanity in the UK, and I would like to continue to think of it that way. But this determination was severely challenged by the column in question, which actually begins as follows:

Is it all right for the Muslim parents of children at British state schools to prevent their sons and daughters from being friends with non-Muslim kids? And is it sensible? These questions have been knocking around my head like a pair of trapped moths, unable to find a way out.

First of all, let's back up a bit. If you've read the Koran, that delightful book, you know that one of its running themes is Allah's contempt for non-Muslims. Sample quotes: “Allah is an enemy to those who reject Faith.” “The curse of Allah is on those without Faith.” Another theme is the “torment of Fire,” the “awful doom,” the “evil doom,” the “terrible agony,” the “doom and degradation,” the “great punishment,” the “Hell-fire,” etc., etc., that awaits non-Muslims in the hereafter. Repeatedly, moreover, the Koran enjoins Muslims to avoid the company of non-Muslims: “Do not take the Jews and the Christians for your friends.” “Let not the believers take unbelievers for friends.” The Koran also makes it clear that when Muslims live alongside non-Muslims, the ultimate goal of the former should be to convert, dhimmify, or kill the latter.