Girls just wanna have fun!

"Good work!" Theresa May as Home Secretary
A Liberal Charade

Out of all the distress and fury from the BBC and social media about the recent attack on Muslims in Manchester, or that is what seems to have happened, one incident stood out for particular recrimination. Some idiot had shouted, ‘When are you going to stop bombing people?’ at a fourteen year old Muslim girl.

The tormented teenager, as she was described, was a pupil at Manchester Islamic High School for Girls. The incident occurred after Monday evening’s suicide bombing at Manchester Arena, in which twenty two people were killed and dozens more injured at  a pop concert. An incident which has of course greatly affected the local Muslim community which appears to be astonished by the event.

Mona Mohamed, head teacher at the school, told Mishal Hussain of Radio 4’s Today programme that the girl had been ‘upset and hurt’ by the comment, but had not responded as she had been advised along with all other girls at the school to keep quiet if they were subjected to ‘Islamophobic abuse.’

Muslim Head teachers do not often appear on Radio 4 but Hussain, very worried about the possibility of increased ‘Islamophobia’ did not feel inclined to ask her how the girls felt about the bombing, or whether she had any concerns about how they were going to live in a western society. Questions of identity and integration among the girls who are all obliged to wear Islamic dress as their school uniform were not asked at all.

The general opinion on Twitter, from Muslim men and white British ‘yummy Mummies’ was that asking a teenage girl a question like that was quite outrageous. The Asian men saw it as yet another attack on their faith and community, but the white tweeters saw it as child abuse. This suggested a slight contradiction in modern British child rearing attitudes; on one hand teenagers are supposed to pass endless exams and are forced to become academic even if they want to be hairdressers or lorry drivers, on the other they are not really expected to know anything much particularly about the world around them.

I was reminded of this recently when a friend told me her daughter had been asked a political question in an interview for a university place. ‘How could any eighteen year old girl be expected to know that?’ she said indignantly.

I thought back longingly to the 1970s when I joined the Labour Party at sixteen, and took a keen interest in the Irish ‘Troubles.’ A lot of school girls were into politics then but not now it seems. Today she would have a hard time explaining her interests to her friends on Facebook. Curiosity about current affairs is seen as geeky and unattractive again, as they are their parents participants in the US cult of the little princess. Today’s teenager are generally not expected to be reading the Bronte sisters, Dickens or Marx or engaging in topical debates, but sitting in their bedrooms sending bullying messages on social media, sexting, and self-harming, perhaps all three. Any of those are now more usual than waving Mao’s little red book at your Grandma.

That teenager accosted in the street was seen as vulnerable, a discursive answer was not expected or required, or perhaps she was privileged because she was asked the most crucial question in our country today, which no politician has the guts to ever ask.

Since the massacre on Sunday night, we’ve had a whole week of endless news coverage with that question ever being asked, or the possibility of further Muslim integration ever being suggested. Quite the opposite, Church and state have run from postulating any possible solutions, or in most cases from even acknowledging that there is a problem.

The week started the way it continued with the BBC’s ‘Thought for the Day,’ which turned out to contain no thoughts at all but could have been useful as a face flannel.

On the 23rd as the full horror of the bombing sank in we had theologian Andrew Greystone giving us his thought, which was about the possibility of increased, ‘fear and alienation.’ He didn’t say whose. He managed not to mention Islam once. He praised Manchester as a ‘diverse and multi faith city’ which had overcome most of its problems and was now offering a ‘new message of solidarity and hope.’

That word, ‘solidarity’ has been spouted endlessly throughout the week. He also added praise for an, ‘open hearted community,’ sounding almost joyful. What they were being open hearted about was skilfully avoided as he delighted that people ‘of all faiths and none,’ another trope regularly trotted out, had come together in a ‘narrative of community.’ One could only hope for more bombing in town centres for all the good it obviously does.

We also heard from David Walker, the Bishop of Manchester no less. He said it was ‘important not to let suspicion divide us.’ He didn’t say of whom, or of what, or who ‘us’ are. He brought up those of ‘all faiths and none’ again, they are always around, and the importance of making sure no one was vilified for what had happened. He also mentioned that ‘Trolls’ had been out early making mischief, pointing the finger, he didn’t say at whom, but that they were a ‘very tiny minority and the ones we need to isolate.’

 I think that was a reference to trolls, he didn’t mention any group specifically so it became a bit confusing. The following day he held hands with an Imam, so it can’t have been Muslims he was talking about.

The following day, a flannel for the day was wiped over us by the Rev Michael Banner, Dean of Chapel from Trinity College, Cambridge. He talked about peace in the most abstract terms, calling for a ‘shared commitment to the good of all.’

Anyone visiting from another planet would have been unable to determine whether the recent event had been bad or good, and would certainly have no idea who had committed the crime, quite the opposite. Throughout the week have been yards of descriptions of the atrocity, interviews with young people who were there, visits to mosques, interviews with worried Muslims and people gathered in the centre of Manchester. As far as I know, no reporter has ventured into the suburbs or council estates of that city, or visited any white working class people of all faiths and probably none, in their pubs expressing their unvarnished opinion of recent events;  sad because they are probably the only group willing to suggest why suicide bombing and random attacks in our cities has started, and how it might be prevented. 

By midweek it was clear that the BBC and some prominent public figures were in firm denial that an Islamic terrorist attack had happened. On Wednesday 24/5/17 a BBC reporter told us that the killer might not have been radicalised. ‘We don’t yet know,’ he said, despite twenty two dead and ISIS claiming responsibility.

Then we heard the dreaded word ‘Prevent’ the government’s controversial strategy to prevent radicalisation among the young, which has obviously failed. Mrs May said that if she wins the election she will pour more  money into it, while Andy Burnham, the new mayor of Manchester who is now in charge of that City’s police, who has previously called the scheme, ‘toxic,’ declared that he only wanted a Prevent policy which was, ‘palatable to all communities.’

That meant he didn’t he still didn’t want any such strategy at all as many Muslims don’t like it. He went on astonishingly to tell the BBC that he has no belief in the ‘concept of Islamic terrorism.’ For him it just doesn’t exist. He echoed a popular Left wing belief that there are no Muslim terrorists only individual mad people, such as the man who killed Jo Cox, unconnected by any over-arching ideology. If the Alt-Right have only lone nutters then so does Islam.

Again I was back in the 1970s, a radical teenager, keenly plugged into left wing politics, but I don’t remember anyone ever saying that the IRA did not exist as a body only as lone loonies planting bombs and shooting soldiers because they were mentally ill, unconnected to each other.

General Sir John Hackett once said to me in an interview that Ireland didn’t exist, it was just a ‘dirty mark on a map,’ he said with utter contempt, but I don’t think that even he would have denied that Irish Republicanism had found some expression in a violent paramilitary group.

The Left, including Yummie Mummies, bringing up their snowflake children, is increasingly performing astonishing contortions in its determination to deny that there is any threat to us from Islam and in particular home grown Muslims.

Instead of asking about that, all week the BBC has attempted to create an image of Manchester as a Utopia of big hugs and infinite charity. There has been wider talk about reasons for the attack, suggesting that UK foreign policy in Libya was to blame. Four days on the word ‘integration’ has yet to be mentioned. That would mean facing up to the issue of Islamic separatism, their desire for a Caliphate in the West, and the yawning divisions that now exist in many British towns, including Manchester.

Is there any way to stop British Muslims carrying out terrorist attacks – we are not allowed to ask. Such questions are forbidden as like modern fourteen year olds we have to be protected as much as possible from harsh reality.

Jane Kelly

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4 Comments on Girls just wanna have fun!

  1. The attitude of the man who addressed his question to the schoolgirl requires more thought than ‘Thought’ for the Day will ever allow.

    In Britain we have, thanks to our ancestors (not thanks to equality and diversity), both freedom to worship and freedom of speech, as well as the separation of powers and that of church from state. It may even be the case that Muslims are freer to worship here than they are in certain respects in some Islamic countries.

    This man’s question is in one sense crass. The schoolgirl was not personally involved (we must say that, not just for the sake of natural justice, but since we also have the presumption innocence – just). She cannot answer for the actions of others: how long? His approach is also plain rude. His question makes no more sense than if a devout conservative Christian or Muslim asked any of the teenagers at the pop concert how long they were going to allow the licence of sexual liberation to continue, or the exploitation of child labour that made their footwear.

    On the other hand however, if there is indeed only one body of the faithful, one Umma, then the man’s question takes the claim that that is the case at face value, at its word, and in doing so pays respect to it. In this very strict and limited sense there is a logic in his question.

    • A small quibble; in Britain you do not have separation of Church and State. The State religion of England is Christianity, propagated through the Church of England. The reigning Monarch is the head of C of E and is also the senior political figure, being the head of state.

  2. So many communities.

    The perpetrator of this atrocity was a Mancunian. Odd that all the diversity, equality, tolerance, multi-culturalism, multi-faith and general togetherness did not inform his behaviour. Nor apparently was there any gratitude on his part for Britain sheltering his parents from persecution.

    I once came across a priestess of the Church of England at a crematorium who was happy to think that Britain would eventually become an Islamic state.

    She said this with a clear intention of trying to upset me. Not an attitude that’s full of Christian charity, especially when you consider the place where we were and the reason why I was visiting. Much more like the self-righteousness of left-liberalism. That’s why I pay no attention to clergy such as those you mention.

  3. Oh, how true, Miss Kelly and how depressing. The fact is we’re in a fix. The left establishment has connived at this miserable state of things and some of them are glad – payback time for empire, they say (sotto voce, natch). Some, on the other hand, are bewildered – the socialist to liberal lot, who think that all you need to do is wave the magic wand of bureaucracy to create – drum roll – a loyal Briton! Millions of them! Finally, there are the quietly penitent ones who are well aware that open borders and mass migration equal instability and bombs – but they have hunkered down with the centre right in a conspiracy of silence, because noise might make things a whole lot worse. Hence the platitudes, the sentimentality, the repetition – we dare no nothing else. You must admit they have a point – as did Neville Chamberlain. But just as appeasement is only justified by concomitant rearmament, so our shabby silence can only be supported if we start to address the issue – first and foremost by reducing immigration and especially from the middle east.