Scottish Daily Mail


- By Max Hast­ings

TOMORROw, the first planeloads of refugees from Syria ar­rive to be­gin a new life in Bri­tain. This will de­light ac­tor Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch, Labour MPs such as Yvette Cooper and a host of other com­pas­sion­ate folk who have urged that Bri­tain open its door to al­most all com­ers.

Per­haps, th­ese lob­by­ists will feel no twinge of em­bar­rass­ment about the rev­e­la­tion that at least two of the Paris killers trav­elled to Europe as refugees from Syria.

The rest of us, how­ever, shake our heads in un­sur­prised hor­ror.

Of course, the vast ma­jor­ity of refugees who come here have no de­sire to do us harm. But the Paris mas­sacre em­pha­sises some un­pleas­ant and un­wel­come re­al­i­ties which we do well to ac­knowl­edge rather than deny.

First, what­ever China or Rus­sia might do to us in the fu­ture, the fore­most cur­rent threat to the west’s se­cu­rity comes from Is­lamist ex­trem­ists. (Their re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tion can­not prop­erly go un­men­tioned, though the BBC tries to do so.)

For the fact is that al­most all the re­cent vi­o­lent plots which are de­tected and frus­trated by the in­tel­li­gence ser­vices, us­ing elec­tronic sur­veil­lance, have been by Mus­lim ex­trem­ists.

The ‘use­ful idiots’ who ar­gued that the rogue U.S. Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency worker Ed­ward Snow­den served the in­ter­ests of civil lib­erty, when he ex­posed many of the se­cret ac­tiv­i­ties of GCHQ, seem even more fool­ish to­day than two years ago.

Like­wise, those who op­pose the Gov­ern­ment’s In­ves­ti­ga­tory Pow­ers in­stru­ment, which would li­cense in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers to scru­ti­nise our com­mu­ni­ca­tions, must ex­plain how else the se­cu­rity ser­vices can pro­tect the Bri­tish peo­ple from harm.

Ever since the 7/7 Lon­don bomb at­tacks in 2005, opin­ion polls have con­sis­tently shown a sig­nif­i­cant mi­nor­ity of young Mus­lims in this coun­try are ac­tively sym­pa­thetic to ter­ror­ism. They ac­cuse our so­ci­ety of show­ing in­suf­fi­cient re­spect for their re­li­gion, and western gov­ern­ments of launch­ing at­tacks on Mus­lims in the Mid­dle East.

AL­THOUGH it must be stressed that most Mus­lims in Europe want to get on with peace­ful, hard-work­ing lives, we should be alarmed by the pres­ence of an enemy within our so­ci­ety. what’s more, it has been helped by the per­ni­cious folly of multi-cul­tur­al­ism which has in­duced them to be­lieve that they can live here with­out aban­don­ing val­ues and be­liefs that are ut­terly at odds with those to which the rest of us ad­here. Th­ese in­clude the sub­jec­tion of women, fe­male cir­cum­ci­sion, forced mar­riage and Sharia law.

Given such prac­tices and the chronic tension be­tween our di­ver­gent ways of life, it seems gravely mis­taken vol­un­tar­ily to ex­pand their com­mu­ni­ties in the west. It will, in­evitably, lead to more bit­ter­ness and, in­deed, violence.

The free move­ment of peo­ple within the EU — the abo­li­tion of in­ter­nal border con­trols — has been a pol­icy dis­as­ter: it must be re­versed as part of a re­spon­si­ble govern­men­tal re­sponse to the crises we face.

In ad­di­tion, it is ex­tra­or­di­nary that at least 300 known ji­hadis who left Bri­tain to fight with ISIS in Syria have been al­lowed to re­turn here and live at lib­erty.

If they have sin­cerely re­pented, then this must be wel­come, but a sub­stan­tial pro­por­tion is be­lieved still to es­pouse ex­trem­ist views, and to re­quire se­cu­rity sur­veil­lance.

we are also still far too lax on controllin­g mosques and clubs that pro­mote ex­trem­ist views with im­punity. And so, what­ever the dilem­mas in­volved in de­cid­ing the west’s pol­icy in war-torn Arab re­gions, it is sim­ple to cat­a­logue means of strength­en­ing se­cu­rity here at home.

Prin­ci­pally, that in­volves stem­ming mi­gra­tion and for our lead­ers to ac­knowl­edge that we can­not al­low all or even many of those who wish to come to Europe to do so.

Cru­cially, this must in­volve adopt­ing tougher poli­cies on rights of asy­lum.

The de­mands of those mi­grants now en­camped in Calais, try­ing to en­ter Bri­tain, should be se­verely re­stricted.

It is con­temptible that Bri­tish lawyers have re­cently vis­ited Calais seek­ing to iden­tify prospec­tive clients who might be able to claim asy­lum here un­der a lit­tle-known amend­ment to EU law that means asy­lum claims can be made in coun­tries where a mi­grant has fam­ily mem­bers.

Also, we must make it plain that those who come to live here must em­brace our so­ci­ety and val­ues in the fullest sense, as do im­mi­grants to the United States. It can­not be ac­cept­able to cre­ate for­eign is­lands within our cities.

WHILE, for our part, we must treat Mus­lims as equal and re­spected fel­low cit­i­zens, they in turn must show their com­mit­ment to us, pri­mar­ily by aid­ing po­lice and se­cu­rity ser­vices to iden­tify po­ten­tial ter­ror­ists. Above all, the po­lit­i­cal chal­lenge for Europe is to re­gain con­trol of its own bor­ders.

Our gov­ern­ments need the right — and the willpower — to make tough de­ci­sions about whom we should, and should not, ad­mit to the priv­i­leges of liv­ing here.

The prac­ti­cal dif­fi­cul­ties of en­forc­ing border con­trols are very great, but must be over­come.

If such an ap­proach seems ‘un­com­pas­sion­ate’, so be it. Re­spon­si­ble gov­ern­ments ac­cept the ne­ces­sity to de­fend them­selves against for­eign state en­e­mies, ac­tual and po­ten­tial. Th­ese have al­ways ex­isted — and al­ways will.

But given the bit­ter hos­til­ity ex­ist­ing to­day be­tween the west and sub­stan­tial parts of the Is­lamic world, it is reck­less to in­crease the num­bers of Mus­lims com­ing to live here, par­tic­u­larly when their back­grounds are in­suf­fi­ciently checked.

Mus­lims can as­sert with jus­tice that, un­til the 18th-cen­tury Age of En­light­en­ment, Chris­tian­ity was a vi­o­lently in­tol­er­ant re­li­gion: think of the Cru­sades and the Span­ish In­qui­si­tion. But to­day, mil­i­tant Is­lam and its fol­low­ers dis­play some of the same grotesque per­ver­sions, and pose a direct threat to the trust and har­mony which are such priv­i­leges of free so­ci­eties.

Al­though we are not to­day ex­plic­itly at war as were our fore­fa­thers in 1914-18 and 1939-45, we face threats to pub­lic safety which must be met by de­ci­sive ac­tion against those who threaten it.

Un­less we dis­play strength of will; im­ple­ment some ad­mit­tedly harsh mea­sures to ex­clude out­siders who wish us harm; and iden­tify those al­ready here who nur­ture evil in­tent, we shall face decades of such hor­rors as those which fell upon Paris.

If our politi­cians prove too pa­thet­i­cally wed­ded to mis­guided lib­eral val­ues to act in our de­fence, then they will de­serve the oblo­quy that history will thrust upon them.

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