What a surprise. From “British Muslims Get Their Soapbox,” by Brendan Bernhard in the New York Sun, with thanks to Web:
Radical Islam in Britain will also be featured tomorrow night on “CNN: Special Investigations Unit,” a new series which sounds like something involving David Caruso, designer sunglasses, and murdered fashion models. In fact, this episode, “The War Within,” stars Christiane Amanpour, and while it would be going too far to call it an unflinching look at Muslim extremism, it does at least look at it. But let’s not give Ms. Amanpour, arguably the most famous female journalist in the world, too much credit. Oriana Fallaci lamented before her death last year that she had come so late to the most important story of her lifetime. She was talking about the growth of Islamic radicalism in Europe, and she was referring to its beginnings in the 1970s.
Now in 2007, we have Ms. Amanpour, chicly turned out in dark glasses and a long dark coat, announcing at the outset that London, which has been not only her home but also her “refuge” from conflicts overseas, is itself embattled, a site of conflict and suicide bombings and fear. Unfortunately, little history or context for the eruption of this problem is provided. A massive, highly politicized Muslim population is just suddenly there, in Britain. There is no reference to the fatwa against author Salman Rushdie in 1989, when there was widespread rioting by British Muslims, let alone to the notorious 1968 “Rivers of Blood” speech by the maverick Conservative politician Enoch Powell, in which the issue of immigration was placed dramatically on the front burner of English politics before being swiftly removed for the next three decades.
Ms. Amanpour appears to interview a wide range of people, Muslim and non-Muslim, but this is somewhat illusory. She interviews a fair number of Muslims and a couple of non-Muslims, primarily Alan Craig, a Christian city councillor opposed to the football stadium-size “mega-mosque” being planned for East London. (To him she says: A lot of this sounds like, I’m sorry to say, white middle class fear, and anger, of Muslims right now.”)
What she doesn’t do is interview other British immigrants about the Muslim situation. Indians, say. There are a lot of them in Britain, and I suspect they would be quite articulate on the subject. Or Chinese. Or Russians. Or West Indians. Or “” you name it. All these people are kept in the background, part of Britain’s “rich multicultural fabric,” to be heard from on a more convenient occasion. Instead, the equation becomes either British whites versus British Muslims, or radical Muslims versus moderate Muslims, with white people looking on. Consciously or not, the effect is misleading and subtly racist “” against white Britons.