And yet, The Age's editor Andrew Jaspan still lives in another world. You'll recall that it was Jaspan who objected to the energy and conviction of certain freed Australian hostage, at least when it comes to disrespecting their captors: "I was, I have to say, shocked by Douglas Wood's use of the 'arsehole' word, if I can put it like that, which I just thought was coarse and very ill-thought through ... As I understand it, he was treated well there. He says he was fed every day, and as such to turn around and use that kind of language I think is just insensitive."
And heaven forbid we're insensitive about terrorists. True, a blindfolded Wood had to listen to his jailers murder two of his colleagues a few inches away, but how boorish would one have to be to hold that against one's captors? A few months after 9/11, National Review's John Derbyshire dusted off the old Cold War mantra "Better dead than red" and modified it to mock the squeamishness of politically correct warfare: "Better dead than rude". But even he would be surprised to see it taken up quite so literally by Andrew Jaspan.
Usually it's the hostage who gets Stockholm Syndrome, but the newly liberated Wood must occasionally reflect that in this instance the entire culture seems to have caught a dose. And, in a sense, we have: multiculturalism is a kind of societal Stockholm Syndrome. Atta's meetings with Bryant are emblematic: He wasn't a genius, a master of disguise in deep cover; indeed, he was barely covered at all, he was the Leslie Nielsen of terrorist masterminds - but the more he stuck out, the more Bryant was trained not to notice, or to put it all down to his vibrant cultural tradition.
That's the great thing about multiculturalism: it doesn't involve knowing anything about other cultures - like, say, the capital of Bhutan or the principal exports of Malaysia, the sort of stuff the old imperialist wallahs used to be well up on. Instead, it just involves feeling warm and fluffy, making bliss out of ignorance. And one notices a subtle evolution in multicultural pieties since the Islamists came along.
Read it all, and while you're at it, read this piece by Irshad Manji, a person I greatly admire for her courage, who asks a Muslim community in denial: "Is Islam to Blame?"
believe thursday's bombings in London, combined with the first wave of explosions two weeks ago, are changing something for the better. Never before have I heard Muslims so sincerely denounce terrorism committed in our name as I did on my visit to Britain a few days ago. We're finally waking up.
Except on one front: the possible role of religion itself in these crimes.
Even now, the Muslim Council of Britain adamantly insists that Islam has nothing to do with the London attacks. It cites other motives — "segregation" and "alienation," for instance. Although I don't deny that living on the margins can make a vulnerable lad gravitate to radical messages of instant belonging, it takes more than that to make him detonate himself and innocent others. To blow yourself up, you need conviction. Secular society doesn't compete well on this score. Who gets deathly passionate over tuition subsidies and a summer job?
Which is why I don't understand how moderate Muslim leaders can reject, flat-out, the notion that religion may also play a part in these bombings. What makes them so sure that Islam is an innocent bystander?
What makes them sound so sure is literalism. That's the trouble with Islam today. We Muslims, including moderates living here in the West, are routinely raised to believe that the Koran is the final and therefore perfect manifesto of God's will, untouched and immutable.
This is a supremacy complex. It's dangerous because it inhibits moderates from asking hard questions about what happens when faith becomes dogma. To avoid the discomfort, we sanitize.
While silly artists in the U.S. paint pictures of America in the john; the reality is that Islam as a religion is being flushed down the toilet by all this sick behavior done in its name. It may never recover, and most of the rest of us don't much care anymore.
From all around the globe, you can hear the din of all the voices finally shouting at those who deny, placate, enable and sanitize: FOR GOD'S SAKE, WAKE UP!