Nairobi pays the price for UK's passive line on extremism
West provides a fertile breeding ground for Islamist killers like those who attacked the Westgate mall
KENYA does not possess cruise missiles capable of striking London or Washington. Just as well. They might be justified in using them in retaliation for the havoc unleashed in Nairobi this week by Euro-American Jihadists.
Twitter accounts purporting to speak for Al-Shabaab in Nairobi have been boasting that the Westgate mall gang contains many different nationalities - a Canadian, a Swede, two Britons, a Finn and at least three Americans, two of them probably from Minneapolis which has a Somali community of about 80,000, one of the largest outside Mogadishu.
Suspicions are growing, too, that Samantha Lewthwaite, widow of the 7/7 bomber Germaine Lindsay, may have been involved after possibly using a forged South African passport to enter Kenya.
None of this is surprising. The West provides the ideal breeding ground for Islamist killers.
The Western world is finely calibrated to detect, and then punish either through its legal systems or through ostracism, any notion of racial superiority. A joint legacy of the genocidal mania of the Third Reich and post-colonial guilt, it has been turbocharged in the United States by continuing guilt over slavery.
This may very well be a good thing. But it has a downside. Because of its emphasis on race it cannot recognise religious arrogance - a dangerous vice with a long and frightening history. We haven't seen it in the West for a few hundred years so we have forgotten its pitilessness.
To the leader of the Spanish Inquisition in the 15th Century, Tomas Torquemada, the only good Muslim or Jew was a dead one, or at least one who had been expelled from Spain. He saw it as his religious duty to root out 'heresy' (in other words anyone who didn't subscribe to his own version of Christianity), and frequently sanctioned the use of torture, if he judged that it would help save a man's soul. Ring any bells?
For the record, Torquemada didn't 'self-radicalise', or experience racism, deprivation, alienation or any of the fashionable modern excuses that seek to explain the butcher's bill in places like Nairobi. He loathed Jews and Muslims because he saw them as an affront to his religion and he imbibed his attitudes from both his family and hardline education.
We have also forgotten the seductive power it holds for some, particularly young men. To feel yourself superior. Always to be right. To be able to boss and brutalise everyone you don't like. To keep women as chattels. To be able to kill those with whom you disagree - all in a higher cause.
We thought we had moved beyond all this which may explain why we turned a blind eye to Islamist extremism as it took hold here in the late 1990s. As luck would have it, this coincided with a new wave of Muslim immigration, largely from the Indian sub-continent and Africa. The Americans have clearly allowed it to take root in Minneapolis.
Add to this toxic brew the guilt/grievance culture so dominant in Western political discourse and you have the perfect recipe for trouble.
Of course, we in the UK dismantled our borders. But even without any external protection we could have expected at least some internal resistance to extremism. Yet university campuses that have since the 1960s been at the forefront of vocal and sometimes physical opposition seem passive in the face of Islamist aggression.
If a group or society held a meeting where white people had to sit on one side of the room and blacks on the other there would be a riot; rightly so. But campus after campus has caved in to the separation of the sexes demanded by aggressive Islamists. The elite University College London even allowed its security men to separate men and women at a public debate in March this year - to the outrage of many, including Professor Richard Dawkins.
Our national immune system seems to have been disabled. In the recent debate over the wearing of the niqab at Birmingham Metropolitan College and in courts in London and Preston one previously strong supporter of women's rights described wearing it as "a strong and happy choice". Emmeline Pankhurst must be spinning in her grave in Brompton Cemetery.
There is a theatrical anecdote from the 1950s, possibly apocryphal, but certainly relevant to any modern study of Islamist terrorism. Some great luminaries of the acting profession were giving a performance of one of the classics of the repertoire in the West End. Suddenly, all went quiet on stage. The prompter, from his little cubbyhole, whispered the prompt. No reaction. He gave it again. The silence continued. He gave it a third time, whereupon one of the grandes dames of English theatre rounded on him:
"Darling, we all know what the line is… but who says it?'
We all know there needs to be a crackdown, but who will say it - and make it happen? ·