Well, they say you should be careful what you wish for in case you get it, and in the first week of February, I did. And oh, it was a mixed blessing and a half!
For the past five years I have wished not to be vilified as a racist, a bigot and an Islamophobe every time I had the nerve to say that certain Muslims living in Britain hate Westerners, not because of what we do - the war in Iraq, support for Israel - but because of what we are: free. This freedom is so frightening to a certain sort of sexually frustrated Koran-basher that he will kill even his own sister or daughter if he believes her to be enjoying herself with the body God gave her - which is why the police in Britain are currently investigating more than 100 unsolved "honor killings" of young Muslim women.
Anyway, I daresay you've seen footage of the Muslim mentalists and their disgusting banners - "Get ready for the real holocaust" was a particularly choice example - as well as young men dressed as suicide bombers and children wearing hats saying "I love Al-Qaida," protesting against the Danish cartoons in London. And this in a country, shamefully, where the newspapers never even reprinted them! See - for what we are, not what we do.
Then a few days later, the mullah Abu Hamza was jailed for seven years for fermenting racial hatred and inciting followers to kill non-Muslims. Britain gave him refuge and thousands of pounds a year in welfare payments - and in return he turned his mosque into a weapons arsenal. Everything from CS gas to hundreds of forged passports was found there. And the numerous speeches he made, some of which are thought to have been heard by followers including the British Muslims who carried out the 7/7 London bombings, which killed 52 of their fellow citizens last year. Once again, we were hated for what we (and Jews, Sikhs and Hindus, in Hamza's case; he was very much an equal-opportunities hater) are - civilized and free rather than what we do. If we had turned him away and sent him back to certain - if deserved - persecution, rather than taking him in and looking after him, he couldn't have hated us more.
For fear of appearing racist, many Britons suspend their normal judgments when dealing with the behavior of ethnic minorities. Not only is this totally racist in itself - pre-supposing as it does that ethnics are like children, who know not what they do and must have special dispensation to behave badly - but it also ignores the fact that the other ethnic minorities, be they Jews, Chinese or Hindus, have somehow managed to both keep their culture and fit into their chosen adopted country, without feeling the need to parade around the streets like big overgrown babies, stamping their feet and ordering fatwas when things displease them.
In the same week as Hamza was sentenced, a former executive at the BBC accused them of pro-Islamic bias, for the reason that BBC Web sites report Islamic opinions as fact, but Christianity as mere "claims." Meanwhile, Prime Minister Blair's wife, the lawyer Cherie Booth, continues to "defend" the right of a 17-year-old Muslim girl, excluded from her school because of her outrageous demands, to wear a head-to-toe shroud - a case which has so far cost the British taxpayer 70,000 pounds sterling in legal aid, and will no doubt cost another 70,000 before a decision is arrived at. To make matters even stranger, the pressure group behind the ungrateful little idiot - if she wants to go about dressed like a ghost, what's to stop her moving to one of dozens of Islamic theocracies where she'd have to do just that? - are Hizb ut-Tahrir, the ultra-Islamist weirdos widely thought to have been behind that racist hate-march. And who recently caused embarrassment for the oh-so-liberal British Guardian newspaper when they had to sack one of their hacks for belonging to it.
Anyway, from now on I think I'll get just a few less accusations of racism when I point out that Muslims can be a bit, well, narrow-minded. Mind you, it's a long hard struggle trying to make bleeding-heart liberals see sense. Especially when you live in a country where a sizable part of the print and broadcasting media are such guilt-ridden cretins when it comes to Islam that if they saw Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein sexually sharing their own grandmother, they'd swear the poor old lady asked for it.