The events at a chain of cinemas called Cineworld this June in some cities of England over the showing of the film Lady of Heaven were indicative of a deeper problem in our culture whereby the ordinary citizen seems powerless against the Islamic mob and our authorities do absolutely nothing to impede its protests.
To recap, the Shia Muslim-made film Lady of Heaven tells the story of a young Iraqi boy who becomes orphaned during the Gulf War but finds solace in devotion to the Lady of Heaven—Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammed. The film eschews any pictorial depiction of the Prophet by employing an avatar rather than an actor and shows Fatima veiled. Admittedly there is some theological hair-splitting involved regarding whether such a depiction accords with Islamic law or not. But rather than holding a scholarly debate about the matter and avoiding the film if they reckoned it to be anathema, British Sunni Muslims took direct action, storming cinemas in several towns with large Muslim populations such as Bradford, Sheffield, and Bolton and forcing Cineworld to capitulate and withdraw the film. Thus, people wishing to see the film were prevented from doing so, and other cinemagoers to Cineworld, regardless of which film they wanted to watch, were intimidated and had their experience spoiled.
Of course, none of these “bearded film critics” as they were described by Douglas Murray, had viewed the film; they passed judgement in absentia. However, it is not their judgement of the film, however it was arrived at and for whatever reason, that is in question here; it is their methods and the underlying reasons why they felt justified and, indeed, were permitted to behave this way with impunity in a society where free speech predominates.
This is not the first time the Islamic mob has ruled our streets. Only in 2021 in Batley a schoolteacher was forced into hiding, along with his family, after being threatened with death by a mob who forced the temporary closure of his school. The teacher at the centre of the incident had shown a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in a religious education class studying the Charlie Hebdo incident, which led to the murder of several journalists on the French satirical magazine’s team. None of the Muslim children complained, in fact they showed nothing but support for the teacher. But the censorious crackpots from the seventh century who have appointed themselves the arbiters of what is acceptable material to be shown in a twenty-first-century British school took matters into their own hands. Remarkably, the teacher remains in hiding and his Islamic ‘rent-a-mob’ persecutors remain free to protest another day—as they undoubtedly did over Lady of Heaven.
We need no reminding of the Islamic outcry over the 1988 The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, whereby a storm in the theological teacup was blown into an international incident, leading Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a Fatwah, thereby making it the duty of every Muslim to kill Rushdie. Rushdie remained in hiding with permanent protection for nine years. There was an international counter outcry over the fatwah. But at that time Iran was a hated regime considered barbaric after the Islamic Revolution of 1978. Our leaders did not foresee the rise of radical militant Islam, funded by several countries including Iran. We supported the Mujahideen in Afghanistan against Russia with little understanding of how perishable the ceasefire between warring factions there was. Essentially, the Afghans wanted the Russians out so that they could resume their own brand of bloodshed. They did, and now it is being exported.
There have been mercifully few incidents as extreme as the one involving the Batley schoolteacher, and mobbing cinemas over an offensive film is a new phenomenon. Behind all this, however, is the creeping influence of Islam on our culture. Increasing numbers of Muslim migrants come to this country—legally and illegally—and transform many areas of inner cities into Islamic ghettoes. Mosques are visible on the skyline of many major cities while churches fall into disuse and disrepair or are repurposed as anything from homes to restaurants. It is notable that some of these mosques, such as the Edinburgh Central Mosque near The University of Edinburgh, received 90% of its funding from Saudi Arabia, where to openly display a cross or crucifix is to risk decapitation.
Other aspects of the creeping influence of Islam on our culture are the ridiculous steps we take to avoid offending Muslims when, frankly, the majority would not take offence. Thus, NHS hospitals were ordered temporarily to suspend the use of alcohol-containing hand gels, despite their widespread use in Muslim countries. We tolerate the barbarity of halal slaughter and avoid serving alcohol where Muslims may be present.
Naturally, two things must be said: first, that most Muslims here coexist peacefully with us and with each other and contribute to our society; and second, that nobody wishes to cause them offense. However, we must do better when it comes to understanding our own values, customs, and practices. We must never apologize or compromise when it comes to defending what is ours. This does not require violence or protest; it simply needs to be done and, of course, to be defended by the state.