Neil Berry; 17/4/09
Ever since 9/11, the British writers, Martin Amis, Christopher Hitchens and Ian McEwan have been trumpeting their abhorrence of radical Islam. Not for nothing have they been dubbed the “literary clash of civilizations brigade”. Amis has been especially given to anti-Islamic utterances. It is true he disavowed his notorious wish to wreak vengeance on Muslims for the consequences of extremism, insisting that his quarrel was with violent Islamic zealots, not with Islam itself. Nevertheless, he has left little doubt that he regards Islam as an inherently regressive culture that far from having anything to teach the West, has much to learn from it. Celebrities with lavish access to the British and American media, Amis and his friends have done much to lend respectability to Islamophobia. So the emergence, in the person of Alastair Crooke, of a British intellectual with an altogether more considered and nuanced attitude toward Islam and Islamism is a salutary development.