If you are like us, you probably often find yourself too busy when the luncheon gong sounds to manage a proper meal. You wind up ordering in a sandwich to eat at your desk. Even doctors in Glasgow, Scotland, used to avail themselves of this expedient. No more, apparently. You remember Glasgow: that’s where Kafeel Ahmed, part of a terrorist cell dominated by foreign-born Muslim medical personnel, rammed a Jeep Cherokee filled with explosives into the airport’s main terminal in June. In response to this, ah, incident, Britain raised the terrorist threat level to “critical.” What, you might ask, does that entail? Here’s one thing: according to some press reports, local hospitals ordered staff not to eat at their desks during Ramadan lest they offend the sensibilities of their Muslim colleagues and patients. Food trolleys, too, were to be rerouted out of sensitivity.

According to a hospital press release, these “suggestions—not orders— … have been greatly exaggerated in the media.” Perhaps. But a suggestion broadcast to “senior managers” can seem an awful lot like, well, a very strong suggestion, indistinguishable in practice from what the hospital refers to as “a policy directive,” i.e., an order. People will, in any event, take the hint. Meanwhile, the BBC has dropped plans to include an episode about a terror attack by Muslim extremists in its hospital drama show Casualty. This seems to be standard operating procedure. After the subway bombings in London in July 2005, the BBC suddenly announced that it was scrapping plans for a dramatization of John Buchan’s novel Greenmantle. Why? Well, the book, whose plot revolves around Germany’s effort to enflame Muslim extremists in the First World War, contained “unsuitable and insensitive material.” Very considerate of the BBC, of course, but where were those scruples when they aired Jerry Springer: The Opera? That scurrilous, anti-Christian expostulation occasioned widespread protest among Christians, but in that case, as the London Telegraph tartly noted, “the BBC said that it would not be dictated to. Faced with potential Muslim anger, its courage is less visible.”

Do we discern a pattern here? Last month, Cambridge University Press announced that it would pulp all unsold copies of its 2006 book Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World by Robert O. Collins, a professor emeritus of history at the University of California, and J. Millard Burr, a retired employee of the State Department. Why? Becuase Khalid bin Mahfouz, a Saudi banker, filed a libel claim to quash the book. According to a story in The Chronicle for Higher Education, Cambridge instantly capitulated, paid “substantial damages” to Mr. Mahfouz, and even went so far as to contact university libraries worldwide to ask them to remove the book from their shelves.

Have we got this right? Muslim medical personnel conspire to construct and detonate car bombs. Result: local hospitals “suggest” greater sensitivity to Muslim eating habits and the BBC cancels a television program depicting more or less what just happened in the street because it might anger the wrong people. Meanwhile writers from France, Britain, and the United States have their work suppressed by a Saudi businessman who doesn’t like unpleasant things said about Muslim charities. Where does it end?

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 26 Number 1, on page 3
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