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Welcome To Planet Blitcon

New Statesman

Another exercise is beyond the reach of any of the Blitcons. There are exotic creatures they cannot imagine in their fictions and diatribes: the generality of Muslims, people who believe in something other than the Blitcons' understanding of Islam, people who live humdrum lives on the streets of Bradford, Karachi or Jakarta, people far removed from the festering imagination of the Blitcon. Amis has never even met an ordinary Muslim in his life.
But I lie. He has met one. In "The Age of Horrorism", Amis tells us that in Jerusalem he came face to face with the "maximum malevolence" of an Islamist, the gatekeeper at the Dome of the Rock. Amis writes that he wanted to enter the mosque in contravention of some "calendric prohibition" - there are none, actually - which led to a transformation in the gatekeeper: "His expression, previously cordial and cold, became a mask; and the mask was saying that killing me, my wife, and my children was something for which he now had warrant." By the simple observation of facial expression, Amis was able to divine the entire plot. But might it not be that the humble gatekeeper had never encountered such an obnoxious, arrogant and ignorant tourist?
Presumably, facial expressions explain Amis's claim that only one thing does not fit in multicultural Britain: Islam. How does this fit with the lives of the doctors, teachers, policemen, businessmen, entrepreneurs, bankers, solicitors, academics, scientists and even other writers and novelists as well as postmen, bakers and candlestick makers who are British Muslims living ordinary lives and making their contributions to British society? Perhaps they should change their facial expressions, acquire a new set of teeth and smile a bit more in the face of the avalanche of Islamophobia they have to endure.