The Prince of Wales gave this morning’s Radio 4 Thought For The Day, the Today programme’s religious slot. Here, he “warned that the rise of populist extremism and intolerance towards other faiths risks repeating the ‘horrors’ of the Holocaust”, and told that “We are now seeing the rise of many populist groups across the world that are increasingly aggressive to those who adhere to a minority faith. All of this has deeply disturbing echoes of the dark days of the 1930s”. Charles was careful to include all the Abrahamic religions.
So his address reminded listeners not only that “My parents’ generation fought and died in a battle against intolerance, monstrous extremism and inhuman attempts to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe”, he also quoted a Jesuit priest from Syria who “thought it quite possible there would be no Christians in Iraq within five years”, and noted “We might also remember that when the prophet Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Medina, he did so because he too was seeking the freedom for himself and his followers to worship”.
Charles also reminded his audience “According to the United Nations, 5.8 million more people abandoned their homes in 2015 than the year before, bringing the annual total to a staggering 65.3 million. That is almost equivalent to the entire population of the United Kingdom … The suffering doesn’t end when they arrive seeking refuge in a foreign land”.
Some observers wondered who Charles might have meant by those who “are increasingly aggressive to those who adhere to a minority faith”. Various names were put forward. But they need not have wondered: over at the Murdoch Sun, the deeply unpleasant Rod Liddle had abandoned Denis Thatcher’s dictum - “better to keep quiet and be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt” - and proved the Prince right in spades.
In a particularly egregious example of intolerance, Liddle took the Berlin truck attack as the text for his sermon of hate: “Just the latest grotesque atrocity from fundamentalist Muslims we’ve cheerfully imported into Europe … They did this because they really, really hate us. They hate us, they hate Christianity and they hate Christmas”.
How many was “they”? Er, one actually, and he hadn’t been “cheerfully imported”. He was slated for deportation. Still, details, eh? On he drones: “They hate our children especially, which is why they like to target places where there will be lots of kids … The more dead kids, the better. Yes, we’re dealing with lovely people”. None of those killed in the attack, and identified so far, were children. But that doesn’t stop Liddle.
Indeed, he then goes full Hate Preacher: “The German people are at last losing their epic delusion of what this vast, uncontrolled immigration into their country has meant … They are sick of the rapes, the sexual assaults, the violence and the hatred coming from these new immigrants … The lack of integration. The burkas and niqabs on every street corner … People who want to demonstrate their separateness from the rest of us … A primitive people who loathe our culture. People who loathe us, even if only a comparatively few murder us”. Deliberate fear-mongering. Demonising. Rabble rousing.
All this is the kind of poison that was fed to the German people in the 1930s about Jews. They were “separate”. “Primitive”. They loathed the majority. They raped, they robbed. They were “other”. It was dishonest, divisive and malicious then. And it is now. Rod Liddle has proved the Prince of Wales right. Another reason to remember - Don’t Buy The Sun.