The Poles are just about to release a film that is bound to appeal to patriotic sentiment in Poland, focusing as it does upon the pivotal role of the forces of Polish King Jan III Sobieski in the defeat of the Ottoman forces that ended the Second Siege of Vienna. This moment represented a turning point in European history, with Sobieski leading the charge of 3,000 winged hussars which finally broke the Ottoman line. Thereafter, Muslim expansionism in Europe was checked and gradually driven back, with the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire and the abolition of the Caliphate in the wake of World War I representing the logical denouement of this new phase in history. The threat that had hung over Europe since the Muslim invasion of Spain in 711 appeared to be over. For a full millennium, the peoples of Europe had been prey to the aggression and territorial expansionism of Muslim imperialism, but by the 1920s it seemed that this menace was dead. How wrong we were.
One of the legacies of World War II was a loss of confidence in the values of Western Civilisation and a questioning of its moral worth with respect to other cultures. The resultant cultural relativism coincided with rapid decolonisation, the rise of anti-Western movements and the fostering of a cult of post-imperial guilt in many European societies. This was the moment when Islam – or more specifically Islamism – began to revive with a building intensity. The former metropolitan imperial powers of Britain and France opened their borders to mass immigration from their ex-colonies, a process aided by new and cheaper modes of mass transport. No consideration was paid to the cultural baggage carried by these new arrivals, and the heaviest baggage of all proved to be Islamic.
The post-war world witnessed the bloody partition of British India leading to the creation of the explicitly Islamic state of Pakistan, with two other key events being the Iranian Revolution and US assistance to anti-Soviet Islamists in Afghanistan. Throughout this period, Saudi influence burgeoned as the vast oil wealth of the kingdom enabled Wahhabi proselytisation around the globe, and today, in the wake of the Arab Spring, we find Islamism on the rise across the Arab world, and Muslim minorities in Europe growing more vocal and assertive in their desire to snuff out free speech and impose their own Islamic mores upon our societies. The victory of 1683 therefore, was perhaps not as decisive as we would wish it to have been, for the forces of Islamic obscurantism have successfully regathered themselves and are once more on the offensive.
In recent weeks we have witnessed Muslim protests against the ‘Innocence of Muslims’, the latest Charlie Hebdo cartoons mocking Mohammed and even demands for a student society at Reading University to be removed from the Freshers’ Fayre for naming a pineapple “Muhammed”. What then, might we expect when September 11 1683 is released in Britain? In Poland, there should not be any problems, as the country possesses a miniscule Muslim population, but here in Britain, especially in England, it is a different matter altogether. Given Sobieski’s role as a Polish national hero, an upholder of the Catholic Faith, it is unlikely that the forthcoming film will seek to fit the sort of pro-multicultural cultural relativist narrative that would have been forced upon it had it been made in Hollywood or Britain, so that in itself should make it worth viewing. However, as to whether the film is itself any good as a piece of cinematography or drama remains to be seen, but the fact that the Poles have produced this film at this particular time should stimulate some interesting debate. It is likely to be vilified by many British critics as “crude Islamophobic propaganda”. As to what I make of it, I shall let you know once I have seen it. The clip below gives a foretaste of the film.