Appeasing Muslims in Europe
Last September Robert Redeker, a French high-school philosophy teacher and author of several scholarly books, published an opinion piece in Le Figaro entitled "What should the free world do in the face of Islamist intimidation?"
His piece concluded that while Judaism and Christianity are religions whose rites reject and delegitimise violence, Islam is a religion that, in its own sacred text, as well as in its everyday rites, exalts violence and hatred.
The article was posted on the internet, translated into Arabic, and widely distributed. Within a day, it was being condemned on Al-Jazeera TV and the offending issue of Le Figaro was banned in Egypt and Tunisia. Redeker received a large number of threatening emails. He was condemned to death on one Muslim site, which posted his address and a photograph of his home.
Redeker and his family went into hiding. Five months later they are still living in secrecy. Christian Delacampagne, writing in the latest issue of Commentary magazine, describes how the French reacted: "The communist mayor of Redeker's town condemned him, the headmaster of his school complained that he had included his affiliation at the end of the article, France's two largest teachers' unions, both socialist, issued statements saying they did not share Redeker's convictions. The leading leftist human-rights organisations denounced his irresponsible declarations and putrid ideas. The French Education Minister, Gilles de Robien, criticised Redeker.
"The editorial board of Le Monde, France's newspaper of record, characterised Redeker's piece as excessive, misleading and insulting. It called his remarks about Muhammad a blasphemy. To judge from this response, large sectors of the French intellectual and political establishment have carved out an exception to the hard-won tradition of open discussion: when it comes to Islam, as opposed to Christianity or Judaism, freedom of speech must respect definite limits.
"How did France reach this point?"
The last time France was faced with a large-scale threat from something similar - fascism - it reacted with denial, defeat and accommodation. Parallels are drawn by an American writer living in Europe, Bruce Bawer, whose book While Europe Slept describes rapidly growing Muslim enclaves across Western Europe in which women are oppressed, homosexuals are persecuted, infidels are threatened, Jews are demonised, "honour" killings are frequent, forced marriages are routine, and freedom of speech and religion are repudiated. European political and media establishments turn a blind eye to this in the name of an illusory multicultural harmony.
"Europe's media, when confronted with events or statements that vividly illuminate the goals of Muslim leaders and agitators, either don't report on them or edit out key facts," Bawer wrote recently on his website. "Few media accounts of the 2005 Paris riots, for example, mentioned participants' cries of 'Allahu Akbar'. A 2006 [London] Telegraph poll found that 40 per cent of British Muslims want Britain to become a sharia state, yet politicians still respond to every new riot, rape, honour killing or foiled terrorist plot by reassuring the public that the overwhelming majority of European Muslims are law-abiding, peace-loving supporters of democracy."
It's a bleak view, but Western Europe's 15 million Muslims today will be 30 million in 10 years. A similar argument is made in another book, Infidel, published last week by a former Dutch member of parliament and former Muslim, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who is fluent in Arabic and Somali, has lived in Saudi Arabia, and worked for 10 years as a translator with the Muslims of Holland. Since criticising Islam and the oppression of Muslim women, she has been subject to so many threats and murder attempts she now lives in the US.
In an interview last week I asked her why there was such censorship, denial and silence from so many European liberals in the face of so many attacks on liberalism.
"There is a combination of imperial guilt, and the civil rights movement," she said. "It created an attitude that all cultures are equal, that Western culture is not superior, that Christianity is not superior. This is especially so in the intellectual elite, the media, the education systems, in politics. But for the intellectual elite this belief is only theoretical.
"It is the working-class communities who were the first to experience the realities of immigration and cultural differences. When there were the first protests in these communities about problems with immigration, and about problems with how immigrant women were being treated, the elite immediately turned on them by calling them 'racists'.
"Instead of facing up to this new face of misogyny, the elites pretended it was because of discrimination. The immigrants became the new working class. The proletariat was reinvented …
"Holland's multiculturalism has deprived many Muslim women and children of their rights. It is tolerance for the sake of consensus, but the consensus is empty. Many Muslims never learn Dutch and reject Dutch values of tolerance and personal liberty. I read rants about Islamophobia, but none of this pseudo-intellectualising had anything to do with reality.
"Until I came on the scene, no one wanted to say that the criminal behaviour of so many young Muslim men had anything to do with culture. There is such a resistance to quantifying, to statistics, because everybody knows where the statistics will lead. And if you publish that Muslims commit most violent crimes, there will be violence from the Muslims, and they will be supported by the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Socialist Party, which will explain away this behaviour as 'poverty'."
Faced with the rising tide of bomb attacks, plots, threats, demands and belligerent victimology from a violent, ignorant and sexually repressive subculture, the centre of European civilisation appears to be doing exactly what it did the last time blackshirts were on the march in Europe - appeasing, denying and capitulating.
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