Tuesday, October 05, 2010
As Dutch politician Geert Wilders goes to trial in the Netherlands for making remarks 'offensive to Islam', it is worth reflecting on the state of the anti-Jihad movement today.
In virtually every article about Wilders I saw in the mainstream press, he was referred to as 'far right', 'anti-Islam' , 'ultra Right' or 'nativist' and compared with genuinely anti-Semitic and fascist politicians like Jorg Haider in Austria and Jean-Marie Le Pen in France. In reality, Wilders has almost nothing in common with them, espousing freedom and democracy and being a strong supporter of Israel. His real stance is simply anti-sharia and anti-jihad.
The same arguments are used against groups like the Tea Party Movement, the opponents of the Ground Zero Mosque, the Swedish Democrats, the English Defense League and the Swiss People's Party,now the largest party in Switzerland.
There's a rather consistent narrative going on in Europe and elsewhere in the West on the Left (and yes, that means the press) concerning the alleged racist and xenophobic composition of various anti-jihad and anti-sharia movements. Even if the movements themselves are not characterized in that fashion, they are painted as having 'elements' or connections with certain groups characterized as `nativist' or even racist.
In America, opponents of the Islamist Mosque at Ground Zero were characterized as anti-Muslim bigots, and even the burning of a privately owned Qu'ran by a small time minister occasioned not only wide spread media outcry but the personal intervention of the President of the United States, America's most well known general and the Secretary of Defense.
Ironically, at the same time this was going on an American artist was advised to go into hiding by the FBI after a death fatwa was issued against her over her participation in 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day'. That hardly rated a whisper in the media, let alone from a government whose job it's supposed to be to protect American citizens, the last time I checked.
In America, much of this is caused by simple ignorance as much as willful blindness or the Salafist Muslim Brotherhood/Saudi penetration into American society. I vividly recall an interview with Pastor Terry Jones of Qu'ran burning fame done by CNN's Anderson Cooper wherein Cooper repeatedly asked Jones "Have you read the Qu'ran"?
The implication of course was that this ignorant red neck preacherman was going to burn a holy book out of pure ignorance, and the sophisticated, liberal journalist was going to show him up as the ignorant bigot he was.
When I heard that, my first thought was that it was Anderson Cooper who had never read the Qu'ran. If he had and had seen what kind of treatment is mandated by Islam for homosexuals, he'd have likely been scared out of his wits...perhaps might have approached the whole subject quite differently.
After all, somebody else's fatwa today could very well be yours tomorrow.
The common thread here is a disinclination in Leftist circles to look at Islamism as it is, to ignore its excesses and to demonize those that oppose it as ignorant racists and nativists.
The affinity between the Left and Islam actually quite easy to understand, since Islamism like the Left hates capitalism, Western Judeo-Christian civilization and Zionism.
This tie-in is far more pronounced in practical terms in Europe than it is here, although the Obama Administration has upped the ante quite a bit because of President Obama's own predilection for Islam and things Muslim.
Aside from our Constitution, the estimated 3.5 million Muslims here constitute much less of a voting bloc than they do in Europe, and they are more spread out over a larger territory. Thus the effect of Islamism in Europe has been much more intense.
So we have so far avoided things now common in Europe like mandatory sharia courts, widespread crime, violence and epidemic gang rapes, no go areas for non-Muslims in major cities or widespread attacks on Jews and their religious institutions.
In Europe however, these things are now a reality, especially after decades of Leftist Labour governments who have encouraged widespread Muslim immigration without bothering to figure out the likely consequences.
In much of Western Europe the indigenous European population has been marginalized, has had their culture and heritage demonized, has had whole sections of their cities rendered virtually `off limits' and have been subjected to violence while being censored by various `hate crime' laws from even debating what's becoming of their own native lands. And this has been done with the connivance of the Leftist political establishment, which, in many of these countries, increasingly depends on Muslim votes to stay in power.
As the Dutch author and thinker Leon Dewinter famously said, you can have an immigration society or a welfare society - but not both. The Europeans are now learning exactly how right Dewinter was, particularly when many of those immigrants not only have no intention of assimilating but have ideas of treating their new homelands as conquered territory to be colonized.
In response, a certain amount of 'nativism' and anti-Islam sentiment has indeed surfaced, and it would be hypocritical to deny it. While it is far more advanced in Europe's anti-Jihad, it exists here in America as well and is growing in response to America's Islamists and their allies on the Left becoming more blatant.
I think that it's worthwhile considering the nature of what that `nativism' actually consists of.
The essence of multiculturalism, after all, is that all cultures are equal. And taken to it's furthest extremes, especially in academia, that western culture is in fact `inferior' and that so-called `white people' are inherently racist in nature. So it's important to ' re-educate' them to revere the 'superior' culture....particularly when it comes to Islam, the only religion apparently worthy of respect by academia and the Left.
For instance, in Britain, teachers have been ordered to dress up as Muslims to promote multiculturalism, and there have been incidents where non-Muslim school children in both the UK and America have been forced to play at being `Muslims', with girls dressing in the oppressive burkas, children writing essays on jihad,and children `pretending' to say Muslim prayers and the shehada, the Muslim pillars of faith recited by reverts.
And it's not just Europe. The influential Texas Board of Education recently found that most of the available textbooks they were considering for purchase abounded with chapters on the glorious achievements of Islam and ignored it's unsavory elements while shortchanging the western civilization we've inherited that has provided more freedom and a better life for the common man than any other culture on the face of the earth. So they demanded and got changes in the books before they would buy them for the classroom.
There are numerous other examples of this sort of pandering to Islam in Europe and America that I could cite.
The question is, how exactly should the majority populations of the West react to such blatant assaults on their culture? Do they not have every right to insist on respect for their culture and the right to promulgate and preserve it from what amounts to an attack? I neither consider such efforts to be xenophobic, racist or anti-Semitic...up until the point where people are targeted with concrete actions specifically for their race, religion or nationality, rather than their individual actions.
All people may be equally worthy of respect, but all cultures aren't, frankly. And the native populations of the West have the right and the duty to protect and pass on their cultures to their posterity without `patriotism' or `nativism' becoming dirty words.
They also have the right to insist that immigrants to their countries, attracted by the freedom and prosperity western civilization affords respect the majority culture and assimilate to a degree.
Increasingly, more and more Europeans are embracing this view of things, and as they find leaders like Wilders and Germany's Thilo Sarrazin, this realization is causing political upheavals in Europe. And America is not far behind in this new, unapologetic embrace of Western freedom and culture.
Nor does this mean that minority cultures have no place in our Western society. Oddly enough, the Jews, with a history of being attacked as the Eternal Stranger, the Other, provide a perfect example of how people can practice their own culture while respecting the majority culture of the countries they've lived in. And while it hasn't helped the Jews overly much in most of Europe for a variety of reasons, it's been a successful model in places like America, Canada and Australia, among others.
I doubt that this has occurred to either many Muslims or their apologists, butif more Muslims followed that model, and if Islam in general `played nicely with others' without insisting on its inherent superiority, none of this would even be an issue.
But that would change Islam into something it unfortunately has not become yet, if it ever will.
Of course, that's not really the point. The members of the Muslim umma who embrace Islamism are in fact being true to their culture. It's not their fault if we in the West allow them to attack ours and refuse to defend our own.
But if we refuse to , we simply sabotage ourselves and our liberty. People defend what's theirs because they believe in something, and undermining our culture cedes victory to people who mean us no good, but who have a deep seated belief in something very different.
Unpleasant as it may be, we're in a war for our survival, and that becomes increasingly evident as time goes by. And culture is a potent weapon in war, perhaps one of the most potent.
The Islamists understand that. It's time we did.