Bruce Bawer moved to Europe several years ago to escape what he thought was a stifling American culture, a condition that he blamed on the influence of the religious right. In Europe, Bawer believed, he and his gay partner would find the freedom and openness that he thought had been eclipsed in the United States.
But Bawer found something quite different, which he described in his book While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within.
In the current edition of City Journal, Bawer updates the “surrender,” as he calls it, of European culture to Islam:
What has not been widely recognized is that the Ayatollah Khomeiniâ€™s 1989 fatwa against Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie introduced a new kind of jihad. Instead of assaulting Western ships or buildings, Khomeini took aim at a fundamental Western freedom: freedom of speech. In recent years, other Islamists have joined this crusade, seeking to undermine Western societiesâ€™ basic liberties and extend sharia within those societies.
The cultural jihadists have enjoyed disturbing success. Two events in particularâ€”the 2004 assassination in Amsterdam of Theo van Gogh in retaliation for his film about Islamâ€™s oppression of women, and the global wave of riots, murders, and vandalism that followed a Danish newspaperâ€™s 2005 publication of cartoons satirizing Mohammedâ€”have had a massive ripple effect throughout the West. Motivated variously, and doubtless sometimes simultaneously, by fear, misguided sympathy, and multicultural ideologyâ€”which teaches us to belittle our freedoms and to genuflect to non-Western cultures, however repressiveâ€”people at every level of Western society, but especially elites, have allowed concerns about what fundamentalist Muslims will feel, think, or do to influence their actions and expressions. These Westerners have begun, in other words, to internalize the strictures of sharia, and thus implicitly to accept the deferential status of dhimmisâ€”infidels living in Muslim societies.
Call it a cultural surrender. The House of War is slowlyâ€”or not so slowly, in Europeâ€™s caseâ€”being absorbed into the House of Submission.
The Western media are in the driverâ€™s seat on this road to sharia. Often their approach is to argue that weâ€™re the bad guys. After the late Dutch sociologist-turned-politician Pim Fortuyn sounded the alarm about the danger that Europeâ€™s Islamization posed to democracy, elite journalists labeled him a threat. A New York Times headline described him as MARCHING THE DUTCH TO THE RIGHT. Dutch newspapers Het Parool and De Volkskrant compared him with Mussolini; Trouw likened him to Hitler. The man (a multiculturalist, not a Muslim) who murdered him in May 2002 seemed to echo such verdicts when explaining his motive: Fortuynâ€™s views on Islam, the killer insisted, were â€œdangerous.â€
If you find any of that shocking, by all means read the entire article. It gets worse.
I’ve commented here a number of times on the mystifying self-destruction of Western culture in Europe, with a particular emphasis on what has been happening in the UK. When I speak directly of this to friends in conversation I often get a sort of blank reaction — like a “where the hell is he going now” reaction — that indicates something I’ve also mentioned here: some things are just too big or too unbelievable to get your mental arms easily around them.
Most impressive is the reaction of some of the Brits I’ve run into on the net: “Oh, posh,” would about sum it up. Or “that’s only happening in London.” (The latter not being the truth at all.)
I don’t know what will or can be done in Europe (or in Canada, which is engaging in a similar form of submission), but these same trends are now showing up in the U.S., and it might be a good idea to start paying attention to them.