Friday, February 10, 2006

8th Century Thugs

Victor David Hanson worries that the West is permitting itself to be bullied by what amounts to a Muslim temper tantrum, and that the consequences to Western civilization could be awful.

In the post-Osama bin Laden and suicide-belt world of our own, we shudder at these fanatical riots, convincing ourselves that perhaps the Salman Rushdies, Theo Van Goghs, and Danish cartoonists of the world had it coming. All the while, we think to ourselves about the fact that we do not threaten to kill Muslims when they promulgate daily streams of hate and racism in sermons and papers, and much less would we go about promising death to the creator of "Piss Christ" or the Da Vinci Code. How ironic that we now find politically-correct Westerners — those who formerly claimed they would defend to the last the right of an Andres Serrano or Dan Brown to offend Christians — turning on the far milder artists who rile Muslims.

The radical Islamists are our generation's book burners who search for secular Galileos and Newtons. They are the new Nazi censors who sniff out anything favorable to the Jews. These fundamentalists are akin to the Soviet commissars who once decreed all art must serve political struggle — or else.

If we give in to these 8th-century clerics, shortly we will be living in an 8th century ourselves, where we may say, hear, and do nothing that might offend a fundamentalist Muslim — and, to assuage our treachery to freedom and liberalism, we'll always be equipped with the new rationale of multiculturalism and cultural equivalence which so poorly cloaks our abject fear.

Hanson points out, quite correctly, that for the last ten centuries, Muslim culture has been backward and intellectually moribund, a bitter and parasitic culture well aware of its third rate status, but unable to extricate itself from its self-imposed squalor.

The Islamists are also sad bullies, who hunt out causes for offense in the most obscure places, but would recoil at the first sign of Western defiance. Turkey may say little to the Islamists now, but they would say lots if the European Union decided to pass on its inclusion into the union. Local imams sound fiery, but if the West is too debauched a place for any pure Muslim to endure, why then do they not lead, Moses-like, an exodus of the devout away from the rising flood of decadence, and back to the paradise of a purer Syria or Algeria?

Third, the bogus notion of multiculturalism has blinded us to a simple truth: we in the West can live according to our own values and should not allow those radicals who embrace or condone polygamy, gender apartheid, religious intolerance, political autocracy, homosexual persecution, honor killings, female circumcision, and a host of other unmentionables to threaten our citizens within our own countries.

The deluded here might believe that the divide is a moral one, between a supposedly decadent secular West and a pious Middle East, rather than an existential one that is fueled by envy, jealousy, self-pity, and victimization. But to believe the cartoons represent the genuine anguish of an aggrieved puritanical society tainted by Western decadence, one would have to ignore that Turkey is the global nexus for the sex-slave market, that Afghanistan is the world's opium farm, that the Saudi Royals have redefined casino junketeering, and that the repository of Hitlerian imagery is in the West Bank and Iran.

Sadly, decades of multiculturalist thought-policing in the West, combined in unfettered immigration has left the Western world incapable of standing up to angry Muslim mobs. The real beneficiaries of the cartoon row will likely be the Chinese, who are getting an eye-opening lesson about the weakness of the West. Who needs missiles and bombers and tanks to defeat the West when a few thousand angry rioters can do the same thing by screaming hysterical threats and burning a few flags? The problem is that the Chinese make missiles, bombers and tanks (and a whole lot more), whilst the Muslims make only noise.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

More of the Same

In Pakistan, a Sunni Muslim suicide bomber killed more than a score of Shiite Muslims at a religious gathering. The result was predictable.

A suicide bomber killed 23 people taking part in a Shiite religious procession in Pakistan today, according to Interior Department officials.

News service accounts said that as many as four more people died in rioting that followed the explosion.

There was no firm count of the number of wounded, which was described as being in the dozens.

The attack took place in the town of Hunga, about 125 miles from the capital, Islamabad, in the country's northwest.

In recent years, tensions between Sunnis and Shiites in Pakistan have increased, and there have been a number of attacks on processions marking Ashura, which marks the death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, Hussein Imam, who is regarded by Shiites as a saint. Sunnis make up about 80 percent of the country's population.

In Afghanistan, at least five people were said to have been killed in clashes between Sunnis and Shiites near the city of Herat, news services reported. And in Iraq, security forces were on high alert as more than a million Shiites marched in processions through cities in the country's south.

In Hunga, Maulana Khurshid Anwar, a leader of the procession, told Reuters that the blast was near the platform from which he was about to address the crowd.

A local official, Mir Faisal, told the Associated Press that the after the blast the town was shrouded in smoke and that bursts of gunfire could be heard.

"Things are tense and we can't go out," he said.

News services quoted witnesses who said that Shiites went on a rampage after the explosion, burning cars and demolishing market stalls.

"I saw dead bodies and injured people crying," Mohammed Jamil, 25, told The Associated Press. "There was panic everywhere."

Will there be any outcry around the Muslim world at this senseless slaughter of fellow Muslims? Any protests similar to the ones currently on view in London, Cairo and Damascus over foreign cartoons? Don’t hold your breath. But remind yourself that this is why we have borders, and why we are better off enforcing them.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Consequences of Appeasement

The frenzied, crazed response of Muslims worldwide to the Danish cartoons is clearly a case of Western freedom of expression under siege from fundamentalists of an alien culture, but there is a deeper and more strategic logic behind the bizarrely over-the-top outcry from Muslims. Hoping to prompt a slow-on-the-uptake Bush administration to move away from its initial, clumsy condemnation of the Danish cartoons and embrace a full scale defense of Western values in the face of Islamic bully tactics, the Washington Times provides a good sketch of motives of the intellectual puppet-masters behind the riots.

A lot of this "spontaneity" was clearly staged. The cartoons gained a wider audience when radical Danish clerics toured the Middle East last month, showing the offending cartoons to the heads of several of the major Islamist groups in the region. Just in case the originals weren't offensive enough, the clerics also supplied a few of their own cartoons, ever more inflammatory, and said they sprang from the pens of the infidels. One of the clerics, Ahmed Abdel Rahman Abu Ladan, explained in an interview that the tour was meant to "internationalize this issue." The clerics told their hosts that Muslims do not have the right to build mosques in Denmark, and repeated other ridiculous lies to foment discord and ridicule the Danish government.

The radical clerics in Denmark have succeeded, a fact pundits and analysts on both sides have largely missed. The focus has been on the assault on freedom of expression in the name of religious tolerance, as it should be, but that was not what Abu Ladan and his travelers had in mind when they toured the Middle East. They wanted to create a groundswell of discontent among Muslims in Europe, put pressure on Denmark -- and other nations -- to abide by sharia law and to build a sympathetic base for further terrorist attacks. The placards of British Muslims, demanding more "7/7s," a reference to the London subway bombings on July 7, went straight to the point of the clerics' Middle East tour. This was an exercise in agitprop to further the goals of Islamofascism, and it worked.

These facts have not received sufficient commentary in the mainstream press. The protests were the result of an extremely well orchestrated campaign that has been going on for the last four months. Danish Muslims went from Muslim country to country, lying about the conditions in Denmark and the cartoons published in the Danish newspaper. The ruling classes of the countries they visited are well acquainted with Europe – most vacation and shop there and send their children to European school. They knew well that the bile being spewed about Denmark by the Danish Muslims was a lie, but rather than counter those untruths, they allowed them to be spread to the streets, where the mobs awaited marching orders from the imams.

Of course, there are other forces at play as well. In Syria, where the Danish and Norwegian embassies were burned by an angry mob, there is no such thing as a protest without government approval. The Assad government is infamous for its unyielding brutality in dealing with dissenters and squelching protests. That a Damascus mob was able to encircle and burn foreign embassies without Assad’s blessing is unthinkable. The last twelve months have been a public relations disaster for the hapless Bashir Assad and his increasingly shaky thug-ocracy. Anything that shifts focus away from his government’s corruption and repression is welcomed in Damascus’s ruling circles. Foreign boogeymen are particularly useful. This is true in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and throughout almost all of the Islamic world.

Still, the widespread nature of the Muslim rioting suggests that a lot more is in the air than the despot-sanctioned venting of Muslim rage against their own leaders. Especially in light of the protests by Muslims in Europe – protests that featured calls for 9/11-style attacks on European cities, and people dressed up as suicide bombers. So much for assimilation! This is the wonderful situation that unfettered Muslim immigration to Europe has produced. Welcome to the paradise.

In the Sydney Morning Herald, Miranda Devine notes that Western multiculturalism-mandated "sensitivity" toward Muslims has become a cultural Achilles’ heel that Muslims are exploiting to their agenda’s advantage.

The institutionalised weakness of the West is epitomised by its reaction to the riots over the cartoons: the apologies from governments, the sacking of an editor in France, the ready acceptance by newspapers of a limit to free speech, despite the fact the cartoons are so tame by the standards of Western satire. Two of the cartoons are comments on the "reactionary provocateurs" at Denmark's Jyllands-Posten who had commissioned the cartoons.

The most provocative cartoon is probably one that shows a Muhammad-like figure with a fuse coming out of his turban, or one with a queue of smoking suicide bombers on a cloud with an Islamic cleric saying "Stop. We ran out of virgins".

But the global over-reaction to the publication in a privately owned newspaper in a Western secular society shows that there are increasing numbers of Muslims who expect to be able to control what non-Muslims do in their own countries.

The murder of the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004 by a Muslim extremist enraged by his documentary about violence against Muslim women was just the start.

Western governments, Ms. Devine argues, have been cowed by cries of "racism" and other politically correct nonsense from dealing with Muslims as they would against criminally-behaving members of their native populations. In Australia, she points out, this led to December’s nasty rioting between white Australians and Muslim immigrants.

Similarly, a semi-official policy by NSW authorities of not antagonising groups of young Arab-Australian men behaving criminally or antisocially in Sydney has enfeebled police, while emboldening law-breakers to ever more audacious behaviour, such as the revenge attacks after the Cronulla riots.

This sort of appeasement tacitly acknowledges and encourages the uncivil nature of Muslim culture.

Civilised people don't usually make their "hurt felt" by torching other people's embassies, stoning churches and waving the sort of banners reported at a protest over the cartoons in London last week: "Massacre those who insult Islam", "Europe, your 9/11 will come".

This creeping acceptance of intolerance in our midst is what Daniel Pipes, the director of a US think tank, the Middle East Forum, has warned about as the second prong of a radical Islamic attack on the West: a relentless demand for cultural change. This non-violent but incremental encroachment on Western secular society curtails freedoms and accords the Muslim minority special privileges.

Of course, Muslims accord themselves special status within their own societies, a fact that politically-correct commentators deliberately ignore. The rank hypocrisy of Saudis demanding tolerance for Islam in Western nations is rarely challenged, even though Saudi Arabia specific prohibits the practice of any other religion save Islam. Yet the Bush administration has permitted the Saudis – even after 9/11 – to continue funding the construction of mosques and Islamic foundations all across the US.

But Muslims did not create the Trojan horse they now exploit. In fact, in the last ten centuries, Muslims have generated precious few intellectual innovations of their own. The ideological trap into which the West continues to fall was created by its own intellectuals who sought a vehicle to undermine Western confidence and erode its defenses in order to bring their own socialist utopia into creation. When that failed, Western Civilization became the object of their all-consuming hatred, which gave birth to the benign-sounding poison of multiculturalism. Though presented to the public as a means of including all cultures, in practice, and as intended, it meant destroying only one. Coupled with mass immigration from non-Western nations – also favored by the left to weaken Western nations – multiculturalism and politically correctness (i.e. terror at being called a racist, no matter how baseless the charge is) have left the West demographically and intellectually vulnerable to Muslim brazenness.

The result has been the West’s ridiculous non-response to escalating acts of Muslim violence over three decades that culminated in the horrific events of September 11, 2001. But even after that atrocity, the West’s response to the threat remains muted. US military action in Afghanistan was carried out with every effort made to limit Muslim casualties and not to "enflame" Muslim passions – at the expense of American lives. Notice that the Muslims who danced in the streets of Saudi Arabia, Palestine, and Europe as the Twin Towers fell felt not worries about angering the West. In fact, the Twin Towers had barely fallen before Western governments were warning their publics not to get angry or carried away. Public service advertisements in the US chided Americans not to be racist or violent against Muslims, even though no such reaction had occurred. Consider that the 9/11 attacks spawned no protests in the Muslim world, even after al Qaeda claimed responsibility in Islam’s name. Yet four years later, the Muslim world erupts in violence and flame over cartoons. This, if nothing else, should warn Western leaders that they’ve been had. Despite the PC-multicult claptrap that they’ve been pitching like so much manure at Western audiences, Islam is not a religion of peace and love. It is a creed and set of cultural beliefs entirely alien to the West and incompatible with the values and ethics Western cultures espouse. It seeks to dominate and control. The widespread nature of the riots and their venomous nature make clear that the difference between a radical and a moderate Muslim has less a matter of theological substance and more of readiness to commit violence. Not all Muslims are violent or fundamentalist, but a sizable number – not simply a small minority – are. As Claudia Rosett points out:

With each step, we have looked for ways to defuse the anger by understanding the grievances. Bookshops have filled with volumes on the history of Islam, the wounded pride, the regional distinctions, the contending forces within Islam itself. Our political leaders, who have relatively little to say — and just as well — about Buddhism, Hinduism, or for that matter Animism, have taken to celebrating the end of Ramadan, invited Islamic moderates to their state dinner tables and told us over and over that Islam is a religion of peace. We have debated whether to describe those who deviate from this serene vision as Islamic radicals, Islamo-fascists, militant Islamists, or plain old evil-doers, terrorists, fascists, and thugs who happen to be Muslims.


What’s noteworthy about the latest violence is not that it is unusual — but how very ordinary in so many ways it has become. Yes, of course, the grimly whimsical surprise is that this time the lightning rod has turned out to be not the famous London underground, or the grand train stations of Madrid, or the twin towers of New York, but a set of cartoons out of Copenhagen. The Danish drawings did not trigger some previously nonexistent fury. They have simply become the latest litmus test of how very much the worst thugs of the Islamic world believe they are entitled to get away with, whatever the pretext.

As for the cartoons, what ought to jump out here is that it is not, in fact, common for the Western press to caricature Mohammed, or even to run pointed cartoons about Islam. One has to wonder if the organizers of the gunmen, arsonists and death-threat-deliverers (and it takes a fair amount of organization to get hold of Danish flags in Gaza, or burn an embassy in the police-state of Syria) had to scour the ample outpourings of the Western press looking for something, anything, over which to take offense, and — faced with reams of material trying to understand their pain — had to fall back as a last resort on the cartoons of Denmark. To what extent is the Western press already afraid to risk offending those who even before the recent protests had racked up a record of death threats and murder?

But the multiculturalists aren’t finished yet. Faced with an all-too-public revelation of Islam’s complete lack of tolerance and civility, they are busy issuing calls for both sides to "exercise restraint." But as John O’Sullivan points out, this even-handed sounding approach is as intellectually evasive and bankrupt as the whole multiculturalist enterprise itself:

Suppose both sides listen to these calls for restraint. What would happen? I suppose that one side would stop burning embassies and murdering people and the other side would no longer publish cartoons to which the murderers might object. That would mean the murderers had obtained their objective and the Danish newspaper that first published the cartoons had been defeated in its campaign against the unofficial Islamist censorship that in recent years has spread across Europe by murder and intimidation.

Sadly, conceeding freedom to the Islamists is exactly what would most please the multiculturalists.

The editors of Jyllands-Posten did the world a great service by publishing those cartoons. The Muslim reaction to the cartoons has made a mockery of the banal lies about Islam’s peaceful nature, and exposed the insanity of Muslim immigration. The Western public had long sensed – from the bloody evidence in front of its own eyes – that Islam is incompatible with Western values, and antagonistic to the West as a whole. The orgy of irrational violence gripping the Muslim world destroys any pretense that such sentiments are confined only to a small minority of Muslims. It also lays bare the consequences of further appeasement, and the motives of those who try to argue in favor of the multiculturalist agenda.

[The] argument that we must all censor ourselves to avoid offending others in a multicultural society is a highly ironic commentary on the liberals' promise that multiculturalism meant a more lively, colorful and argumentative society. We are now told that it means holding our tongues on sensitive issues.

If multiculturalism is incompatible with a free and lively society, as some implicitly now concede, then the sensible response is not to gradually chip away at Western freedom but to ensure that immigration from non-Western cultures proceeds at a rate that is assimilable culturally as well as economically. In other words Muslims coming to Europe or America would automatically adjust to the freedoms of a free society because they would lack the numbers to insist on everyone else changing to suit them -- which is currently the Islamist demand.

That demand is, finally, the reason for applauding those French, German, Spanish and other European newspapers that have reproduced the cartoons as a gesture of sympathy with Jyllands-Posten and those politicians, such as France's Nicholas Sarkozy, who have supported them. Even if the arguments for laws against blasphemy were valid -- and they are not trivial -- that would count as a secondary consideration alongside the need to resist plain blackmail, intimidation and murder. Those who take refuge in the false equivalence of the "two sides" argument are, in the end, guilty of cowardice. They should seek some "Dutch courage" by ordering a glass of acquavit with a Carlsberg chaser.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Not a Clash, but a Rout

The always incisive Lee Harris argues that the uproar over the Danish cartoons does not represent a clash of civilizations because only one civilization, the Islamic one, is willing to defend its values in the conflict. European governments are all too willing to prostrate themselves before the Muslim mob.

But, again, to have a clash of civilizations, it is not enough simply to have one civilization that is prepared to fight tooth and nail to defend its own ethos; there must, in addition, be another civilization that is also prepared to defend, with the same depth of conviction, its own ethical principles. The evidence, unfortunately, is that the West is not even remotely interested in mounting a defense of its values in the face of Muslim fanaticism. Worse, there are signs that the West is even prepared to sacrifice some of its core values in order to appease those who have always despised these values — values such as the freedom of individual expression and the right of every man to hold views that others find offensive and even downright blasphemous.

Consider the reaction of the Danish government to the cartoon wars. Instead of taking a heroic stand and telling the Muslim world that in Denmark freedom of expression is every bit as sacred to them as Mohammed is to the Muslims, the Danish government has announced "that Danish courts will determine whether the newspaper [that] originally published the guilty of blasphemy."

Not so very long ago, the notion that a liberal Western nation, at the beginning of the 21st century, could threaten a newspaper on the charge of blasphemy would have seemed utterly ridiculous. It would have appeared unthinkable that any Western government would even consider using "the crime of blasphemy" as a method for censoring the freedom of expression that the West has struggled so ferociously to achieve. Indeed, every liberal Western nation would have immediately condemned the restitution of the charge of blasphemy as a throw back to a long superceded stage in the development of human freedom. Yet where in the West do you find any government attacking the Danes for having reintroduced a crime that the West ceased to take seriously since the age of the Enlightenment? If those who are trying to appease radical Muslims are prepared to bring back the Inquisition, all in the name of Islam, then where is the so-called clash between the Islam and the West?

Sadly, there can be little argument with Harris’s point. The United States has refused to defend the Danish paper – or the principle of freedom of speech. Britain, though talking (but not acting) tough toward some of the more violence-inclined Muslim protestors, will not defend the Danes either. The Muslims sense the intellectual weakness of the West. They sense the inherent crisis of cultural confidence brought on by decades of self-loathing inspired by a corrupted intellectual elite. They recognize "multiculturalism" for the Trojan Horse the left meant it to be, and are perfectly willing to use it, playing on Western guilt and self-hatred, to press their attack. With Muslim colonies growing in every European capital, and the real threat of Muslim violence, they know they have cowed the West in a way they could never do with mere physical weaponry. The West may have jets and tanks and computers and nuclear weapons, but Islam has brashness and self-confidence, and that alone gives Muslims enough of an edge for force the West to retreat from its values.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Self-loathing, Confidence & Cultural Power

The editors of UK’s Telegraph acknowledge the sad truth about the current state of British and Western cultural self-esteem in the wake of Muslim protests in London over the Danish cartoons. These protests included:

A two-year-old girl born in this country is dressed up in an "I Heart Al-Qaida " cap. Demonstrators call for "a real holocaust", with the horrible insinuation of holocaust-deniers everywhere: that the genocide never took place, but that it should have done.

The Telegraph notes, incredulously, that the only people arrested by London’s Metropolitan Police were "not Islamist protesters, you understand, two counter-demonstrators who were apparently provoking trouble by carrying images of Mohammed." The passive reaction of the London police to open calls for violence and mayhem on the part of Muslim protestors leaves the Telegraph’s editors wondering why? Why is Muslim incitement to violence tolerated, when non-Muslim Britons have been arrest and charged for so much less? The editors begin to sense the answer.

Asked why it had not arrested any of the demonstrators, the Met refused to answer - or, to be precise, it said "the decision to arrest at a public order event must be viewed in the context of the overall policing plan and the environment the officers are operating in". Might there be a connection between this cowardice and the contempt some Muslims feel for us? Is it not at least possible that the self-loathing they encounter, from the moment they go to school, turns some boys from Tipton and Wanstead and Beeston against their country?

After all, the question of whether it is possible to be a good British Muslim is not a new one. Hundreds of millions of Muslims lived peacefully under the British Crown, in India, Sudan, Malaya and elsewhere. They saw no conflict between their faith and their civic loyalty, fighting for Britain even when we went to war against the Ottoman Caliph. The difference is that, in those days, we had confidence in ourselves, and conveyed this confidence to others.

Compare that attitude with the apologies we heard yesterday from the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, the former Met chief Lord Stevens and others, all of whom seemed to be more upset about the depiction of the Prophet in Jyllands-Posten than about the fact that a tiny minority in this country seems bent on the murder of the rest of us.

If there is any silver lining to the Danish cartoon controversy, it will be to underscore the emerging realization in Europe that Islam is alien and antagonistic to core Western values, and to wake Europeans to the dangers of Muslim immigration. Possibly, too, it will encourage Europeans to re-examine the poison of self-loathing they have allowed others to incite within their own cultures and finally reject it. It won’t happen quickly, but if the editors of the left-ish Telegraph can see it, perhaps there is some small reason to hope.

Hat tip: Andrew Stuttaford, in the National Review Online.

Now, the Violence Starts...

Predictably, the Muslim tantrum over cartoons published months ago in a small Danish newspaper has now claimed lives.

Four people have died in violent protests against cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad, following more than a week of demonstrations.

Three people died after police in Afghanistan fired on protesters when a police station came under attack, a government spokesman said.

In Somalia, a 14-year-old boy was shot dead and several others were injured after protesters attacked the police.

Further protests have been taking place from Gaza to India, Indonesia and Iran.

They follow attacks on Danish embassies in Syria and Lebanon over the weekend. The cartoons were first published in a Danish newspaper.

Monday's deaths were thought to be the first, but officials in Lebanon have now confirmed that a demonstrator died on Sunday after jumping from the third floor of the Danish embassy in Beirut to escape a fire.

Fortunately, thus far, the only people who have been killed in this perfect example of the moral lunacy and personal irresponsibility spawned by Islam have been the protestors themselves, consumed by their own fanaticism. But you may be sure that they won’t be the last. Whipped into ever-greater frenzy by their leaders, the radicalized Muslims in London and elsewhere are carrying placards at their protests calling for violence against those who printed the cartoons – or those who simply disagree with them. This, too, is well in keeping with Islamic cultural tendencies.

Omar Bakri Mohammed, the radical Muslim cleric, has said the cartoonist behind caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed that have sparked outrage across the Arab world should be tried and executed under Islamic law.

The cleric said the cartoonist had insulted Islam and must pay the price, as a person was killed during protests against the cartoons in Afghanistan.

"The insult has been established now by everybody, Muslim and non-Muslim, and everybody condemns the cartoonist and condemns the cartoon," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"However, in Islam, God said, and the messenger Mohammed said, whoever insults a prophet, he must be punished and executed.

There is nothing surprising in Mr. Mohammed’s statements; they are fully consistent with the teachings of Muslim clerics around the world and not only the "radical" ones. One of the reasons that the Islamic world remains so culturally and intellectually retarded compared to the West or Asia, is its complete intolerance for dissent. What is surprising is that Mr. Mohammed should be allowed to remain in Britain. Just a couple of generations ago, he’d have been booted from the British Isle after his call for violence. It is a sure measure of how badly multiculturalism has weakened the West’s internal defenses that Mr. Mohammed and his peers are allowed to remain and foment violence within the West.

But the cartoon row is serving a useful purpose by exposing to the truth about Muslim values and behavior both to the European public and government officials, the latter class having been previously unwilling to acknowledge the inherent violence and intolerance of Muslim culture. The clarity should be welcome. The cartoon protests, threats and violence will only serve to confirm the growing suspicion among Europeans that Muslims are unwilling and unable to assimilate into Western societies, and that further Muslim immigration is a real threat to their countries. European intellectuals will stubbornly resist acknowledging the brute reality longest, since they are they are most infected by the multicultural poison, but European politicians are still beholden to public opinion, and as it shifts, so must they. With riots in the streets and embassies aflame, the luxury of holding their heads, ostrich-like, in the sands has passed. Today, Britain, which last week was shamefully upbraiding the Danes for publishing the cartoons, has been forced to turn its criticism against the rampaging Muslims.

Downing Street has condemned the behaviour of some Muslims protesting at caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed over the weekend as "completely unacceptable".

No 10 said the police would have the Government's full support in any actions they wished to take as a result of the demonstrations outside the Danish Embassy in London.

It followed calls from Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary, for police to "bear down heavily" on any protestors who broke the law during the demonstrations.

Mr Hain said the actions of some Muslims demonstrating against the cartoons in London had been "completely unacceptable and intolerable".

Some protestors carried placards threatening a repeat of the September 11 and July 7 atrocities following the publication of the cartoons across Europe.

Still not quite as strong as it needs to be, and not from the Prime Minister, who should take to the cameras and strongly denounce the protests and order British security forces to take strong action against any one calling for violence, or making threats. But it’s a start. Tony Blair’s mindless adherence to multiculturalist fantasy is so strong that it will probably take something very unfortunate and bloody to break him away from the delusion and come out with a very forceful posture. More unfortunately, there are plenty of Muslims perfectly willing to provide such an incident.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Stand Firm Against the Tantrum

Writing in German online magazine Spiegel, Ibn Warraq, a well-known Muslim dissident, begs Western nations to stand together in defense of freedom of speech and not cave in to Muslim bullying. The article appears as Muslims mobs in Syria have burned two European embassies over cartoons published months ago in Danish newspapers.
The cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten raise the most important question of our times: freedom of expression. Are we in the west going to cave into pressure from societies with a medieval mindset, or are we going to defend our most precious freedom -- freedom of expression, a freedom for which thousands of people sacrificed their lives?

A democracy cannot survive long without freedom of expression, the freedom to argue, to dissent, even to insult and offend. It is a freedom sorely lacking in the Islamic world, and without it Islam will remain unassailed in its dogmatic, fanatical, medieval fortress; ossified, totalitarian and intolerant. Without this fundamental freedom, Islam will continue to stifle thought, human rights, individuality; originality and truth.Unless, we show some solidarity, unashamed, noisy, public solidarity with the Danish cartoonists, then the forces that are trying to impose on the Free West a totalitarian ideology will have won; the Islamization of Europe will have begun in earnest. Do not apologize.

Ibn Warraq's argument is as valid as it is crucial to the understanding of the uproar over the cartoons. Islamic extremists are testing Western resolve. These cartoons were publish in a Western country. If Muslims worldwide can silence a Western newspaper, they will have won a tremendous victory; they will have prompted - by yelling and screaming and tantrum throwing - the West to abandon one of its hardest won civilizational principles. Worse, they will have estabished a precedent under which Islam and all things Islamic will be forever put beyond critique. Cartoons are today's rallying cry. But it they are successful, the next blowup with be over an article or opinion piece critiquing any aspect of Islamic culture - the treatment of Muslim women, perhaps. Or maybe the penchant Muslims seem to have for slaughtering innocent civilians. A parent who gives in to their toddler's tantrum at the supermarket checkout over a candy bar had taught the child a lesson. Once the concession is made, thetoddler knows that the parent's authority is weak and that he can have his way whenever he likes with a few loud screams. So, too, Muslims in Europe and around the world.

But Ibn Warraq knows the West's weakness, just as well as the radical Muslims making merry in the streets: self-loathing.

This raises another more general problem: the inability of the West to defend itself intellectually and culturally. Be proud, do not apologize. Do we have to go on apologizing for the sins our fathers? Do we still have to apologize, for example, for the British Empire, when, in fact, the British presence in India led to the Indian Renaissance, resulted in famine relief, railways, roads and irrigation schemes, eradication of cholera, the civil service, the establishment of a universal educational system where none existed before, the institution of elected parliamentary democracy and the rule of law? What of the British architecture of Bombay and Calcutta? The British even gave back to the Indians their own past: it was European scholarship, archaeology and research that uncovered the greatness that was India; it was British government that did its best to save and conserve the monuments that were a witness to that past glory. British Imperialism preserved where earlier Islamic Imperialism destroyed thousands of Hindu temples.

On the world stage, should we really apologize for Dante, Shakespeare, and Goethe? Mozart, Beethoven and Bach? Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh, Breughel, Ter Borch? Galileo, Huygens, Copernicus, Newton and Darwin? Penicillin and computers? The Olympic Games and Football? Human rights and parliamentary democracy? The west is the source of the liberating ideas of individual liberty, political democracy, the rule of law, human rights and cultural freedom. It is the west that has raised the status of women, fought against slavery, defended freedom of enquiry, expression and conscience. No, the west needs no lectures on the superior virtue of societies who keep their women in subjection, cut off their clitorises, stone them to death for alleged adultery, throw acid on their faces, or deny the human rights of those considered to belong to lower castes.

How can we expect immigrants to integrate into western society when they are at the same time being taught that the west is decadent, a den of iniquity, the source of all evil, racist, imperialist and to be despised? Why should they, in the words of the African-American writer James Baldwin, want to integrate into a sinking ship? Why do they all want to immigrate to the west and not Saudi Arabia? They should be taught about the centuries of struggle that resulted in the freedoms that they and everyone else for that matter, cherish, enjoy, and avail themselves of; of the individuals and groups who fought for these freedoms and who are despised and forgotten today; the freedoms that the much of the rest of world envies, admires and tries to emulate." When the Chinese students cried and died for democracy in Tiananmen Square (in 1989), they brought with them not representations of Confucius or Buddha but a model of the Statue of Liberty."

Self-loathing was a poison fed to the West by the left, a gambit to weaken the West's defenses to utopian socialism. With the failure of that dream, the left has turned malevolent, furious at own its failure and consumed with bitterness at the truimph of the Western political economy it hates. The slow poisons of multiculturalism and political correctness have chewed away at the cultural confidence that was once the hallmark of the West, while mass immigration - another great leftist ploy - has deposited large numbers of aliens hostile to the West and its values inside Western countries.

Self-loathing and the political pressure of large foreign (in this case Muslim) communities, make it harder and harder for Western leaders to openly defend Western values - and the West itself. President Bush, for all his bluster and tough talk has allowed his State Department to side with the Muslim mob, so too the excerable Tony Blair, who sent Jack Straw out like a trained monkey to condemn the cartoons and express pleasure that no British newspaper had printed them. A shameful performance on both sides of the Atlantic, by the two Western nations allegedly most committed to the Western experiment.

With Western leaders such as these, Ibn Warraq has every reason to be worried. And so should we all.