FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, September 08, 2006
The recent thwarted terrorist plot in England that aimed to blow up commercial airlines between Britain and the United States serves as another chilling reminder of the horror that multiculturalism has wreaked in Western Europe. A nightmarish fact: most of the terrorist suspects who aimed to engage in the mass murder of innocent civilians were home-grown — they were born and raised in Britain. In other words, Britain has welcomed immigrants whose children hate British and Western society and seek to destroy it.
So what sense, then, is there to invite and to be tolerant toward the intolerant? Many Western European countries have been agonizing over this precise question and have clearly made certain conclusions about it — which explains why they are now in the process of overturning the policies of multiculturalism.
Today we have assembled a panel of experts to discuss several questions connected to this phenomenon. First: what exactly have been the consequences of Muslim immigration to Western Europe? Second: has the official policy of multiculturalism in Western Europe suffered a death? If so, is it too little too late?
Our guests are:
Bat Ye’or, the world’s foremost authority on dhimmitude. She is the author of Islam and Dhimmitude. Where Civilizations Collide. Her latest book is Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis.
Claire Berlinski, the author of the new book Menace in Europe: Why the Continent’s Crisis Is America’s, Too.
Bruce Bawer, a New York writer who has lived in Europe since 1998. He is a literary critic, translator, poet, and the author of books about being gay in America and fundamentalist Christianity. His most recent book is While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within.
Leon de Winter, a Dutch bestselling novelist and political commentator. He writes a weekly column for Holland’s largest political magazine, Elsevier, and contributes to Holland’s and Germany’s most prominent dailies and weeklies. He is an adjunct-fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington DC. This year he was awarded the prestigious Buber-Rosenzweig Medal for Jewish-Christian relations in Germany. In 2002, he was the recipient of the Die Welt Literature Prize. He lives with his wife, bestselling novelist Jessica Durlacher, and their two children in a village close to the Dutch beaches. Every year they live a couple of months in California.
Fjordman, a Norwegian blogger who writes about issues related to Islam and Western cultural weakness, with particular emphasis on Europe. His own blog has been closed since 2005, but he continues to write essays at other websites, including Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch and the Gates of Vienna blog.
Hege Storhaug, a journalist and author, and Information Director in the Norwegian political think-tank on integration issues, Human Rights Service (HRS) (www.rights.no). The last 14 years, Storhaug has been working on issues such as forced marriages, “honor” killing, female genital mutilation, and oppression of European Muslim girls and women in general. She has spent more than two years in Pakistan, exploring cultural and religious abuse of females. Storhaug strongly opposes multiculturalism, and is hence also a critic of how Islamism is affecting Europe. This is the main topic of her coming book this autumn.
Lars Hedegaard, The President of Denmark’s Free Press Society, an organization devoted to the protection of free speech (www.trykkefrihed.dk) and a member of its online journal “Sappho”s editorial board (www.sappho.dk). He holds degrees in history and English from the Universities of Aarhus and Copenhagen. He is a journalist, author and political commentator and a daily contributor to a satirical column in the conservative national daily Berlingske Tidende (www.berlingske.dk). Over the past few years he has increasingly specialised in studying the impact of Islam’s growing presence in Europe. His most recent book (coauthored with Helle Merete Brix and Torben Hansen) is In the House of War: Islam’s Colonization of the West (Danish title; “I krigens hus: Islams kolonisering af Vesten”), 2003, which became the focus of an animated national debate. He’s currently working on a book on the ideological metamorphosis of the Danish left-wing from a pro-socialist to a multiculturalist position.
FP: Bat Ye’or, Claire Berlinski, Leon de Winter, Bruce Bawer, Fjordman, Hege Storhaug and Lars Hedegaard, welcome to Frontpage Symposium.
We begin with our first section: Beginnings of Multiculturalism.
Beginnings of Multiculturalism
FP: Ladies and gentlemen, our discussion will have two parts today: the first being about the beginnings of multiculturalism and the second being the possible solutions to the havoc it has wreaked within the societies that have practised it.
So before we get to some of the effective ways Western Europe can face the threat it now faces, let’s first begin with what multiculturalism is in the first place, where the concept first came from and how it was implemented.
Who thought this up and why was it put into practise?
Now these questions are not suggesting, obviously, that societies were not supposed to accept immigrants or to accept other cultures. We are clearly referring to the multiculturalist policy based on cultural relativism that is founded on the premise that anyone and everyone should be allowed to come into a host society without any serious scrutiny. This is a policy based on the belief-system that the host society has no right to expect of its new citizens a respect for the ways of life of the host society.
Now perhaps to provoke the discussion a bit, let me begin with the argument that it is disingenuous to suggest, as many do, that well-intentioned people came up with these ideas and that they did not know what terrible realities they would engender. Is it not basic common sense that this was a calculated and malicious plan from the very beginning? Was it not a weapon with which the Left knew it could effectively wage war on its own society and help break it down?
Lars Hedegaard, let’s begin with you. What would you say about the beginnings of multiculturalism?
Hedegaard: The concept has been around for a while. It is an idea that was produced in the New World and from there imported to the old one. In his classic The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society Arthur Schlesinger traces it back to the German-born Jewish-American philosopher Horace Kallen. In an article in The Nation from 1915 he advocated a policy of “cultural pluralism” as opposed to the idea of assimilation and the slogan of the “melting pot” whose goal was to create a new race of Americans. At first this new concept didn’t gather many adherents outside narrow academic circles, but the Civil Rights movement after the Second World War gave rise to new expressions of ethnic identity that tended to reinvigorate the idea of multiculturalism.
Not all of this was bad in a country where racism was deeply ingrained in the national character, as Tocqueville had clearly noticed. It was perfectly proper and fitting to acknowledge the contributions to American history of minorities such as Blacks. American Indians, Asians etc. — and in Canada to acknowledge the contributions of the French speakers. In fact the term “multiculturalism” appears to have been coined in Canada in the 1960s. I don’t think the framers of the multiculturalist credo could necessarily predict its disastrous consequences.
By the early 1980s — when the term began to be widely used even in Europe — it had turned into an ideological platform on which the left could base its claim to power — now that socialism was no longer a goal that anyone could take seriously. In today’s western world, multiculturalism and its concomitant celebration of “ethnicity” (which has by now degenerated into tribalism) should be understood as a post-political ersatz-ideology now that the social transformation of society and the abolition of capitalism are no longer on the agenda. And of that I’m sure that the self-declared leftists are perfectly aware.
FP: It is complete news to me that the transformation and the abolition of capitalism are no longer on the Left’s agenda. Hege Storhaug go ahead.
Storhaug: I totally agree with Hedegaard that the abolition of capitalism is not a topic for the leftists in general in the public debate anymore. It seems that the leftist have understood for quite some years that pure socialism is a lost case. But in many ways, the Left has just transformed the idea concerning economical equality, into cultural equality.
From here on, the leftists have taken the idea even further; if you are not white, you are per definition a victim of discrimination. And the new perspective is that if you are a Muslim in Europe, you are per definition also a victim of irrational hatred from the majority society.
The Left in Norway has now even constructed a new term; “new racism”. “The new racist” is a person who is critical to political Islam. This false construction, combined with also labelling those who are critical to political Islam as “Islamophobes”, has its obvious parallels to techniques used by the followers of Stalin. The new totalitarianism is, in this respect, to try to strangle a debate about the obvious problematic sides of multiculturalism and politicized religion. It is a new ideological war where the “good” leftist sees a useful weapon against the “evil” establishment. And this is where the leftists seem to believe they will fight a noble fight for the poor and suppressed all over the world.
To bring in hard facts in the debate, is extremely difficult. The heart of the debate is almost totally based on emotions, a kind of competition between “the good and the bad guy”. The “good” is the one who without reservations and documentation wants open borders in the name of so-called humanity. The “bad” is the one who says that the politics of open borders, and hence splitting up a nation into parallel societies, is the road to destruction of both the economy and the basis values in a democratic society. Everybody in the end turn out as losers. To sum up; the Left sees multiculturalism as the possibility to regain lost ideological power in our new historic era.
FP: The both of you are of course right: multiculturalism is the Left’s new weapon to wage war on its own society. But that war is founded on the desire to transform society, to wipe the slate clean, and this involves destroying capitalism. That some leftists may camouflage their desire to build socialism does not mean it does not remain their objective and dream. If the Left didn’t want to transform its own society and destroy capitalism, it would find no need for multiculturalism; it feeds multicultural policies precisely because of its long-term objective of destruction.
Fjordman go ahead.
Fjordman: I agree with most of what Hedegaard and Storhaug said above. A Norwegian newspaper exposed the fact that the largest “anti-racist” organization in the country, SOS Rasisme, was heavily infiltrated by Communists and extreme Leftists in the late 1980s and early ’90s, in other words, during the downfall of Communism in Eastern Europe. They went directly from Communism to Multiculturalism, which should indicate that at least some of them viewed Multiculturalism as the continuation of Communism by other means. French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut has stated that anti-racism will be for the 21st century what Communism was for the 20th century: A source of violence. I think
Besides, Muslim immigrants vote overwhelmingly for Leftist parties. In Norway, I believe about 85% of them voted for left-leaning parties during our recent national elections. This trend is remarkably similar throughout Western Europe. At the beginning of the 21st century, Leftist parties in Europe are electing a new people. Perhaps their greatest idea after the Cold War was to re-invent themselves as Multicultural immigration parties and start importing voters from abroad. In addition to this, they have managed to denounce the opposition as racists, bigots and extremists. In Europe, Muslim immigration could turn democracy into a self-defeating system that will eventually break down because native Europeans no longer feel that it serves their interests.
Leftists and Muslims have a mutual short-term interest in keeping the Leftist parties in power, and a mutual long-term interest in weakening the traditional culture of Europe. During this third Islamic Jihad, the third Islamic attempt to conquer and subdue the West, Leftists all over Europe seem to be opening the gates of Europe from within. “You want to conquer Europe? That’s ok. Just vote for us and help us get rid of capitalism and eradicate the Christian heritage of Europe, and we’ll let you in. In the meantime, you can enjoy some welfare goodies, and we will ban opposition to this undertaking as racism and hate speech.”
Still, as much as I dislike Leftists, it is wrong to think that they are the alone in this madness. The Project – for it is a deliberate, organized project which I’m sure Bat Ye’or will talk more about – to dissolve the nation states of Europe is a coalition of several groups: Leftists, who hate the West in general and are suspicious of the nation state.
However, there are also centrist and even so-called conservative groups participating in this. Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the author of the awful EU Constitution, is considered a conservative politician, who however has an enormous contempt for ordinary people.
You have another group who are convinced that the nation state is the cause only of wars and trouble. I suspect former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, for instance, belongs to this group. And finally, we have perhaps the largest group: Opportunists who follow the lead of the three other groups. They have good jobs on an international basis and no longer feel any close attachment to the nation states they are supposed to represent, anyway.
I call them The New Marie Antoinettes. The old Marie Antoinette was famous for the quote “”If they have no bread, then let them eat cake.” In Eurabia today, the New Marie Antoinettes would probably have said “Let them eat kebab.” They think cries for national sovereignty is an old superstition among the common people, and are actively dismantling their own societies through massive immigration, Multiculturalism and supranational institutions, primarily the EU. One blogger suggested naming this project The Great Deconstruction, a name I like. Earlier generation lived in the Age of Reason, we live in the Age of Deconstruction. Maybe this Project could also be called The Great Leap Forward, but I heard rumors that this name was already taken.
De Winter: Many of the things that have been said by the distinguished panellists is true, but at the same time I am a bit hesitant to grant so much power to groups of revolutionary Leftists bent on the demise of the West. This is way too much honor for them, and as far as I can judge, at least in my home village in Holland, they did not succeed, despite all these things you can read in your morning paper.
As far as I can see we are talking here about unforeseen effects of the cultural revolution in Western Europe in the Sixties. This period marks the revolt of the Adolescent, who not only got a strong economical position but who also became a political voice. Young people were not on their way to adulthood anymore, this part of life became a goal in itself.
The youthful and painful awareness that the world was ugly became a tool in the hands of neo-Marxists and recliner-revolutionaries. In my home country, something very peculiar happened in the Sixties: a kind of ‘contract social’ emerged. The public arena was left to the rhetoric of the Left, and at the same time the majority of the population was allowed to continue to keep its traditional lifestyle. Basically, the media were handed over to all kinds of progressives with their own agendas, and the majority got used to its own silence.
In this public arena certain values were cherished: anti-fascism, feminism, secularism, pacifism, anti-colonialism, anti-capitalism, et cetera. It is here where the ideas of multiculturalism first showed up. It started with the so-called ‘sub-cultures’ of pseudo-bohemian artists, academic Marxists, all pretending that the existing values of Western civilization were overdue. They started to develop a cultural relativism.
At the same time, they were making a living because of these values: every month they cashed their paychecks – written out by decent civil servants who collected tax revenues handed over by a decent civil society. As long as the system was ‘closed’, the welfare state functioned and the various groups knew how to behave.
For some time it is fun to be a revolutionary, but after a couple of years most young welfare revolutionaries got bored and moved on – see what happened to the famous ‘krakers’in Holland in the Seventies and Eighties; they are now fathers, teachers, businessmen.
But the public arena was annexed by the Leftist media, and this did not change. It was impossible to discuss the problems of immigration when the first signs showed up.
Still, Europe tried to cope with the consequences of the Second World War, and anti-racism was one of the essential values of the post-Sixties establishment. Criticizing a newly arrived ethnic group was simply ‘not done’.
The rules of post-Holocaust Europe and the post-Sixties cultural relativism were clear: approach the problems of immigration purely within their socio-economical context and avoid discussing cultural or religious aspects. Was this a conscious ‘Project’ to mislead the general public about the intentions of Marxists and multiculturalists? I don’t think so, at least not so in Holland. The overwhelmingly leftist media played a crucial role in the selection of the root causes of immigration problems, and after the direction was set it became virtually impossible to change course. In Holland, it took decades before someone was able to break the taboos of the media. The man who did this was called Pim Fortuyn, and he was killed because of it.
So, there is a direct line from the Second World War to the Cultural Revolution of the Sixties, and from the Sixties to phenomena such as cultural relativism and multiculturalism. I don’t exclude the idea that from a certain point these trends became a policy in the hands of people who turned it into a ‘Project’. But reality is way too complex to organize such a Project over such a long period of time in so many countries. Yes, we do have problems with large groups of Muslim immigrants in most Western European countries, and ,yes, it is still hard to discuss these issues openly. But at the same time it is clear that the ‘contract social’ is showing its first fault lines. The majority is about to give up the limitations imposed upon them by the political and media establishment.
So, what we basically witness are optical illusions created by the media. Multiculturalism never took over in Western Europe. Holland still is to a large degree a traditional Calvinist country, which does not recognize itself in Holland as described in the media.
I think the media are their hold: the majority is fed up with the limitations created by the media. In Holland, the majority woke up Pim Fortuyn. The country is still confused, but the time that the PC-crowd could silence anyone, is gone.
Also interesting are the developments in Belgium. Despite the vast coalition against the rightist party Het Vlaams Belang, it is gaining strength. I am not sure yet if Vlaams Belang became a decent conservative movement, but it is clear that the media cannot control the population anymore.
Yes, I am worried, but I still believe in the power and sense of sanity of decent Europeans.
Bawer: It’s true: the same hatred for American capitalism that once drove members of Europe’s political and media establishment to play down the horrors of Communism, or even actively celebrate it, has since turned them into multiculturalists with a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil approach to Islam. For such people, any ideology – however problematic– is preferable to the ultimate evil of American capitalism.
Multiculturalism has become official dogma in much of Western Europe, and the word is routinely used as if it were a synonym for equal rights or ethnic pluralism or colorblind democracy. Of course, it isn’t. It’s a grotesque expression of cultural self-contempt and self-destructiveness. Multiculturalism compels self-declared anti-fascists to blind themselves to the most chillingly fascist phenomena of our time. It compels feminists to accept the subjugation and abuse of women by men who believe they have the right to rape, beat, and murder them. It compels gay activists to embrace as allies people who, given the chance, would drop a wall on them.
Multiculturalism is deeply, perversely irrational. If you’re a multiculturalist, it’s verboten even to notice, acknowledge, and express concern about murderous hatred directed against you and yours by the officially oppressed. For a multiculturalist, any act or statement by a member of an officially oppressed group, however morally reprehensible, is to be understood either as a legitimate reaction against “our” prejudice (or our forebears’ colonialism) or as a legitimate aspect of an alien culture that we, in our pitiful narrowness, have failed to understand and respect – which is, of course, our obligation.
Many Europeans recognize that multiculturalism is leading their societies to disaster. If you can get them to loosen up and trust you, they may venture an awkward, uneasy critical word or two about the proliferation in their midst of people who long for sharia law and about the refusal of multicultural-minded political leaders to address this growing crisis responsibly. But many such Europeans hardly know how to express their concerns, because they’ve almost never heard such concerns openly, intelligently, and responsibly articulated. All they’ve heard all their lives from officially approved authorities – teachers, professors, the media, politicians, government agency workers, talking heads on TV, the representatives of state-funded “independent” organizations like SOS Racism – is that any concern about multiculturalism and its consequences is tantamount to racism.
Yes, there are so-called “populist” parties that oppose multiculturalism, but they are profoundly stigmatized, and many people who silently agree with them feel nonetheless compelled to join in the routine public mockery of them. Some of these parties, moreover, are in fact racist, so that on the rare occasions when one does hear open criticism of multiculturalism in Europe, it often comes from people who only confirm the establishment assertion that to oppose multiculturalism is, indeed, to be racist.
While many ordinary Europeans do oppose multiculturalism, then, most of them tend to keep quiet about it, or to articulate their opposition only very carefully and selectively – or, alternately, to express it in occasional (often drunken) outbursts of indignation and frustration. Few of them, certainly, have any expectation that their views might ever affect official policy. There’s a widespread resignation to the fact that multiculturalists control the media, academy, state agencies, and so on. Besides, they know what happens to those few people who do openly dissent from multicultural dogma – they’re demonized as bigots and racists. They know very well that if you want to get ahead in European society, you don’t take on multicultural orthodoxy.
Granted, this has been changing – kind of – at least in some countries, and in some places more than others. As Leon de Winter notes, Pim Fortuyn tore down the wall of silence in the Netherlands regarding the dangers of multiculturalism and massive Islamic immigration. Similarly, Denmark’s Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has stood up bravely against the multicultural establishment in the name of free speech.
In Norway, Hege Storhaug has single-handedly had an explosive effect just by going on TV and radio and criticizing mindless institutional multiculturalism in a way that is bold, intelligent, moral, reasonable, and uncompromising. All this is progress.
Yet on an everyday level, among ordinary citizens in these and other countries, it can still often appear that the old inhibitions remain firmly in place. The political establishment seems solidly planted, unmovable, unchangeable. There may be a widespread rage, in short, but it’s largely an impotent rage. Europeans today have been bred to be passive, to leave things to their leaders, whose wisdom they’ve been taught all their lives to take for granted. Even Europeans who are highly uneasy about multiculturalism, then, tend to be incapable of effective action or organization. They look around for somebody else to do something, or at least to say things that might help clarify the situation, help bring their own often muddled views into focus, and help make them feel justified in their vague but increasingly intense sense of alarm.
Part of the problem is that many Europeans today have been taught to think of their own societies, in large part, as value-neutral spaces. The fact that freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and equal rights are not natural givens, but are rather a precious heritage that had to be fought for and that are now under attack and must be defended without hesitation or apology, is something that needs to be driven home to many of them. They were brought up to believe that their societies’ one great overriding virtue, other than the bottomless generosity of the welfare state, is an unbounded multicultural tolerance –a limitless openness to and “understanding” of even of the most brutally intolerant foreign cultures.
To shake off a lifetime of this kind of indoctrination is not easy: it’s hard to quit yourself entirely of the deeply instilled notion – perverse though it is – that the ultimate act of goodness is to pour endless amounts of your own hard-earned tax money into the pockets of immigrants who hate you, hate your country, hate your form of government, and will gladly destroy it all when they’ve gained enough power to do so. The feelings of guilt and insecurity on the part of many of those who dare to reject this orthodoxy should not be underestimated.
Berlinski: Actually, I believe the idea of multiculturalism antedates Horace Kallen and in fact has its origins in the Swiss constitution of 1848, which, it is only fair to note, seems to have served the Swiss rather well.
The idea that multiculturalism is the product of a calculated, malicious Leftist plot strikes me as a stretch. For one thing, it’s completely incompatible with doctrinaire Marxism; for another, I’ve seen no historical evidence for the claim. Many leftists did indeed end up as multiculturalists after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but I agree with Hege and Lars—multiculturalism is functioning here as a substitute for anti-capitalism (in turn a substitute for something else), and not as its natural extension.
There are some similarities between modern European multiculturalism and Soviet nationalities policy as implemented between 1923 and 1933, I suppose, but the goal of the Soviet policy was to encourage the cohesion of the state, whereas contemporary European multiculturalists generally hold multiculturalism itself to be the goal—a good unto itself, no matter what the consequences for the state.
Both Marxism and multiculturalism are Utopian ideologies that have proven attractive both to morons and those of a totalitarian temperament; beyond that—not much in common, really, if you take what they profess to believe seriously. By contrast, the anti-globalization activists are the Left’s more direct ideological heirs, although they’re still engaged in abject deviationism.
But Jamie, you’ve spent more time than I have poking around those Soviet archives—have you found some evidence to suggest that multiculturalism originated in a Left-wing plot? Or is that just your gut feeling? I agree that the Left’s malice and calculation should never be underestimated, but sometimes putting Fluoride in the water is just some poor bozo’s idea of a sound public hygiene measure.
Whatever its origins, if we’re trying to figure out what’s gone wrong with Europe—and I presume that is why we’re all gathered here today—I’d be wary of ascribing complete explanatory power to the ascent of multiculturalism as a doctrine. It’s a dopey idea, to be sure, but is it really the primary reason Western Europe now finds itself unable to integrate its large, hostile Muslim minorities?
France, despite categorically rejecting official multiculturalism, despite having always rejected it, is having precisely the same problems with its Muslim immigrant population as the rest of Europe. Jamie, you correctly point out that Europe’s postwar immigration policy was not sufficiently discriminating, but this had less to do with ideological multiculturalism than it did with filling industrial labor shortages, making good on moral commitments to the former colonies, and simple shortsightedness. (On the other hand, the fact that a disturbingly high proportion of these immigrants have not been obliged to learn the languages, abide by the laws, or respect the core values of their adoptive countries has a great deal to do with multiculturalism.)
Anyway, I’d be inclined to view multiculturalism as the symptom, not the disease, the real disease being the utter, collective demoralization of Europe in the wake of the collapse of Christianity and the two World Wars. If Europe is suffering now from an excess of indiscriminate tolerance, I’d look to the Holocaust as the source: How do you convince people to stand up for European values if that is where they lead? I’m not saying they shouldn’t stand up for those values, by the way, far from it; I’m just pointing out the key psychological problem.
FP: Thank you. We’re not really much in disagreement my friend. My main point is simply that multiculturalism serves as a weapon with which the Left can work its destructive agenda.
Bat Ye’or go ahead.
Bat Ye’or: Thank you Jamie. As the previous commentators rightly remarked, the concept of multiculturalism is implicit in the idea of “Europe des Nations,” going back to the early 19th century, and in the drive toward European unification promoted by various politicians, historians and intellectuals, including Michelet (France 1830), Berchet and especially Mazzini (Italy ), and Hegel (Germany).
Both the Socialist and the Romantic movements advocated the establishment of a United States of Europe or European Federation. With the development of the railroads that shortened distances and facilitated travel and contacts, Europeans became aware of a cultural unity above and beyond the diversity of languages, arts, and literature. The value of multiculturalism was reinforced in the context of a broad movement of European unification to counter the dangers of belligerent nationalistic rivalries and block the threat of further inter-European wars, especially after the major wars of the 20th century.
After WW II, Gaullist France thought to compensate the loss of its Arab colonies by forming a vast Euro-Arab Mediterranean ensemble that would form a strategic, political, cultural and social entity. The French and the Arabs wanted to build a strategic Euro-Arab alliance that would stand as a powerful block against America. French diplomats developed contacts with Arab counterparts, particularly the Libyans, and managed to integrate this alliance into a common European policy on oil and security.
The policy was established at the highest levels of the European Commission and within European Community organizations. Not all European States immediately agreed to the project. But Palestinian terrorism in the late 1960s and 1970s, combined with the oil boycott imposed after Arab hopes of militarily destroying Israel were dashed in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, persuaded the recalcitrant nations, including Holland, to participate in the project.
This was the creation of Eurabia. Eurabian ideology envisaged a united Mediterranean culture based on a symbiosis between the Northern and the Southern shores through multiculturalism and a unifying process similar to Europe’s integrative dynamics. The hope was to achieve a common Euro-Arab empire with free circulation of goods and people, a common diplomacy and culture, a common Euro-Arab Parliament, a Euro-Arab university (here and here)and a common financing organism.
Multiculturalism is in fact a crucial dimension of the Euro-Arab strategic alliance. Since 1975, agreements connecting Europe to the Arab world are frequently mentioned in texts of Euro-Arab meetings and of the European Union. The terms of Arab-Muslim immigration to Europe are outlined in these documents: immigrants should be encouraged to maintain ties with their countries of origin and integration into European culture was not essential. The texts call for the establishment of Muslim cultural and political centres in European cities, and set forth guidelines for education, publishing, and the media. Details on the most recent period can be found in the report of the European Commission for Culture, Science and Education presented to the European Parliamentary Assembly by José Maria de Puig from the Spanish Socialist group (November 2002).
The multiculturalist policy to which you refer, Jamie, is connected in Europe to the absorption of Muslim culture into the Mediterranean entity. As Laars pointed out, by the 1980s the Left had strengthened its Third-Worldism and alliance with Arab states. It supported mass immigration from Africa and Asia as natural allies against established Western cultural bastions. The spiritual father of the deconstruction of Western culture was the late Edward Said, who devoted much work in order to replace it by the Arab-Muslim perception of history.
I agree with Storhaug and Berlinski on the Stalinist methods used to silence disagreement by labeling people “Islamophobes.” We can expect a reinforcement of this policy as a consequence of a resolution passed at the Third Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Summit conference in Mecca on December 7-8, 2005: “Endeavor to have the United Nations adopt an international resolution to counter Islamophobia, and call upon all States to enact laws to counter it, including deterrent punishments.” This is now being initiated at the new UN Human Rights Council. The problem is: how to define “Islamophobia” according to Western criteria that do not recognize blasphemy.
I agree with Fjordman’s analysis of the alliance between the Left and Muslim immigrants as an interactive dependency. The Left shares a visceral anti-Americanism and a totalitarian propensity with the general Arab population. The dissatisfied and often unemployed immigrant masses seem like an opportunity to fill the European proletarian vacuum. But above all, the Left uses these immigrants to help destroy the traditional Judeo-Christian values of a vacillating, demographically impoverished Europe plagued by antisemitism. Those forces are endeavoring to bring to birth the world of the future: an Alliance of Civilizations, fraternization of peoples, reconciliation of Islam and Christianity through immigration and multiculturalism. They both reject Judeo-Christianism, although for different reasons.
The Project mentioned by Fjordman is in fact a strategy described in a plethora of EU documents, approved by the major parties represented at the European Parliament, and coordinated by the European Commission. It was pursued with particular enthusiasm under Romano Prodi, president of the European Commission from 1999 to 2005.
The cultural relativism of which de Winter speaks is related to the immigration policy and the integration of its values. Fear of awakening opposition to the Common Strategy of the European Council that established EU policy toward the Arab Mediterranean countries led to the repression of all discussion of the economic problems and difficulties of integration caused by massive immigration. The immigration issue was falsely connected to the Holocaust and thereby protected by the rules and taboos of post-Holocaust Europe. European Jews had no homeland at that time; they were trying to flee a genocidal policy that condemned a whole people to extermination.
Today’s immigrants are not in this type of situation, and certainly not the Muslims who have 56 countries within the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Of course, certain individuals who are threatened by totalitarian dictatorship must be helped, but this is very different from the Jewish situation. Moreover, this shameful manipulation of Holocaust history and European guilt feelings is used to cover an antisemitic Mediterranean policy that is pointedly anti-Israeli and anti-American, while Palestinianism supported by the EU promotes the destruction of Israel, thereby pursuing the European extermination policy implemented during WW2. For pointing out these elementary truths I was accused of being a racist.
On the other hand I do not agree with de Winter on multiculturalism. I think it is very well implemented in Europe. Multiculturalism is the foundation of Europe’s generalized anti-Semitism, anti-American racism, and Palestinianist subculture with its fanatical support for Arafat and Saddam Hussein, moral relativism, and loss of identity. Multiculturalism is manifest in schools: insecurity, violence, pressure for curriculum changes (for France see the Obin Report); in universities, where students and professors conduct a cultural jihad against Western values; in some museums and in all expressions of culture and public and political life.
My position is very close to that of Bawer. I think that he perfectly grasped the European situation in all its complexity. I agree totally with his analysis, especially concerning the totalitarian web cohesion of “teachers, professors, the media, politicians, government agency workers, talking heads on TV, the representatives of state-funded ‘independent’ organizations like SOS Racism” to indoctrinate the politically correct. This perfectly expresses the political directives given by the European Commission to coordinate and control in all EU member-states the political, intellectual, religious, media, teaching and publishing apparatus since the 1970s so as to harmonize with its Mediterranean strategy based on multiculturalism. Bawer is perfectly right when he alludes to the professional harassment, boycott and defamation that punish those who openly reject the politically correct discourse. This leads to the development of a type of “resistance press” as if Europe were under the “Occupation” of its own elected governments. This free press on the internet and in blogs brought some changes, including the rejection of the European Constitution because people are fed up with the supra-national authoritarian policies of Brussels that have made such a mess.
I also agree with Bawer on the divide between the people and the political establishment, on the paralysis of the latter and the impotent passivity of Europeans, which might explode in ugly xenophobic crimes, and especially that immigrants are only pawns in a Euro-Arab strategy that turned Europe into “value-neutral spaces.” For having spoken and written on Europe’s Judeo-Christian spiritual values I was attacked verbally and in texts as an Islamophobe.
Unlike Berlinski, I do not see any political shortsightedness in the integration policy, because integration was never in the cards. From the 1970s when immigration policy was being elaborated between the countries of the European Communities and those of the Southern Mediterranean under the auspices of the Arab League, no European texts or agreements mentioned the need for integration but only the need to educate Europeans to host immigrants and be tolerant. The source of Europe’s “excess of tolerance” is not the Holocaust but its political exploitation that covers current policies, while Europe shows extreme intolerance toward Israel in the apartheid mechanisms of some of its universities, its economic boycotts and divestment policies, as well as the Marcionism and replacement theology professed by some of its Churches, and the constant condemnation of Israeli policies.
Multiculturalism is a wide all-embracing doctrine whose components are not all negative. It encompasses the struggle against fanaticism, prejudice, and chauvinism; it is open to humanity in its diversity; but it has been perverted by a hidden political agenda. Multiculturalism sustains many aspects of European policy. Walter Schwimmer, the Austrian diplomat and Secretary General of the Council of Europe from 1999 to 2004, told foreign ministers at the Islamic conference in Istanbul (June15th 2004) that the Islamic component is an integral part of Europe’s diversity. He reaffirmed the commitment of the Council of Europe to work against Islamophobia, antisemitism and other forms of intolerance, and proposed the launch of a series of joint projects on the teaching of history and religious diversity. The report recommends that these projects be extended to the whole of the Mediterranean basin, ”as a contribution to our intercultural and inter-religious dialogue”.
According to the European Council report, the Council was also actively involved in the co-organisation of a Conference on the Image of Arab-Islamic culture in European history textbooks, which took place in Cairo from 12 to 14 December 2004. The event, which was held within the framework of the Euro-Arab Dialogue ”Learning to Live together;” was jointly organized by UNESCO, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The aim of this conference was to examine negative stereotyping in the image of Arab-Islamic culture presented in existing history textbooks, and to discuss ways to overcome this stereotypingSolutions?
FP: We have now reached the second and last half of our symposium. Wach panelist: kindly give some overall potential solutions to the nightmare we face. Lars Hedegaard?
Hedegaard: If a doctor were to recommend a cure for some illness, he would be well advised to come up with the right diagnosis. And we still cannot agree on what is ailing us.
It is unfortunate that some members of this panel have introduced the idea of a malicious leftist plot or a conscious project to mislead — perhaps even one that was hatched in the Soviet Union. You don’t need conspiracies or plots — and certainly not the intervention of Moscow — to explain the general drift of the European left over the past three to four decades.
In several European countries, such as Denmark, Norway, Sweden, France and Germany, the left wing — ranging from parts of the mainstream Social Democratic parties all the way to the former revolutionary socialists — have simply changed ideological focus from socialism and collectivism to multiculturalism and cultural relativism. It may well be — as Jamie contends — that the left is attracted to the new ideology because they see it as a means to overthrow capitalism. And Islam will certainly do that — together with much else including the welfare state — but the basic “project” is not about socialism but about power. Multiculturalism should not be understood as a way to introduce socialism by other means. It is like a company that used to sell yoghurt and ice cream but is now marketing printing equipment. The printing machines are not a way to sell yoghurt by other means but a way to keep the firm afloat.
Yes, as has been mentioned, multiculturalism may be viewed as a symptom of a disease which is Europe’s fall from grace as a result of world wars, National Socialism, Communism the Holocaust etc. And in fact, Bruce has quoted me for a similar analysis in his recent book While Europe Slept. But if our purpose is to think of solutions, it doesn’t help us greatly to lament the downfall of Christianity or the post-1914 carnage. We cannot undo history, but we can — at least in theory — do something about ideologies and policies that are working right now. And I believe that multiculturalism ought to be attacked for what it is doing right now and for the suffering it will impose on our children. To do that it is essential that we expose those who believe that they stand to gain from the dissolution of our societies.
I still contend that whereas multiculturalism is not a weed that has grown in the socialist garden — Bat Ye’or has convincingly shown that we should look elsewhere for its genesis in contemporary Europe — it is now the core ideology of the left or perhaps more appropriately of the post-left. In the case of Denmark, we know how and when the shift took place and who carried it out. The same is true of France and I’m sure many other European countries. And let’s not forget the United States.
I doubt that there is any utopianism embedded in the new ideology. If there is any dream left in the left, it is a dream of power and the ideology and its concomitant policies of mass immigration and cultural appeasement serve only that purpose. The dream is one of ideological hegemony, political and economic clout and of cornering society’s commanding heights for the class of people that used to be called, in the old Soviet Union, “the leaders of the social processes”.
I certainly don’t blame Islam or Muslims for our plight. They cannot be expected to integrate into a society, a political and legal system or a culture that are antithetical to all they believe in and stand for. I agree with Bar Ye’or that integration was never in the cards. Integrating Islam — which must be understood as a political system and an army — into Western society is like integrating fire and water.
As Fjordman has stated, the left-Islamist entente will be short-term. Once the leftists have succeeded in creating a new people — which they undoubtedly will — they will quickly realize that this new people will have no need for their ideological guidance and will not acknowledge them as their natural leaders. But for now the multicultural ideology functions as an umbrella under which a variety of political and economic interest groups — left, right and center — may comfortably pursue their particular interests. In Denmark it was very clear that once the left had abandoned its anti-capitalist rhetoric and no longer called for the nationalization of the means of production, the capitalists lost all interest in ideological matters. The result can be described as an implied social contract: The capitalists and much of the traditional political center and right are perfectly willing to accept the left’s ideological hegemony so long as the leftists do not threaten their special interests. In fact, as long as it works, it is a perfect system where nobody is interested in rocking the boat. The left may continue to import its social clients — and voters — and the right may feel secure because the Muslim newcomers do not settle in their neighborhoods and have no other political agenda than identity politics.
We saw this alliance at work during the recent cartoon crisis, when the entire left allied itself with the cultural, academic and media elite, most of the Christian church and prominent capitalists and bourgeois politicians to condemn the cartoons and Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen for refusing to compromise free speech.
As for the solution, I’m afraid that I cannot think of any. We can forget about integrating Muslims. Europe has successfully integrated any number of immigrants, including some that have come from far corners of the world. But we cannot integrate members of a competing political system who refuse to intermarry with us unless it is on their terms. If I could point to a single example of successful integration of Muslim minorities into non-Muslim populations anywhere during 1400 years of history, I would be more optimistic.
We will not get a solution, but we will get an outcome. And I fear that it will not be a pretty one. It helps little for European voters to choose new parliamentary majorities, as the Danes did in 2001, because the number of Muslims has already reached a critical mass and because any democratic government would recoil from employing the kind of harsh measures needed to protect free institutions and the secular state. What we see is general capitulation to the forces of the prophet — one long Munich. And despite much talk of American resolve and resourcefulness, precisely the same is happening in the US.
Basically there are two possible outcomes: Either the Western populations accept their inevitable fate as dhimmies under new Muslim rulers, or they counter the emergence of Muslim parallel societies by setting up their own. i.e. they split their countries into mutually hostile enclaves like in Northern Ireland during the Troubles or in Yugoslavia or Lebanon. The third option — that the Western states decide to side with their old majority populations and with those newcomers who want to live like them and with them — would require a transformation of Churchillian proportions that I cannot envision.
Storhaug: With all respect for Lars Hedegaard and his broad knowledge and experience, I cannot be as pessimistic as him. Hedegaard says categorically that Europe can forget to integrate Muslims. Yes, I am very much concerned about the extremely well organized Muslim movements in Europe, the broad networks they have established, the float of Saudi dollars to these organisations, and the close ties they have to for example Middle east Islamists, like the Sunni ideological leader, Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Qaradawi is a leader who is maybe more dangerous to Europe than Osama Bin Laden, due to Qaradawi’s capacity to mobilize millions of Muslims around the world.
The European political establishment haven’t at all understood the power that Qaradawi and his companions in Europe possess. Neither have they understood how focused these leaders and movements are working towards their goal: to turn Europe into Eurabia, to use the term of the distinguished Bat Ye’or.
How these leaders and movements also have a strong grip on the Muslim communities in general, directly or indirectly, is also not common knowledge. But I think it is very important now to listen to Ayyan Hirsi Ali, whom I will label as the leading freedom fighter in contemporary Europe: don’t let us Muslims down. Give us a Voltaire. We have to support the secular Muslims a hundred percent. They are still in majority, according to many surveys in different European countries.
Our politicians and intellectuals have to be aware of who they are collaborating with. Today the support is going to the political Muslims and organisations, not to the secular Muslims. Because most politicians don’t have a clue who they are in so-called “dialogue” with. But in Denmark, Hedegaard’s home country, the Government has understood the game of the Islamists. The Islamists have been stripped naked and are hence out of the corridors of power.
I would like to point out some basic “medicine” for Europe. We need to give each other some hope. First; the famous saying from World War II, “Look to Norway,” is not appropriate for the new threats in Europe. We are still in ignorance here. The proper saying today is: Look to Denmark! Denmark is without doubt the Bellwether of Europe. Denmark has radically changed the immigration policy. First, the fetching marriages have to be stopped optimally, like in Denmark. Only then Europe can have some kind of immigration break and concentrate on the real integration issues.
Then, different studies show clearly that if you manage to integrate the mother, the main integration job is done, because the mother integrates the children. Today in Europe the situation is precisely the same in the ghettos as is the situation in the Arab/Muslim world. The women are kept in ignorance by force. Many evil consequences result from this position of women, the first being that it leads to a bad upbringing for their children. This fact is, for example, one major reason behind the revolts in France in the ghettos last year.
To sum up a huge issue: we must have a female perspective on the integration issues, and hence both take the power away from the patriarchs in the extended family, and also from the Muslim leaders. My experience from both two years stay in Pakistan and 14 years of work inside communities in Norway, is that most people, especially women, want to take part in a free and open society. The failed politics of Europe have betrayed the women, youngsters and children. The politics have preserved the power of the men.
Another main point that should be mentioned is our benefit system. We are “throwing” money at new immigrants as soon as they have entered their respective new country. Rights have to be followed by clearly defined obligations. Here we have failed again. But anyway, as you all have pointed out, the main battle field is to be played on the field of values. We have to be crystal clear on out basic values as free and open societies, and never tolerate intolerance, be it intolerance towards girls and women and homosexuals, or be it intolerance towards the basic pillars of our democracy: freedom of speech, religious freedom, and equality between citizens.
We must hope that European political leaders will start following the example of the honourable Prime Minister of Denmark, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. He didn’t leave any doubt about which field Denmark is playing on, and who the enemy is. He stood by the words in the title of my book, hopefully being published in a couple of months: But greatest of everything is freedom.
Thanks to all for having the pleasure of sharing thoughts with you.
FP: How we are going to get past the Muslim husband, and the control that Islam gives him over his wife, to the wife and “integrate” her is beyond me. And this is going to happen in fundamentalist Muslim families? The wife will be going with a bikini to the beach everyday and to the disco at night while the husband leads a fundamentalist Islamic lifestyle? This is a bit absurd no?
Fjordman: I just want to say two things. First: I do not believe there is such thing as a moderate Islam. I disagree with Storhaug in this regard. I can’t see any significant signs that a Reformation of Islam is happening, and I have serious doubts as to whether it is possible at all, from a theological point of view. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an ex-Muslim, not a secular Muslim, whatever that is. We are fooling ourselves with talk about peaceful coexistence with Islam.
Second: Berlinski seems to argue that our problems lie less in any deliberate ideological project among certain political groups and more in a general loss of cultural confidence in Europe. This is, however, a false dichotomy. It is both.
I agree with Bat Ye’or that the rise of Eurabia is closely tied to the European Union. There is also little doubt in my mind that many Leftist intellectuals in our media and our Universities want to erase the foundations of Western civilization and replace them with
It is true that these groups could never have been so successful in implementing this if there had been stronger popular resistance. There is indeed a loss of cultural confidence, sometimes bordering on active self-loathing, that has penetrated deep into the general populace, not just some elite groups. Europe’s faith in itself was severely wounded in the trenches of WW1, and perhaps mortally wounded in Auschwitz.
The most important task in the short to medium term is to weaken those elite groups who are most aggressive in attacking our civilization. This first of all means the EU, but also the censorship of our Politically Correct media. Eurabia can only be derailed by destroying the organization that created it in the first place: The European Union. The most likely outcome is that the EU, which is already a post-democratic organization, will become increasingly totalitarian until it falls apart.
I do, unfortunately, agree with Hedegaard that we have already passed the point of no return for serious conflicts caused by Muslim immigration. Anything we do now is damage limitation. A Multicultural society is only temporary. Sooner or later, we will return to a new mono-cultural society. This will happen either through the division of the previously coherent territory into new, mono-cultural enclaves or through the takeover by society as a whole of the most forceful and aggressive of these competing cultures.
The tectonic plates of global power are now shifting in ways they haven’t done for centuries. This is the retreat of the Western world order. Multiculturalism and the inability or unwillingness of Western nations to uphold their borders are viewed by Muslims as a signal that their ancient Western rival is weak and ripe for conquest. This is no doubt the background for the ongoing aggressive posture by the Iranian president, among others. Al-Qaeda strategists have earlier outlined a schedule for awakening the Islamic world and overthrowing the West, with a timeline stretching over the coming fifteen to twenty years. A world war of sorts with the Islamic world is already inevitable by now, no matter what we do. The only question is whether this will be a cold or a hot world war.
My personal view is that the Jihad riots in France in 2005 could be interpreted as the early stages of a civil war, one of several Eurabian civil wars to come. What will happen to the hundreds of French nuclear warheads? Will they be used to intimidate the rest of the West?
Maybe future historians will dub this the Multicultural World War. I find this to be a more accurate term than “The Islamic World War” because what is causing this world war is Western cultural weakness more than Islamic strength. The wars in the Balkans in the 1990s will in hindsight be seen as a prelude to the Multicultural World War.
It could be similar to the division of India after WW2, with the creation of one or several Islamic “Pakistan” enclaves. All of Europe will not be lost, but some parts may be, and many others will be damaged by the fighting. Many of our cultural treasures will burn.
It is possible that those regions of Europe where the infidels are strong enough will copy the Benes Decrees from Czechoslovakia in 1946, when most of the so-called Sudeten Germans, some 3.5 million people, had shown themselves to be a dangerous fifth column without any loyalty to the state. The Czech government thus expelled them from its land. As Hugh Fitzgerald of Jihad Watch has demonstrated, there is a much better case for a Benes Decree for parts of Europe’s Muslim population now than there ever was for the Sudeten Germans.
The truth is that Europe has got itself into a bad fix, again, and will have some turbulent and painful decades ahead regardless of what we do at this point. The choice is between some pain where at least parts of Europe prevail and pain where Europe simply ceases to exist as a Western, cultural entity.
The most civilized thing we can do in order to save ourselves, but also to limit the loss of life among both Muslims and non-Muslims, is for Westerners and indeed infidels in general to implement a policy of containment of the Islamic world. This includes stopping Muslim immigration, but also by making our countries Islam-unfriendly, thus presenting the Muslims already here between the options of adapting to our societies or leaving if they desire sharia law. Even whispering about Jihad should be grounds for expulsion.
Since Islamic countries can use organizations such as the United Nations to influence Western freedom of speech and immigration policies, Westerners need to discredit and disengage from the UN as much as possible, at some point maybe withdraw from it completely. We cannot under any circumstances allow Islamic nations to influence our legislation.
Regaining our cultural confidence is a more complicated and longer term goal. It probably cannot be achieved until today’s version of Western Europe has collapsed. Western Europe is now a collection of several layers of different Utopias, Multiculturalism, welfarism and transnationalism, that will soon come crashing down.
However, just as Islam isn’t the cause of Europe’s weakness but rather a secondary infection, it is conceivable that the Islamic threat could have the unforeseen and ironic effect of saving Europe from herself. Europe will go through a turbulent period of painful, but necessary revival. Maybe Jihad will trigger a new Renaissance in the West.
Europe will bleed but she won’t die. It remains to be seen whether this is wishful thinking or whether it will actually happen. In any case, it will take time to materialize.
It may sound unrealistic to talk about the collapse of the European Union or pulling out of the UN, but I believe things will rapidly get worse in the years ahead. A generation from now, things that will seem improbable or outright impossible now will have come to pass. We will see some of the largest changes in world politics since WW2, perhaps
Bawer: My own feelings about Europe’s future swing between a cautious, tentative optimism and a profound pessimism. When I pass a Muslim mother on the street speaking Norwegian to her daughter, the former being in hijab and the latter not, I grasp at hope. Ditto when I overhear Pakistani-Norwegian kids on the bus or tram speaking Norwegian with their ethnic Norwegian classmates. But all too often I see, hear, and read things that make me – well – let’s just say very unhopeful.
Last night, as it happens, I watched Casablanca for what must have been the 20th time. In the film, Rick’s patrons – aside from the Nazi officers and Vichy police – are Europeans united in their love of freedom and their desperation to get to America, which they all recognize as the embodiment of liberty and security. They’re from different countries – France, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria – but they all share a single dream, and when the Marseillaise begins to be sung in defiance of the Nazi officers, they all join in. This spirit might have been given the name “multiculturalism” too, and it’s precisely this spirit that today’s Europe profoundly needs – a cross-cultural recognition of the preciousness of freedom, the freedom that America restored to Western Europe in World War II, that Western Europe retained during the decades-long Cold War thanks to American military protection, and that is now threatened by jihadists within and without. There are remnants of this freedom-loving spirit in today’s Europe, and I’m cheered when I encounter glimpses of it. But the European establishment sees this spirit as its enemy.
I agree that Fogh Rasmussen in Denmark has set a splendid example. His response to the Muhammed cartoon controversy was terrific. Of course, it was no more than one should have expected from the head of government of a democratic country with freedom of speech, but the whole point is that Western European governments today tend to be so cowed by Islam that, within that context, Fogh Rasmussen’s defiance was remarkable. Yet Fogh Rasmussen is a light in the dark. The reaction of much of the Danish media, academic, and political establishment to the cartoon crisis, and to his handling of it, was repulsive. Many ordinary Danes are proud of their prime minister for having stood up to intimidation and defended freedom, but the response of many other Danes has been to fret endlessly about the reputation of their country elsewhere in Europe, in the EU, and in the UN. Journalists and politicians have told them that the Muhammed cartoons, and Fogh Rasmussen’s defense of Jyllands-Posten’s right to print them, have given Denmark a reputation as racist, as “Islamophobic” – and they’ve bought it, and feel apologetic about it. Whether or not they really think their country is racist is irrelevant – they’re worried about Denmark’s image.
In the Netherlands, Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh were also heroic opponents of multicultural mindlessness – and were killed for it. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has stood up against this mindlessness, risking her life and making enormous sacrifices for the freedom of the Dutch people – but too few of those people have dared to support her openly. Her neighbors drove her out of her apartment for fear that they might be harmed by acts of terror directed against her – and then a leader of her own party tried to strip her of her Dutch citizenship and drive her out of the country. And according to polls, an amazing number of people in the Netherlands were eager to see her go, as if getting rid of the woman who was leading the way in facing this problem would actually rid them of the problem itself. To them, this immigrant woman who has put her life on the line for their heritage of freedom, the freedom their ancestors established, was not a hero but a troublemaker. She was rocking the boat. That boat may be drifting slowly but surely toward a caliphate under sharia law, but apparently they’d rather the voyage be as smooth as possible rather than try to turn the boat around and risk capsizing it.
Now, like Rick’s customers in Casablanca, Hirsi Ali is on her way to America – and safety – and I don’t blame her. The Netherlands’ loss is America’s gain. What will the Dutch do now? All too many of them – including, it may well be, many of those who cheered Fortuyn for taking on the mania of multiculturalism – are tired of dissension and scared of further trouble and simply want to make compromises to keep the peace, even if they know deep down that any such peace can only be illusory and temporary. Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen, whose city will soon have a Muslim majority, has called for an “accommodation” with fundamentalist Muslim values, including the oppression of women. This means surrendering democracy, pure and simple. But even people like Ian Buruma – who within recent memory was writing sensible stuff about these issues – are now supporting him.
And so it goes in one European country after another. In Spain, Aznar stood up bravely after 3/11 – and was voted out. In Britain, 7/7 has simply led to more official attempts to placate Islamists. (The easiest way to get knighted in Britain today, it seems, is to be a radical Muslim.) Every new jihadist effort to cow the West since 9/11 – the Madrid and London bombings, the Paris riots, the massive protests in Denmark over the Muhammed cartoons, the murders of Fortuyn and Van Gogh, Beslan – has reaffirmed the obvious truth. Yet after each of these atrocities, the European political, media, and academic elite has been quick to deny any connection among them. Journalists who after 9/11 mocked the idea that these attacks on America might be followed by assaults on Europe have responded to these subsequent events by explaining them exclusively in terms of local circumstances. An astonishing proportion of the European elite remains determined not to see the Big Picture. Will the people eventually rise up against this madness? And if they do, will they rise up in the name of liberty – or in the name of far-right xenophobia and racism?
Frankly, it doesn’t look terribly promising. These days it’s not easy to imagine a large cohort of Western Europeans taking a firm stand in the name of democratic principles. They’ve been raised to prize consensus and to worry endlessly about what others think. They love protest marches and candlelight vigils. But look at most of those protests and vigils and you won’t see an embattled minority standing up against the establishment in the name of principle. You’ll see image-conscious conformists eager to identify with establishment-approved causes, anxious lest they veer one iota from the corrupt orthodoxy symbolized by their Palestinian scarves, Che t-shirts, and so forth. They are abject devotees of multiculturalism and the welfare state, of the UN and Amnesty International and any group with the word “Racism” in its name, and they keep being patted on the head by professors and journalists and politicians who assure them how brave and radical they’re being by standing up to the big bad U.S.A. and its evil lackey, Israel.
Yes, there are liberty-loving Europeans who sit at home quietly shaking their heads while all this PC protesting is going on. But how many? Who knows? The question is, how do we get those Europeans to stand up en masse for democracy and individual rights and against the slow, steady destructiveness of multiculturalism? How do we get them to stop being cowed by the media and the authorities and terrified of being called racists or Islamophobes? It’s a tall order. All that those of us over here in Europe can do is to keep speaking up about these things – and hope that more and more of those who agree with us will work up the nerve to do the same. Is it already too late? All we can do is hope it isn’t.
Berlinski: Mr. Fjordman does not believe there is such a thing as moderate Islam. I live in Istanbul and can reassure him that indeed there is. I am surrounded by men and women who are by any reasonable definition both Muslims and moderates: They are Muslims in the sense that they believe there is no God but God and Mohammed is his messenger; they pray five times daily in the direction of Mecca; they observe the Ramadan fast, complete the hajj if they can, and call themselves Muslims. They are moderates in the sense that they are tolerant of other religions; they do not equate Jews with pigs and apes, drop walls on homosexuals or blow up airplanes and Buddha statues, and they do not reject or fear modernity. I encounter these moderate Muslims by the score every time I step out my front door.
I am an American Jewish woman who looks and behaves like one. I dress exactly the way I would if I lived in Los Angeles, and obviously I express my political opinions freely. Yet I feel perfectly at home and at ease in my neighborhood of friendly, tolerant, moderate Muslims. I am sure my friends here in Istanbul—among them devout but liberal Muslims such as Mustafa Akyol—would be most puzzled to be told they do not exist, although perhaps intrigued by the discovery and its implications for their income tax status. It is frankly silly to say that there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim or that there cannot be such a thing.
Mr. Fjordman can see no significant signs of a reformation in Islam. Again, if he looked to Turkey, he surely would. The Islamic reformation here dates from the late Ottoman Empire. A vibrant moderate-Muslim bourgeoisie has emerged in Turkey over the past 20 years, coinciding with a general opening of Turkish society. Muslim politicians such as Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gul have stressed the need for reform in the Islamic world. The country’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (known as the Diyanet) which controls more than 76 thousand mosques in Turkey and many others in Europe, recently declared that the Diyanet will remove from the hadiths—the non-Koranic commentary on the words and deeds of the Prophet Mohammed—statements that condone the mistreatment and oppression of women. This is an extremely important step for the Islamic world. (Note that the head of the Diyanet, Dr. Ali Bardakoglu, is a liberal theologian who was appointed three years ago by the Islamic AKP government.) I would direct Mr. Fjordman’s attention not only to Turkey, but to the flourishing in other Islamic countries of such groups as the Liberal Islam Network, the Progressive Muslims, the International Forum for Islamic Dialogue, and the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy.
Of course it’s theologically possible to reform Islam. If it is theologically possible to reform Judaism and Christianity, it is possible to reform Islam as well: Islam is what Muslims make of it.
So that’s the good news. The bad news, of course, is that there are also radical Muslims—a lot of them—in Turkey. Worse still, Europe is now home to some of the most radical groups of Muslims in the world—Britain’s Sunni Muslims of Pakistani origin, in particular, tend to be extraordinarily lunatic, as we have recently been reminded with the revelation that at least 20-odd members of that community have been plotting to blow a large number of commercial aircraft out of the sky. So I am of course in complete agreement with everyone here about the danger posed to Western civilization and Europe in particular by radical Islam. To acknowledge the good news in no way diminishes the reality and gravity of the bad news, but it does suggest where the solution might lie: with moderate Muslims.
Islam must be co-opted and modernized, and moderate Muslims are the key to that project. I make the case in my book, by the way, that this has already been done quite successfully in Marseille, although Marseille is in no way a typical European city.
Specifically, the solutions I propose are these: As Mr. Bawer advises, intellectuals and journalists and politicians must keep speaking out, or begin speaking out. As matters of policy, radical clerics funded by Wahhabi Saudi or subcontinental Deobandi money—any cleric who incites violence and lawbreaking and who advocates the destruction of Western civilization—must be deported or imprisoned. Cut off their funding, arrest them, fly them over a desert somewhere and drop them out of the plane. Bring mosques under state control, as they are in Turkey, and as Sarkozy proposes to do in France. Enforce all European laws pertaining to domestic abuse and violence against women with especial vigor. End all state support for extremist Islamic clubs—or any Islamic club where men and women do anything but pray for peace or play backgammon. Demand that all immigrants learn the language and history of their adoptive countries. Never cower or capitulate to the threat of violence, and make it perfectly clear that the price of admission to European society is accepting such European practices as the lampooning of the Prophet. Bring back universal conscription: A structured military organization is an excellent place for unemployed young men who are prone to radicalism and violence. If the state does not impose this structure on them, they tend to form their own kind of military organization. (Consider Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin, for example, who was exempt from military service.) The Dutch abolished compulsory military service in 1996, shortly before violent extremism in the Netherlands began making headlines. That was obviously a mistake.
At the same time, reward moderate Muslims. Respect and encourage legitimate religious aspirations and practices. End the European welfare system as we know it, and liberalize European economies so that hardworking Muslims have a fighting chance of moving up the socioeconomic ladder. Provide funding and support for groups such as those I’ve listed above that promote the reform and liberalization of Islam.
Now, even if all of these suggestions were to be implemented tomorrow—and of course they won’t be—would they work? I honestly don’t know. I have to agree that things don’t look good, and that even these ideas, the best solutions I can come up with, are not all that persuasive. Still, I agree with Mr. Storhaug that we need to give one another hope, and I do not think it ridiculous to feel hope, particularly when I consider what has been achieved in Turkey. Anyway, we are at war, and as Dr. Johnson once said, despair is a crime. All this talk of hopelessness is bad for morale, so we should probably not indulge in it. We have no choice but to win the war, so let’s just get on with it.
Bat Ye’or: Solution? Truly I see none. I agree with Hedegaard that the major drive in politics is power. But this is common to both the left, right, and other political parties. And the means to achieve power is the adoption of multiculturalism and cultural relativism which allows the building of an alliance with Muslim countries.
Reading some EU leaders’ declarations, one is stunned by the tremendous frustration and greed for power they express, their impatience to confront America and to play a super-major role in the Mediterranean by giving a severe blow to Israel. Now Hizbullah offers them a chance. But France backed down from her former grand promise, withdrew to a marginal role and then felt obliged to add soldiers to the contingent. Frankly, I do not see France opposing Hizbullah without Paris burning. Romano Prodi, the champion of EU supremacy through an appeasement policy has offered the largest number of troops for the UN contingent in Lebanon. Doubtless, the vilification of Israel that has been consistent during his five years presidency at the European Commission will continue and the inexorable straightjacket of dhimmitude that he has masterly created for the EU will be reinforced. Germany hesitates to send her marines patrolling the Lebanese coast. Finally, homegrown terrorism in the EU reduces its big role in the Mediterranean to bark at Israel and America.
As Hedegaard has pointed out, cultural appeasement, mass immigration, ideological hegemony aim to create a Eurabian nomenklatura, while multiculturalism functions as an umbrella for several economic and political groups, including the Islamized Christian clergy. The rightist parties are no less close to Arab-Muslim countries; the latter acquire Western military and industrial equipments, associate in banking and financial projects, not to mention the oil industries. Tremendous interests are at stake, not least the whole Western economy dependant on oil, gas and exports.
Are our leaders and intellectuals unaware of Islamist realities, as Storhaug seems to imply? I doubt it. Our politicians are perfectly informed of Islamic history and current policies by their embassies, agents and specialists. There is no innocence there, but tremendous inflexibility in corruption, cynicism and the perversion of values. Following the French lead, they have chosen to face those challenges by a collective retreat and a denial, when in November 1973 they bowed to the Arab oil boycott, to PLO terrorism and wholeheartedly embraced actively and justified morally the Arab/Palestinian jihad against Israel. This was the fatidic Munich decision that has unravelled Europe’s dhimmi destiny; from then on, the capitulation by a long Munich appeasement could not be derailed. And because the 1973 decision was based on fear, cowardice and greed, our leaders, faithful to their policy of denial and subservience, promote Islamists for dialogue. Secular Muslims will not protect us from terrorism, but those who will suspend jihadist terror are those who control it and whom we bribe by providing them with a position of power. This is because European security since 1973 has become a bargain chip in a policy of collusion, compromises and alliances within a Palestinian jihadist strategy which the EU actively promotes in spite of being its victim. It is within this context that we have lost our moral orientation, our values, our spiritual guidance.
Can Muslim women help? As much as I praise and admire Nonie Darwish, Wafa Sultan and so many others, I will qualify Storhaug’s optimism. The majority of Muslim women choose Islamism in Europe, Egypt, Turkey and other countries, and a few even become suicide-bombers. Islamic culture is fourteen centuries old and it has conditioned men and women alike. In my view, it is a mistake to imagine that women’s emancipation will impact considerably on Muslim relations with the West. These are two different and unrelated domains. Traditional Muslim attitudes toward non-Muslims are set in the religious, legal and historical framework of jihad, totally unknown to most Westerners and which has its own conceptual rationalization.
If we want to change Islamist behavior toward the West, we must examine this issue and not rely on Muslim women to act as intercessors on behalf of about four hundred millions Europeans. And can we really believe that the problem is only about the integration of some twenty or more millions Muslim immigrants and not also their relations with the 56 Muslim countries from where they originated – countries fueled with anti-Western frenzy? The Danish cartoons Affair has proven our shortsightedness. The Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference were solicited in December 2005 by Danish Muslims in Europe to intervene in European affairs.
So what can be done? First put our house in order, keep a united Europe which is a great idea but get rid of Eurabia, with its fascist, Stalinist armature that binds together the establishment, the universities, the media, the Churches in a tight irrevocable political network that fuels denial, subservience to terror, dhimmitude and the resurgences of Nazi-type hate. Retrieve the universities won over by the cultural jihad that subvert our values, replacing our view by a jihadist conception of history, whereby jihad represents a wonderful chance for the vanquished to convert to Islam. Then expose and denounce our dhimmi media who support Hizbullah and Hamas, as well as the dhimmi NGOs, funded like many Palestinian NGOs by Eurabian finance drawn from European taxpayers. Bawer has well described the mass of devotees linked to the establishment, the press, the academics, the professors that represent this cohesive cemented Eurabian totalitarianism.
As Fjordman stated, Eurabia can only be derailed by destroying its cogs. Like Nazism and Communism, Eurabia is a European self-poisonous secretion whose functioning must be exposed in order to be neutralized. Its passion for multiculturalism emerges from its hate of Judeo-Christian culture and even more, its revulsion of Israel, and thus of the Jewish roots of Christianity. This is the drive to European self-destruction. Repressed Nazi tendencies reemerged in the Euro-Arab alliance against Israel and America. It is tightened within a fascist-totalitarian web controlling the mainstream media, the universities and the audio-visual. Hizbullah’s war against Israel has revealed the strong implementation in the West of a Eurabian jihadist party. This party wants us to believe that it is America or Blair’s foreign policy that triggers terrorism, not a jihad genocidal ideology. Transfer of guilt that started with France’s support for Palestinianism, has become a global issue with the globalization of jihad and its imperialistic exigency for the control of international policy. Now it is the dar al-harb, the world of the infidels that is guilty to resist Islamization.
The irrevocable determination to deny any victory to Israel induced the Western dhimmi media to support Hizbullah. This compulsive, relentless, automatic mechanism born from dhimmi fear, aims to prove that force, courage and resistance can never win, and that only surrender and submission (dhimmitude) can bring peace. An inflexible motto embodied by Eurabia and which has robbed Israel from its victories. In Eurabian mythology, Israel represents Nazi brute inhumanity, while Palestinians and Lebanese who nourish genocidal designs embody innocent victims. This perverted logic denies the jihad threat against the West and advocates its surrender by peace, love and services to jihadist societies.
Have we gone beyond the point of no-return with Islamic universities and madrassas sprouting over a Europe instrumentalized and paralyzed by terrorism from within and without, and professing jihadist fervor against America and Israel? Is not Tony Blair a tragic figure, in its Churchillian solitary fight? Can we survive if we stop to buy our security by paying billions in development projects in Arab countries and to the Palestinians? The results of this solicitude? The election of a Palestinian Hamas Taliban type regime with chaos, abductions, forced conversions, and the rise of Hizbullah and Islamism everywhere.
Our future? Maybe it will be like Lebanon, a fake state, a fake democracy which we pretend exists while in fact it is a jihadist battleground, administered by terrorized dhimmi notables in the service of their Muslim masters. Or Iraq? Everything which happens today in the Muslim world develops within a religious and historical civilisational framework that we deliberately ignore. What I see and hear today I recognize it, as it is endlessly repeated in past chronicles. Maybe we should start to learn this history to understand what is happening to us, as a first step to find a solution, to retrieve our lost basic liberties to life and security, and our self-esteem. Because even if moderate Islam will prevail – a hazardous speculation, even for Turkey – it is our right to refuse Islamization and to maintain our Western secular rules and our spiritual values which differ from those of the shari’a.
FP: Bat Ye’or, Claire Berlinski, Leon de Winter, Bruce Bawer, Fjordman, Hege Storhaug and Lars Hedegaard, thank you for joining Frontpage Symposium.