The West’s Paralysis over Western Muslims

This article was published at FrontPage Magazine at about 3 a.m. Eastern time this morning, and then, sometime between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., was removed by David Horowitz without notice to me that he was doing so. I only found out that the article was missing because, after I had posted the link to the article at VFR, several VFR readers told me the article was gone. I wrote to Mr. Horowitz’s editors asking them what had happened. Not hearing back from them, I wrote to Mr. Horowitz himself, before he told me what had happened. He felt the article said nothing new on the subject and was too hostile to Moslems, so he decided to pull it.

First, there is nothing critical about Moslems in this article beyond things that I have previously published at FrontPage. Second, the article is not primarily about Moslems but about the West’s response, or rather lack of response, to them. I therefore find the notion that there is nothing new or worthwhile in the article troubling. I argue that the West, faced with the challenge of growing unassimilable and jihadist Moslem populations in its midst, is in effect limiting itself to just two responses: the liberals’ response, which is to retreat from the Moslems (as many Dutch are now doing by emigrating from the Netherlands); and the conservatives’ response, which is point out the serious threat Western Moslems pose to us (which convinces the conservative grassroots that the conservative elites are on top of the issue), but then to propose doing nothing about this threat except to call for yet further efforts at “assimilating” the Moslems. Of course, any real assimilation is impossible, given the fact that the Western nations have culturally and spiritually cancelled themselves out of existence (so that there is nothing for Moslems to assimilate themselves into, even if they wanted to), while the Moslems are on fire with their own religion and culture. No one in any influential position in the West is calling for the cessation of Moslem immigration into the West and the removal of jihad-supporting Moslems from the West.

Here is the article, in exactly the form in which it was published this morning at FrontPage:

The West’s Paralysis over Western Muslims
By Lawrence Auster
March 17, 2005

For decades the Dutch people, like other Westerners, shut their eyes to the mounting challenge posed by the unassimilated Muslim immigrants in their country. Reality has now painfully intruded, and the Dutch find themselves in the midst of a national trauma brought on by the jihadist slaughter of filmmaker Theo van Gogh and the subsequent jihadist beheading threats against two Dutch politicians.

An e-mail I received recently offers a cogent description of the Dutch people’s troubled mood, as well as of the larger Western suicide attempt that the Dutch situation exemplifies:

A friend is in Amsterdam now for a 16 day vacation. He speaks Dutch and knows many Dutch living in the U.S. He says they are waking up, but they feel EXTREMELY torn inside because everything they have been taught tells them that they are wrong to feel bad that their country is being overrun by people who essentially don’t want to be Dutch and let it show.

The Dutch feel “torn”—but by what? Not by the threatening presence of Muslims who openly despise their country, but by their own critical attitude toward those Muslims, an attitude that violates the Dutch ethos of tolerance and inclusion. And that is why, as reported recently in the New York Times, many Dutch have been emigrating from the Netherlands. They’re not so much fleeing the Muslims as fleeing the guilt and inner conflict they experience as a result of their negative reactions toward the Muslims. To remain good liberals in their own minds, the Netherlanders must get rid of such negative feelings—by abandoning the Netherlands to the enemies who make them feel that way.

However, it does not behoove us to gaze on this spectacle with a superior attitude, for we are no better than the Dutch, and we are facing the same ultimate fate as they. Freedom House recently published a report about the Saudi-funded propagation of virulent anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-Jewish exterminationist ideology in thousands of Saudi-funded Wahhabi mosques throughout the U.S. The Bush administration has done nothing about this, but continues to admit Saudi immigrants and travelers into the U.S. and to maintain good relations with the Saudi Kingdom. At the same time, there has been no elite or popular protest, either over the Wahhabist fifth column or our government’s non-response to it. No protest—in this country where we self-importantly tell ourselves that we are at “war” with Islamo-fascism. That’s some “war,” isn’t it? It’s a war that consists of our promoting elections in far-away countries of which we know nothing, while we permit our mortal enemies to operate at will inside our country.

For the present, it remains inconceivable that we would oppose, let alone kick out a significant number of the Muslims whom we have so foolishly permitted en masse into America. The most we propose doing is to redouble our efforts to assimilate them—or, since any serious assimilation efforts have been dead letter for decades, to talk, endlessly and evasively, about the need to redouble our efforts to assimilate them. But to recognize the Muslims for the adversaries they are, to state forthrightly that people who believe in jihad against America do not belong in America, and to take appropriate action on the basis of that statement, would be to abandon the non-discriminatory ethos that is the sacred core of modern America and the modern West. According to this view, which President Bush has raised to the level of a global crusade, there is no “we” and there is no “they.” There is only humanity, consisting of individuals, and all individuals are the same because they all dream of freedom. A belief in the universal sameness of all persons serves as the basis for Bush’s global democratist rhetoric. But by ignoring cultural particularities and the mutual incompatibility between different cultures, this belief system precludes any serious defense of our own civilization.

As an example of this mentality, consider the British conservative journalist David Pryce-Jones’s response to Europe’s Islam crisis. Replying to correspondents in the March Commentary (at p. 12 in the linked pdf file), he starts out by stating his assimilationist assumptions. “Settling in their millions in the various countries of Europe, Muslims immigrants have an identity crisis: whether to accept or reject assimilation.” The first problem here is that Pryce-Jones is assuming that Europe is already presenting assimilation as a viable option to the Muslims, which in fact is not the case at all. Far from trying to integrate Muslims, the Europeans have for decades been encouraging them to maintain and build up their religion and culture. Indeed, several European governments even subsidize the construction of mosques. At the same time, the Europeans keep retreating before the encroaching Muslim presence, and officially sign on to every plank in the Islamist agenda, from openness to Muslim immigration to uncritical embrace of the anti-Israel cause. As Bat Ye’or argues in Eurabia, Europe has already put itself out of existence as a cultural entity. Its policy, embodied in such organizations as the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation of the Dialog of Cultures, is to seek the total economic, political, and cultural merger of Europe and the Islamic countries. So, since Europe has no assimilation program for the European Muslims, why should Pryce-Jones expect these radically alienated Muslims to assimilate?

However, even if the Europeans had not surrendered their culture and were trying to assimilate the Muslims, Pryce-Jones would still be wrong to suggest that all these Muslims could easily assimilate, if only they chose to do so. The very idea shows a failure to grasp the profound differences between Muslims and Westerners, and the inherent dynamic within Islam that is driving European Muslims to assert their distinctiveness more and more, rather than to give it up.

Pryce-Jones speaks about the radical Sheikh Omar Bakr Muhammad, who tells Britain’s Muslims that they are at “war” with the West and that an Islamic state must be created in Britain. At a big conference hosted by the Sheikh, pictures of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center were shown and “the rapt watchers thrust their fists in the air and chanted ‘Allahu Akbar!’ (God is great!). They then all cheered the name of bin Laden.”

With all due respect to Pryce-Jones, these people hardly seem to be in the throes of an “identity crisis.” They seem to be joyously expressing their murderous enmity toward Britain and the West. Yet Pryce-Jones’s references to a Muslim “identity crisis” would lead the average reader to believe that such Muslims are not enemies of Britain, but only incompletely assimilated individuals who could be led back to the true path, if Britain would only increase its effort to assimilate them.

Continuing his identity-crisis trope, Pryce-Jones says that Europeans also have an identity crisis, “as they decide what to make of this large and growing minority in their midst, particularly the Islamists who aspire to colonize them.” Notice his choice of words: the Europeans are deciding “what to make of” the Muslims who are seeking to colonize Europe—not what to do about these Muslims. The implication is that if people are trying to colonize you, the most you can do is decide what you think about them. The possibility of deciding to do something about them doesn’t even arise. This is a “conservatism” that consists of endless kvetching about our approaching civilizational doom, rather than of trying to forestall it.

Finally, Pryce-Jones refers to the idea, raised by some of his correspondents, that either Europe will succumb to the Muslims, or there will be a backlash of the kind that occurred in Holland following the van Gogh murder (when, for example, some Dutch boys in revenge for the killing burned down a Muslim school). He remarks: “Down either of these roads lies every prospect of social disintegration and violence.” In Pryce-Jones’s book, the burning of a few Muslim schools would be as bad for the Netherlands as the wholesale submission of the Netherlands to Islam.

Which leaves what options? Once again, only further efforts at assimilation—something which most Muslims have no desire to do, and which most Europeans have no will to impose on them. For an intelligent Westerner such as Pryce-Jones to keep repeating—at this very late stage in the game—the hackneyed call for “more assimilation” is a cowardly evasion of reality, a formula for unending Western helplessness. Yet this evasion appears in a neoconservative journal that, because of its loyalty to Israel, is universally seen as hostile to Muslims. As I wrote at FrontPage last May, even the most hard-boiled thinkers among us think that our domestic safety rests on the assimilation of U.S. Muslims, and security measures against terrorism. Three and a half years after 9/11, the West still sleeps, managing the jihad threat instead of doing something about it.

And the West will continue to sleep, so long as it refuses to renounce the liberal belief that the highest values of our society are tolerance and inclusion, the liberal belief that all differences can be settled by reasoned discourse, the liberal belief that we must strive forever to find common ground with people who are irreconcilably different from us. So long as liberalism with its non-discriminatory embrace of the Other remains the core of Western identity, the West will be unable to know itself, to value itself, and to defend itself. And the Muslim conquest of the West will continue.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 17, 2005 02:30 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):