Sunday, November 06, 2005

Mark Steyn
Wake up, Europe, you've a war on your hands

They're young men from North Africa growing ever more estranged from the broader community with each passing year and wedded ever more intensely to an assertive Muslim identity more implacable than anything you're likely to find in the Middle East. After four somnolent years, it turns out finally that there really is an explosive ''Arab street,'' but it's in Clichy-sous-Boiss.

The notion that Texas neocon arrogance was responsible for frosting up trans-Atlantic relations was always preposterous, even for someone as complacent and blinkered as John Kerry. If you had millions of seething unassimilated Muslim youths in lawless suburbs ringing every major city, would you be so eager to send your troops into an Arab country fighting alongside the Americans? For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest. They seem to have lost that battle. Unlike America's Europhiles, France's Arab street correctly identified Chirac's opposition to the Iraq war for what it was: a sign of weakness........

In the no-go suburbs, even before these current riots, 9,000 police cars had been stoned by ''French youths'' since the beginning of the year; some three dozen cars are set alight even on a quiet night. ''There's a civil war under way in Clichy-sous-Bois at the moment,'' said Michel Thooris of the gendarmes' trade union Action Police CFTC. ''We can no longer withstand this situation on our own. My colleagues neither have the equipment nor the practical or theoretical training for street fighting.''

President Chirac seems to have come down on the side of those who feel the scum's grievances need to be addressed. He called for ''a spirit of dialogue and respect.'' As is the way with the political class, they seem to see the riots as an excellent opportunity to scuttle Sarkozy's presidential ambitions rather than as a call to save the Republic.

A few years back I was criticized for a throwaway observation to the effect that -
  • ''I find it easier to be optimistic about the futures of Iraq and Pakistan than, say, Holland or Denmark."
But this is why. In defiance of traditional immigration patterns, these young men are less assimilated than their grandparents. French cynics like the prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, have spent the last two years scoffing at the Bush Doctrine: Why, everyone knows Islam and democracy are incompatible. If so, that's less a problem for Iraq or Afghanistan than for France and Belgium.

If burning the 'burbs gets you more ''respect'' from Chirac, they'll burn 'em again, and again. In the current issue of City Journal, Theodore Dalrymple concludes a piece on British suicide bombers with this grim summation of the new Europe: ''The sweet dream of universal cultural compatibility has been replaced by the nightmare of permanent conflict.'' Which sounds an awful lot like a new Dark Ages.

Jeff Jacoby
A war of values, not religion
''The killers who take the lives of innocent men, women, and children are followers of a violent ideology very different from the religion of Islam. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against anyone who does not share their radical vision. . . . Many Muslim scholars have already publicly condemned terrorism, often citing chapter 5, verse 32 of the Koran, which states that killing an innocent human being is like killing all of humanity."

If that's the way Charles thinks Bush ought to speak about Islam, I have good news for him: It is. Those were Bush's words. He spoke them on Oct. 17 at the fifth annual White House ''iftaar" dinner during the Muslim month of Ramadan. He praised the ''countless acts of kindness" that followed the recent earthquake in Kashmir. ''For the first time in our nation's history," he said to applause, ''we have added the Koran to the White House library."

Too intolerant? Considering that America is at war with the forces of Islamofascism, and that for 25 years Americans have been attacked or killed by radical Muslim terrorists, the president's words about Islam were remarkably benign and uncritical.

As indeed they have been since 9/11, when he went out of his way to proclaim the peacefulness of Islam -- sometimes in the company of Muslim leaders whose history has been far from peaceful.

Of course, it goes without saying that most Muslims are not terrorists. Of course many people professing Islam are compassionate and generous. Of course Islam should not be gratuitously insulted.
But neither should it be sugar-coated or kowtowed to. Yet too many Western elites are unwilling to speak plainly about the problems within Islam itself, or to hold Muslim culture to what should be universal standards of decency and justice. Far from being ''too confrontational" in their attitude toward Islam, they have been too indulgent and deferential, careful never to say anything that might be deemed insensitive. One result has been an increase in extremist behavior: Witness the ''Eurofada" raging in the streets of Paris.

We do Muslims no favors by excusing attitudes or practices that ought always to be deemed inexcusable. In Australia's Victoria state, the Herald Sun reported recently, police have been issued a ''religious diversity handbook" that advises them ''to treat Muslim domestic violence cases differently out of respect for Islamic traditions and habits." The Australian Police Multicultural Advisory Bureau's handbook provides guidelines for modifying police procedures to accommodate minority sensibilities.

Sikhs, for example, ''should not be disturbed" when reading their holy scriptures, a practice that normally takes 50 hours. Photographing Aborigines is discouraged, since it might raise fears of ''sorcery and spiritual mischief." And Muslim wife-beaters should be treated with kid gloves, in deference to Islamic norms. ''In incidents such as domestic violence," the handbook instructs, ''police need to have an understanding of the traditions, ways of life, and habits of Muslims."

Could anything more perfectly capture the moral bankruptcy of multicultural relativism? The Koran may tolerate wife-beating (Sura 4:34: ''As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to bed apart and beat them"), but why on earth should Australia?

''All Muslim husbands are not wife-beaters," remarks Robert Spencer, a scholar of Islam, ''and it is condescending and irresponsible . . . to give those who are a free pass, instead of denouncing the practice unequivocally and calling upon Muslim men to heed the better angels of their nature." In much the same way, he says, the West's unwillingness to ''confront the elements of Islam that jihad terrorists use to justify violence, for fear of offending moderate Muslims, " ends up undercutting the ability of those very moderates to demand reform from within.

The war against radical Islam is above all a war of values -- the values of liberty, equality, and human dignity against the values of jihad. The jihadis don't hesitate to proclaim their values. We must not be shy about defending ours.

7 Comments:

At 10:44 AM, Blogger CanadianGoose said...

I saw this documentary on anti-semitism in France. It showed how most anti-semitic attacks came from muslims and how the French did absolutely nothing to stop it. It made me sick to watch. It's interesting to see that now it's not just a Jewish problem. And if I was French I would be very worried right now. One thing which the U.S. has which I admire is balls. Europe seems to be lacking a pair.

 
At 6:17 PM, Blogger Roberto Iza Valdes said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 4:44 PM, Blogger Freedom for Egyptians said...

Hi Mike,

I know this is irrelevant to your post, your support is needed in the first case of detention aganist an Egyptian blogger.

http://freedomforegyptians.blogspot.com/2005/11/freedom-of-expression-attacked-in.html

Take a good care

Freedom for Egyptians

 
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