Ten Years, and Slightly Less Alone

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By Mark Steyn, October 10, 2016:

america-alone-cover-alt-rev-bTen years ago this coming weekend – October 16th 2006 – my book America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It hit the bookstores and shortly thereafter the bestseller lists. This paragraph from early in the Prologue lays out the thesis:

Much of what we loosely call the western world will not survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most European countries. There’ll probably still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands – probably – just as in Istanbul there’s still a building known as Hagia Sophia, or St Sophia’s Cathedral. But it’s not a cathedral; it’s merely a designation for a piece of real estate. Likewise, Italy and the Netherlands will merely be designations for real estate.

That’s just for starters. And, unlike the ecochondriacs’ obsession with rising sea levels, this isn’t something that might possibly conceivably hypothetically threaten the Maldive Islands circa the year 2500; the process is already well advanced as we speak. With respect to Francis Fukuyama, it’s not the end of history, it’s the end of the world – as we know it.

The clever chaps at The Economist called it “alarmist“, as did Tarek Fatah in my own magazine,Maclean’s. The Economist is as complacently globalist as ever, but Mr Fatah has since somewhat revised his view:

Steyn was right and I was wrong.

He’s, er, not wrong about that. America Alone did not get everything right. But, if you’d read it more attentively than The Economist did, Europe’s 2016 summer of terror would not have surprised you. Many influential persons did, in fact, read the book, including President George W Bush, Democrat vice-presidential nominee Joe Lieberman, Spanish prime minister José Maria Aznar, British Brexiteer Michael Gove, etc. But evidently Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel and many others did not – and so here we are, a decade later. All this week we’ll be marking the tenth anniversary by running a few excerpts from the book. Let’s start today with some more from that Prologue:

It’s the end of the world – as we know it. Does that make me sound as nuts as Al Gore and the rest of the eco-doom set? It’s true the end of the world’s nighness isn’t something you’d want to set your watch by.

Indeed. After running through some of the more apocalyptic predictions of Sixties and Seventies environmentalists, I concede:

None of these things occurred. Contrary to the doom-mongers, millions didn’t starve and the oil and gas and gold didn’t run out, and, though the NHL now has hockey franchises in Anaheim and Tampa Bay, ambitious kids are still unable to spend their winters knocking a puck around the frozen Everglades. But that doesn’t mean nothing much went on during the last third of the 20th century. Here’s what did happen between 1970 and 2000:

In that period, the developed world declined from just under 30 per cent of the global population to just over 20 per cent, and the Muslim nations increased from about 15 per cent to 20 per cent.

Is that fact less significant to the future of the world than the fate of some tree or the endangered sloth hanging from it? In 1970, very few non-Muslims outside the Indian sub-continent gave much thought to Islam. Even the Palestinian situation was seen within the framework of a more or less conventional ethnic nationalist problem. Yet today it’s Islam-a-go-go: almost every geopolitical crisis takes place on what Samuel Huntington, in The Clash Of Civilizations, calls “the boundary looping across Eurasia and Africa that separates Muslims from non-Muslims.” That looping boundary is never not in the news. One week, it’s a bomb in Bali. The next, some beheadings in southern Thailand. Next, an insurrection in an obscure resource-rich Muslim republic in the Russian Federation. And then Madrid, and London, and suddenly that looping, loopy boundary has penetrated into the very heart of the west. In little more than a generation.

1970 doesn’t seem that long ago. If you’re in your fifties or sixties, as many of the chaps running the western world today are wont to be, your pants are narrower than they were back then and your hair’s less groovy, but the landscape of your life – the look of your house, the lay-out of your car, the shape of your kitchen appliances, the brand names of the stuff in the fridge – isn’t significantly different. And yet that world is utterly altered. Just to recap those bald statistics: In 1970, the developed nations had twice as big a share of the global population as the Muslim world: 30 per cent to 15 per cent. By 2000, they were at parity: each had about 20 per cent.

And by 2020…?

Well, by 2020, it will be impossible to compare statistics between “the Muslim world” and the west – because Islam is currently responsible for most population growth in English, French and German cities, and the principal supplier of immigrants to Canada, and already 25 per cent of the population of the European Union’s capital city, Brussels. Ten years ago, my line about mediation between Islam and the “host community” being the “principal political dynamic” in western Europe also struck many as “alarmist”, but after this last summer in Germany and France and Sweden it’s inarguable:

September 11th 2001 was not “the day everything changed”, but the day that revealed how much had already changed. On September 10th, how many journalists had the Council of American-Islamic Relations or the Canadian Islamic Congress or the Muslim Council of Britain in their rolodexes? If you’d said that whether something does or does not cause offence to Muslims would be the early 21st century’s principal political dynamic in Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom, most folks would have thought you were crazy. Yet on that Tuesday morning the top of the iceberg bobbed up and toppled the Twin Towers.

This book is about the seven-eighths below the surface – the larger forces at play in the developed world that have left Europe too enfeebled to resist its remorseless transformation into Eurabia and call into question the future of much of the rest of the world. The key factors are:

i) Demographic decline;
ii) The unsustainability of the social democratic state;
iii) Civilizational exhaustion.

Let’s start with demography, because everything does.

Just so. My argument was straightforward. The western world is going out of business because it’s given up having babies. The 20th century welfare state, with its hitherto unknown concepts such as spending a third of your adult lifetime in “retirement”, is premised on the basis that there will be enough new citizens to support the old. But there won’t be – so Europe decided to import the babies it couldn’t be bothered having itself. Ten years ago, one of the first interviews I did was with Paul Gigot, editor of The Wall Street Journal, on his TV show “The Journal Editorial Report“:

STEYN: Seventeen European countries have what demographers call lowest-low fertility, from which no society has ever recovered. That means they are basically not having enough babies.

And the way Europe is set up, they have these unsustainable social programs and welfare. And they imported the babies that they didn’t have. They imported them essentially from the North Africa and the Middle East.

So we’re seeing one of the fastest population transformations in history, whereby an aging ethnic European population is being replaced by a Muslim population. And the Muslims understand that, in fact, Europe, as they see it, is the colony now.

GIGOT: Is there any way that Europe can avoid being Islamacized in this way?

STEYN: Well, I think, to be honest, some of the Eastern European nations didn’t throw off communism in order simply to throw their lot in with the doomed French and Belgians and Dutch 15 years later. And I think Poland and Hungary and so forth, will be determined not to go down the same path that the West Europeans have.

That observation has been borne by the different reactions to the “refugee” “crisis” by, say, Germany and Sweden on the one hand and Poland and Hungary on the other.

GIGOT: Is the problem only demographics or is it somehow broader, a kind of lack of intellectual confidence, cultural confidence… I remember during the Cold War, there was a strain of pessimism about whether the West would prevail in that conflict. James Burnham, the great strategist, wrote about the suicide of the West.

And some people, as late as the late 1980s, were still saying we’re going to lose the Cold War. Yet we won that because the West had a great — demonstrated a lot of resilience, democratic resilience.

Why is this conflict, in your view, different?

STEYN: Well, I think we understood then, anyone who meet Czechs or Hungarians or Poles or any of these people on the other side of the Iran Curtain during the Cold War, understood that they actually had no dog in the fight. They weren’t interested. They weren’t interested in conquering the world.

And I think it is different now. I think the average Muslim does, in some basic sense, when he immigrates to the Netherlands, when he immigrates to the United Kingdom, when he immigrates to Canada or Michigan, wants eventually to live in a Muslim society in those places. And he expects effectively — I am not saying he wants to fly planes into buildings or any of that nonsense — but his expectation is that the host society will assimilate with him rather than the other way around.

And that’s a profound challenge in a way that communism wasn’t.

When America Alone came out all those years ago, another early interview was by the indefatigable Michelle Malkin for her then new Hot Air website. It stands up pretty well a decade later. Click below for Part One:

As you can see from the above video, time has beaten the hell out of me this last decade, although not Michelle – and not my thesis. This is the biggest story of our time, and, ten years on, the west’s leaders still can’t talk about it, not to their own peoples, not honestly. And they’re increasingly disinclined (as Angela Merkel fumed to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg) to let you talk about it. Yet, for all the “human rights” complaints, and death threats from halfwits, and subtler rejections from old friends who feel I’m no longer quite respectable, I’m glad I brought up the subject. And it’s well past time for others to speak out.

If you haven’t read America Alone during its first ten years, well, you’re missing a treat. It’s still in print in hardback and paperback, and personally autographed copies are exclusively available from the SteynOnline bookstore.

Washington Mall Shooter Came from Turkey, Had a Picture of ISIS Caliph al-Baghdadi on His Blog

kiro7dotcom-template_20160926175324773_6177686_ver1-0_640_360Analysts are still looking for motives, but one cannot deny that jihadism has had an influence.

CounterJihad, by Bruce Cornibe Sept. 30 2016:

We have witnessed a number of recent attacks over the past couple of weeks in New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, Washington state, amongst others. New information is coming in for these cases, while analysts are still looking for motives; however, one cannot deny that jihadism has had an influence in at least some of the cases. The Burlington, Washington mall shooting is an interesting case. Even though the shooter, Arcan Cetin, is from a Muslim majority country in Turkey (police originally thought he was Hispanic) and has posted pictures of ISIS’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei and had other Islamic references, it isn’t clear yet that he was inspired by jihad. Besidesmultiple “arrests for assaulting his stepfather, as well as a DUI[,]” Cetin seemed to exemplify an Islamist bent toward the treatment of women. FrontPage Mag states:

He scared at least one neighbor: “Amber Cathey, 21, lived in an apartment next to Cetin for the past three months and said she was so frightened by him that she complained to apartment management and kept a stun gun handy. Cathey said she blocked him on Snapchat after he sent her a photo of his crotch. ‘He was really creepy, rude and obnoxious,’ Cathey said.”

A high school classmate recalled that Cetin “was very hurtful towards girls. He would sexually harass them. And bully a lot of them.”

The Washington Post gives more insight into Cetin’s feelings toward women:

Mehmet Ecder, an 18-year old high school student who grew up with Cetin in Amana, Turkey, said Cetin came from a troubled family and was struggling to connect with American girls once he moved to Washington state. He liked living in the U.S., but “He says, ‘American girls hate me,’” Ecder recalled of conversations over the last year with Cetin.

Cetin had mentioned a young woman who had rejected him, Ecder said.

“He says he doesn’t know how to talk to girls,” said Ecder. He believes Cetin may have committed the crime “out of jealousy.”

Even if Cetin was a socially awkward kid (especially around girls) like many other kids in the U.S. this alone typically doesn’t trigger one to go on a shooting spree. Maybe the reason was more cultural. Coming from Turkey where women are relegated in society and men feel entitled to have women it’s not surprising that Cetin could have been influenced by this Islamist culture – at least within his family. It’s quite possible he used this animosity toward women in selecting his targets in the mall shooting – four out of five of the fatalities were female. Only with more time and information will we be able to know with certainty what inspired Cetin to commit such vicious acts of violence (one victim was a sixteen-year-old girl who had beat cancer). As for now we also still can’t rule out the possible jihadist motive.

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Washington State Mall Shooter May Not Be a Jihad Terrorist

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Front Page Magazine, by Robert Spencer, Sept. 27, 2016:

The evidence is scant that Arcan Cetin, a Muslim migrant from Turkey, murdered five people in Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington last Friday night in the name of jihad and Islam, but the evidence that does exist is striking. Amid his busy online activity, Cetin posted admiration for the Islamic State caliph al-Baghdadi and Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei and a call for Muslims to repeat “SubhanAllah” multiple times.

It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which someone who did not have jihad sympathies would post anything positive about Baghdadi or Khamenei, but the problem in Cetin’s case is that these references come without any supporting context. Dahir Adan, who stabbed nine people in a mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota last week, had a sparse social media presence, but did take the time to list the Qur’an as his favorite book on his Facebook page. Cetin, who by contrast was all over social media, never speaks about Islam or jihad – except in the posts about Baghdadi and Khamenei, and the “SubhanAllah” post.

And so NBC News reported that “when asked on Sunday whether they could rule out terrorism as a motive, Mount Vernon police Lt. Chris Cammock said no.” It couldn’t be ruled out, but there was no initial indication that Arcan Cetin was a hardcore true believer a la Orlando jihad mass murderer Omar Mateen, who called 911 in the midst of his massacre to declare his allegiance to the Islamic State and repeatedly proclaimed that his murders were for Allah.

But Cetin could be something even worse. CBS News reported that he “was described by those who knew him as ‘creepy’ and a ‘bully,’ and he had a handful of arrests for assaulting his stepfather, as well as a DUI.” He was “reportedly ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation in August 2015, and that was completed as of March 2016.”

He scared at least one neighbor: “Amber Cathey, 21, lived in an apartment next to Cetin for the past three months and said she was so frightened by him that she complained to apartment management and kept a stun gun handy. Cathey said she blocked him on Snapchat after he sent her a photo of his crotch. ‘He was really creepy, rude and obnoxious,’ Cathey said.”

A high school classmate recalled that Cetin “was very hurtful towards girls. He would sexually harass them. And bully a lot of them.”

So Cetin had a history of violent, abusive behavior, and sexually harassed women. Not coincidentally, he comes from a cultural that sanctifies violent, abusive behavior, particularly toward women: “Men have authority over women because Allah has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because Allah has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them” (Qur’an 4:34). The Qur’an also teaches that Infidel women can be lawfully taken for sexual use (cf. its allowance for a man to take “captives of the right hand,” 4:3, 4:24, 23:1-6, 33:50, 70:30). The Qur’an says: “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” (33:59) The implication there is that if women do not cover themselves adequately with their outer garments, they may be abused, and that such abuse would be justified.

Arcan Cetin may not have known or cared about any of those Qur’an passages. But he may have lived in an environment in which such attitudes were taken for granted. Ex-Muslim cartoonist Bosch Fawstin has recounted how, even growing up in a secular, non-observant Muslim household, anti-Semitism and misogyny were commonplace and taken for granted. Even though no one in the house was particularly devout, no one thought to question the bedrock assumptions that Jews were evil and women were inferior.

If that is the kind of household Arcan Cetin, another apparently secular Muslim, grew up in, he and people like him should concern authorities even more than people like Omar Mateen and the San Bernardino killers, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik. Mateen, Farook and Malik were all devout and observant Muslims; Cetin, at least as far as we know right now, was not. When devout, observant Muslims who believe that the supreme being has ordered them to “kill them wherever you find them” (cf. Qur’an 2:191, 4:89, 9:5) end up doing so, it should surprise authorities who aren’t thoroughly sold out to politically correct fantasies. When, on the other hand, someone like Arcan Cetin goes jihad, his actions show that the violent jihad option is a live one even for the “moderate,” secularized Muslims upon which Western authorities are staking the future of the free world.

Arcan Cetin shows that even thoroughly assimilated Muslims who love video games and kidding around with non-Muslim friends on social media still retain a good many Islamic cultural attitudes that are incompatible with Western culture, and, at times of personal crisis, may pick up a rifle and start shooting.

This is a case that proponents of the massive Muslim migrant influx into the West should ponder. But they won’t.

Also see:

A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Britain: August 2016

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Tanveer Ahmed (right), a Sunni Muslim, was sentenced to 27 years in prison for the murdering Asad Shah (left), who belonged to the Ahmadi branch of Islam. Ahmed confessed to killing Shah in Glasgow because he claimed Shah had “disrespected the Prophet Mohammed.”

Gatestone Institute, by Soeren Kern, September 19, 2016:

  • “To use the term ‘honor killing’ when describing the murder of a family member — overwhelmingly females — due to the perpetrators’ belief that they have brought ‘shame’ on a family normalizes murder for cultural reasons and sets it apart from other killings when there should be no distinction.” — Jane Collins, MEP, UK Independence Party.
  • Voter fraud has been deliberately overlooked in Muslim communities because of “political correctness,” according to Sir Eric Pickles, author of a government report on voter fraud.
  • “Not only should we raise the flag, but everybody in the Muslim community should have to pledge loyalty to Britain in schools. There is no conflict between being a Muslim and a Briton.” — Khalil Yousuf, spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.
  • Only a tiny proportion — between five and ten percent — of the people whose asylum applications are denied are actually deported, according to a British asylum judge, quoted in the Daily Mail.
  • Police in Telford — dubbed the child sex capital of Britain — were accused of covering up allegations that hundreds of children in the town were sexually exploited by Pakistani sex gangs.

August 1. Nearly 900 Syrians in Britain were arrested in 2015 for crimes including rape and child abuse, police statistics revealed. The British government has pledged to resettle up to 20,000 Syrian refugees in the UK by the end of 2020. “The government seems not to have vetted those it has invited into the country,” said MEP Ray Finch. The disclosure came after Northumbria Police and the BBC were accused of covering up allegations that a gang of Syrians sexually assaulted two teenage girls in a park in Newcastle.

August 1. Male refugees settling in Britain must receive formal training on how to treat women, a senior Labour MP said. Thangam Debbonaire, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees, called for a “refugee integration strategy” so that men “understand what is expected of them.” She said it could help prevent sexual harassment and issues “including genital mutilation.”

August 2. Jane Collins, MEP for the UK Independence Party (UKIP), launched a petition calling for the BBC to stop using the term “honor killing.” The petition says the term “cultural murder” should be used instead. It states:

“To use the term ‘honor killing’ when describing the murder of a family member — overwhelmingly females — due to the perpetrators’ belief that they have brought ‘shame’ on a family normalizes murder for cultural reasons and sets it apart from other killings when there should be no distinction.

“Murder is murder, whether it be for cultural excuses or others. The term ‘honor killing’ is a euphemism for a brutal murder based on cultural beliefs which have no place in Britain or anywhere else in the world.”

August 3. Zakaria Bulhan, a 19-year-old Norwegian man of Somali descent, stabbed to death an American woman in London’s Russell Square. He also wounded five others. Police dismissed terror as a possible motive for the attack, which they blamed on mental health problems. But HeatStreet, a news and opinion website, revealed that Bulhan had uploaded books advocating violent jihad on social media sites.

August 4. A public swimming pool in Luton announced gender-segregated sessions for “cultural reasons.” The move will give men exclusive access to the larger 50-meter pool, while women will have to use the smaller 20-meter pool. The gender-segregated sessions are named ‘Alhamdulillahswimming,’ an Arabic phrase which means “Praise be to Allah.” UKIP MEP Jane Collins said the decision to have segregated times for swimming was “a step backwards for community relations and gender equality.” She added:

“The leisure center said this is for cultural reasons and I think we all know that means for the Muslim community. This kind of behavior, pandering to one group, harms community relations and creates tension. Under English law we have equality between men and women. This is not the same in cultures that believe in Sharia Law.”

August 5. Egyptian members of the Muslim Brotherhood may be allowed to seek asylum in Britain, according to new guidance from the Home Office. The document states that high profile or politically active members

“may be able to show that they are at risk of persecution, including of being held in detention, where they may be at risk of ill-treatment, trial also without due process and disproportionate punishment…. In such cases, a grant of asylum will be appropriate.”

The new guidance contradicts previous government policy. In December 2015, then Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain would “refuse visas to members and associates of the Muslim Brotherhood who are on record as having made extremist comments.”

August 5. Stephen Bennett, a 39-year-old father of seven from Manchester, was sentenced to 180 hours of community service for posting “grossly offensive” anti-Muslim comments on Facebook. One of the offending comments: “Don’t come over to this country and treat it like your own. Britain first.” He was arrested under the Malicious Communications Act. The judge said Bennett, whose mother-in-law and sister-in-law are Muslims, was guilty of “running the risk of stirring up racial hatred.” He described it as “conduct capable of playing into the hands of the enemies of this country.”

August 6. British MPs face a six-year alcohol ban when the Palace of Westminster, which has dozens of bars and restaurants, undergoes a multi-billion-pound refurbishment beginning in 2020. They will move to an office building operating under Islamic Sharia law. Their new home, Richmond House, is one of three government buildings which switched ownership from British taxpayers to Middle Eastern investors in 2014 to finance a £200 million Islamic bond scheme — as part of an effort to make the UK a global hub for Islamic finance. Critics say the scheme effectively imposes Sharia law onto government premises.

August 8. Lisa Duffy, a candidate to succeed Nigel Farage as leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), called for a ban on Muslim women wearing a veil in public buildings, shopping centers and on buses and trains. She also demanded that Islamic faith schools be closed to combat radicalization, as well as a “complete and comprehensive ban” on Sharia courts in the UK. She said the veil is “a symbol of aggressive separatism that can only foster extremism” and claimed that it is often “forced on women by men who view them as their property.”

August 8. Stanley Johnson, a former Conservative MEP and Chairman of the European Parliament’s Intergroup Group on Animal Welfare, called for all halal meat offered for sale in the UK to be clearly labeled as such. He wrote:

“The halal market is worth £2.6 billion in Britain alone, and the export market is also growing particularly in the Middle East. Most of us eat halal meat unwittingly on a daily basis, since it is sold in most major outlets, including big brand-name supermarkets, without being labelled as such.”

August 9. Tanveer Ahmed, a 32-year-old taxi driver from Bradford, was sentenced to 27 years in prison for the “barbaric, premeditated” murder of a shopkeeper in Glasgow. Ahmed admitted to repeatedly stabbing Asad Shah to death outside his shop in March 2016 in a sectarian attack motivated by hatred of Shah’s religious views.

Ahmed, a Sunni Muslim, confessed to attacking Shah, who belonged to the Ahmadi branch of Islam, which believes Mohammed was not the final Muslim prophet. As he was led from the dock, Ahmed raised a clenched fist and shouted in Arabic: “Praise for the Prophet Mohammed, there is only one Prophet.” His cry was repeated by supporters in the public gallery.

Read more

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.

New show at The Rebel: Culture Wars with Tiffany Gabbay

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Islam and terror: Smashing the “small minority of Muslims” MYTH

By Tiffany Gabbay, @Tiffany_Gabbay, April 19, 2016:

Tonight’s program will shatter the “small minority of Muslims” misconception peddled by the mainstream media, Hollywood and the Left in general.

Using hard facts and statistics, we show that the carnage the world has been experiencing at the hands of terrorists is VERY much about Islam, the religion, and that the number of radicals is not a “tiny minority,” as we’re told by the Ben Afflecks of the world.

Truth told, hundreds and hundreds of millions of Muslims, including many in the West, hold radical beliefs. Author Raheel Raza, a practicing Muslim, is honest and open about this on the show.

PLUS: We tackle the refugee issue with terrorism expert Andy McCarthy – Yes, Trump’s proposal to bar Muslims from entering the U.S. is constitutional

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“Since 9/11, there have been 28,000 Islamic terror attacks” — each one followed by “meaningless renditions of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’”

Integration Is Not the Answer to Muslim Terrorism

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Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, April 1, 2016:

There is a famous photo of Anjem Choudary, the head of multiple banned organizations calling for imposing Sharia law on the UK whose follower was responsible for the Lee Rigby beheading, getting drunk as a young law student. Friends recall “Andy” smoking pot and taking LSD, sleeping around and partying all the time. Andy was really well integrated, but he still turned back into Anjem.

While the proliferation of segregated Muslim areas, no-go zones in which English, French or Dutch is the foreign language, is a major problem, it is a mistake to think that “integration” solves Islamic terrorism.

It doesn’t.

The Tsarnaev brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon bombings seemed integrated. Nobody noticed anything wrong with Syed Rizwan Farook, the San Bernardino shooter, or Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber. They weren’t lurking in a no-go zone. They had American friends, an education and career options if they wanted them. They didn’t want them. And that’s the point.

Bilal Abdullah was a British-born doctor who tried to carry out a terrorist attack at Glasgow International Airport. He wasn’t marginalized, jobless or desperate. He had a cause.

Quite a few converts have become Muslim terrorists. If integration were the issue, white converts to Islam wouldn’t be running off to join ISIS or plotting terrorist attacks like Don Stewart-Whyte, who converted to Islam and planned to blow up planes headed from the UK to the US. Along with his friend Oliver Savant, the son of a secular Iranian father and British mother, they are the reason why you can’t carry liquids onto a plane.

Muslim terrorism is not caused by failed integration, but by a conscious disintegration. What is often described as “radicalization” is really a choice by “integrated” Muslims to become religious and to act on their beliefs. Muslim men who formerly dressed casually begin growing beards and wearing Salafist garb. They consciously reject what Western society has to offer because they have chosen Islam instead.

Islamic terrorists have not been alienated by our rejection. They champion an alien creed that rejects us.

The debate over Islamic terrorism is bogged down by a refusal to name it and understand what it is. ISIS is not a form of “nihilism” that European Muslims resort to after being alienated by racism and driven to despair by joblessness. It’s an alternative system that draws on over a thousand years of Islamic religion and culture. It’s not a negative choice, but a positive one. It’s not an act of despair, but of hope.

Social, linguistic and cultural integration won’t stop Islamic terrorism. They may prevent it in some cases and accelerate it in others. But it’s not the primary factor. Religion is. Cultural integration won’t make much of a difference in the face of religious disintegration.

This is the type of integration that is the real problem. Some of the worst Jihadists are culturally integrated and religiously disintegrated. They speak the native language fluently. They are intimately familiar with popular culture. They move easily among the native population. It’s their belief system that is fundamentally disintegrated and whose demands cannot be integrated without a civil war.

Their choices are not a referendum on our society. What we do in response to their terrorism is.

The issue is not economic. It is not linguistic. It is not about alienation or racism. It is about religion. And Europe is not comfortable with religion. It assumes that the religious is political, but in Islam, the political is instead religious. Europe has given no thought to how Islam can be integrated as a religion. Instead it has relied on the assumption that all religions are basically alike and that the aims and ideas of Islam are therefore interchangeable with those of Catholics, Lutherans, Jews and anyone else.

Every Islamic terrorist attack sends the message that its ideas and aims are not interchangeable.

Europe does face challenges of cultural integration. But cultural disintegration isn’t blowing up airports or subways. Religious disintegration is. Cultural disintegration accounts for crime, riots and unemployment. It occasionally feeds into Islamic terrorism, but ideological violence is aspirational. It’s generally practiced by members of the middle class with money, leisure time and lots of self-esteem.

Like left-wing terror, Islamic terrorism is based on realizing a set of ideas about what the world should be like. These ideas are already embedded in the worldview of every Muslim to some degree. This is not a clash of civilizations or even cultures. It is a collision between the political and the religious.

The EU’s Federica Mogherini states, “Islam belongs in Europe…. I am not afraid to say that political Islam should be part of the picture.” Mogherini thinks of political Islam as a social welfare organization with a steeple, like the rest of the political religions of Europe. But political Islam is theocracy. And Europe was never able to integrate theocracy. Instead it overshadowed it with nationalism and then Socialism.

Secular Europe has forgotten what religion is. Religion is passion, conviction and redemption. It is not something that you occasionally live on the weekends. It transforms your life and your worldview.

How do you integrate that? Do you do it with language lessons, job training and a pat on the back?

Islamic terrorism is what happens when Muslims “get” religion. Not of the occasional casual variety, but of the fundamentally transformative kind. Integration assumes that once Mohammed is at university and drinking beer that he won’t suddenly decide to Jihad his way across Europe. But there are plenty of examples that show what a poor and fitful defense this is against the rebirth of a religious conviction.

Cultural integration is an issue, but the real issue is philosophical integration. The real challenge is not in linguistic integration, but in the integration of ideas. And it is impossible to do that without addressing what Islam actually is and what it believes. Islam is not Lutheranism with more Arabic. Political Islam is not a soup kitchen and a used clothes bin. It is a conviction that the world is locked in a titanic struggle between Islam and the infidels, the forces of light and darkness, which must be won at any cost.

How do you integrate an ideology that is convinced that non-Muslim political systems are evil into Europe? What explanatory videos will you use to admonish Ahmed from Syria that he shouldn’t set off bombs at the railway station even though his religion commands him to fight the infidels? Which job will you use to induce Abdul to abandon his fervent belief that everyone must live under Islamic law?

Sanctimony and denial won’t untangle this Gordian knot. No amount of NGOs will turn Islam into something else. Cultural integration won’t transform Muslims into non-Muslims. All it does is make them conflicted and insecure. And that is why it is those second-generation culturally integrated Muslims who go to bars, call themselves Andy or Mo, sell drugs, go to university, who take a detour into Syria and come back with bomb plans and big plans for transforming Europe into an Islamic state.

Cultural integration builds up a conflict with Islam. Some Muslims respond to it by abandoning Islam, others by embracing it. If we fail to recognize this, then integration becomes a ticking time bomb.

A Dozen Bad Ideas for the 21st Century

bad-ideas

Written in 2011, timeless wisdom from Mark Durie:

By Mark Durie, Feb. 10, 2011:

Here is a list of false beliefs and modes of thought which make it hard for people in the West to come to terms with the challenge of Islam today.  If you are deeply attached to any of these ideas or ways of thinking, you will have difficulty accepting the truth about Islam’s teachings and their impact.

  1. The belief that all religions are the same. They are not.  Different faiths make different claims about what is true, and about what is right and wrong and produce radically different societies.  The same is true for different political ideologies: consider the different trajectories of North and South Korea.  Atheists have helped entrench this belief, because to acknowledge material differences between religions would undermine the atheist (and radical secularist) narrative.
  2. The belief that religion is irrelevant as a cause of anything.  According to this view, religion can be exploited or hijacked as an excuse or an instrument (e.g. of oppression – such as an ‘opiate of the masses’), but not an underlying cause of anything.  Marxist ideology has made a significant contribution to establishing this belief. In accordance with this assumption, security analysts all over the Western world presuppose that religion cannot be the cause of terrorism: so they and the politicians they advise must say that terrorists have ‘hijacked’ religion.
  3. The belief that we all worship the same God. We do not. Thousands of different gods are worshipped by people on this earth.  These gods manifest different characteristics, and make different demands.  The worship of them forms very different kinds of people and communities.
  4. The belief that one can justify anything from any sacred text. This is not true.  It is a postmodern fallacy that all meaning is in the eye of the beholder.  Certain texts lends themselves to supporting particular beliefs and practices much more than others.
  5. The belief that the Christian Reformation was a progressive movement. This is not true.  In fact the Christian Reformers aimed to go back to the example and teaching of Christ and the apostles.  Throughout the  whole medieval period reformatioalways meant renewing the foundations by going back to one’s origins.   Understanding ‘reformation’ in this way, Al Qa’ida is a product of an Islamic reformation, i.e. it is an attempt to go back to the example and teaching of Muhammad.
  6. The belief that dispelling ignorance will increase positive regard for the other. This was the message of Harper Lee’s powerfull novel To Kill a Mockingbird(pub. 1960). Although it is true that racial hatred can feed on and exploit ignorance, accurately dispelling ignorance sometimes rightly increases the likelihood of rejecting the beliefs or practices of another. It is illogical to assume that those opposed to a belief are the ones who are most ignorant about it.  Ignorance can breed positive regard for what is wrong just as easily as it can breed prejudice against what is good.
  7. The belief that everyone is good and decent, and if you just make a sincere effort to get to know another person, you will always come to respect them.This is not universally true.  Holding this view is a luxury.  Those who have experienced life under evil governments or in dysfunctional societies are shocked at the naivety of this assumption.
  8. The belief that putting something in context will always produce a more innocuous interpretation.This is not true.  Attending properly to context can make a text even more offensive than it would otherwise have been.  Conversely, if you take something out of context you may regard it more positively than you ought to.  In reality, radical interpretations of the Qur’an, such as are used to support terrorism, almost always involve an appeal to a rich understanding of the context in which the Qur’an was revealed, including the life of Muhammad.  On the other hand, many have taken peaceful verses of the Qur’an out of context, in order to prove that Islam is a peaceful religion.
  9. The belief that extremism is the problem, and moderation the solution. Warnings against taking things to extremes are as old as Aristotle.  More recently the idea was promoted by Eric Hoffer, in The True Believer(pub. 1951) that mass movements are interchangeable, and an extremist is just as likely to become a communist or a fascist.  He claimed that it was the tendency to extremism itself which is the problem.  This idea has become very unhelpful and generates a lot of confusion. ‘Moderation’ or ‘laxity’ in belief or practice can be destructive and even dangerous, e.g. in medical surgery or when piloting a plane.  Ideas that are good and true deserve strong, committed support, and the best response to bad ideas is rarely lukewarm moderation.
  10. The belief that the West is always guilty. This irrational and unhelpful idea is taught in many schools today and has become embedded in the world views of many.  It is essentially a silencing strategy, sabotaging critical thinking.
  11. Two wrongs make a right reasoning.E.g. Someone says that jihad is a bad part of Islam, to which a defender of Islam says ‘What about the crusades?’  Someone says the Qur’an incites violence, to which someone else replies ‘But there are violent verses in the Bible.’  This kind of reasoning is a logical fallacy. A specific sub-type of this fallacy is tu quoque reasoning:

    Tu quoque (‘you too’) reasoning: you can’t challenge someone else’s beliefs or actions if you (or your group) have personally ever done anything wrong or have objectionable characteristics. E.g. A Catholic says jihad is bad, but someone counters that popes supported the Crusades. This is a sub-type of the ‘two wrongs make a right’ reasoning: it too is a logical fallacy.

  12. Belief in progress: everything will always get better in the end. This is a false, though seductive bit of wishful thinking.  Bad ideas have bad consequences.  Good societies can easily become bad ones if they exchange good ideas for bad ones.  Bad situations can last for a very long time, and keep getting progressively worse.  Many countries have deteriorated for extended periods during the past 100 years.  It is not true that ideologies or religions will inevitably improve or become more ‘moderate’ as time passes, as if by some magical process of temporal transformation.  But things are not always going to get better.