Nicking Our Public Discourse
Another BRILLIANT article from Mark Steyn. He always gets to the heart of the matter. Worth the read.
What with the Fort Hood mass murderer, the Christmas Pantybomber, and now the Times Square bomber, you may have noticed a little uptick in attempted terrorist attacks on the U.S. mainland in the last few months.
Rep. Lamar Smith did, and, at the House Judiciary Committee, he was interested to see if the attorney general of the United States thought there might be any factor in common between these perplexingly diverse incidents.
“In the case of all three attempts in the last year, the terrorist attempts, one of which was successful, those individuals have had ties to radical Islam,” said Representative Smith. “Do you feel that these individuals might have been incited to take the actions that they did because of radical Islam?”
“Because of . . . ?”
“Radical Islam,” repeated Smith.
“There are a variety of reasons why I think people have taken these actions,” replied Eric Holder noncommittally. “I think you have to look at each individual case.”
The congressman tried again. “Yes, but radical Islam could have been one of the reasons?”
“There are a variety of reasons why people . . . ”
“But was radical Islam one of them?”
“There are a variety of reasons why people do things,” the attorney general said again. “Some of them are potentially religious . . . ” Stuff happens. Hard to say why.
“Okay,” said Smith. “But all I’m asking is if you think, among those variety of reasons, radical Islam might have been one of the reasons that the individuals took the steps that they did.”
“You see, you say ‘radical Islam,’” objected Holder. “I mean, I think those people who espouse a — a version of Islam that is not . . . ”
“Are you uncomfortable attributing any actions to radical Islam?” asked Smith. “It sounds like it.”
And so on, and so forth. At Ford Hood, Major Hasan jumped on a table and gunned down his comrades while screaming “Allahu Akbar!” — which is Arabic for “Nothing to see here” and an early indicator of pre-post-traumatic stress disorder. The Times Square bomber, we are assured by the Washington Post, CNN, and Newsweek, was upset by foreclosure proceedings on his house. Mortgage-related issues. Nothing to do with months of training at a Taliban camp in Waziristan.
Listening to Attorney General Holder, one is tempted to modify Trotsky: You may not be interested in Islam, but Islam is interested in you. Islam smells weakness at the heart of the West. The post–World War II order is dying: The European Union’s decision to toss a trillion dollars to prop up a Greek economic model that guarantees terminal insolvency is merely the latest manifestation of the chronic combination of fiscal profligacy and demographic decline in the West at twilight. Islam is already the biggest supplier of new Europeans and new Canadians, and the fastest-growing demographic in the Western world. Therefore, it thinks it not unreasonable to shape the character of those societies — not by blowing up buildings and airplanes, but by determining the nature of their relationship to Islam.
For example, the very same day that Eric Holder was doing his “Islam? What Islam?” routine at the Capitol, the Organization of the Islamic Conference was tightening its hold on the U.N. Human Rights Council — actually, make that the U.N. “Human Rights” Council. The OIC is the biggest voting bloc at the U.N., and it succeeded in getting its slate of candidates elected to the so-called “human rights” body — among them the Maldives, Qatar, Malaysia, Mauritania, and Libya. The last, elected to the HRC by 80 percent of the U.N. membership, is, of course, a famous paragon of human rights, but the other, “moderate” Muslim nations share the view that Islam, in both its theological and political components, should be beyond discussion. And they will support the U.N.’s rapid progress toward, in effect, the imposition of a global apostasy law that removes Islam from public discourse.
Attorney General Holder seems to be operating an advance pilot program of his own, but he’s not alone. Also last week, the head of Canada’s intelligence service testified to the House of Commons about hundreds of “second- or third-generation Canadians” who are “relatively well integrated” “economically and socially” but who have become so “very, very disenchanted” with “the way we want to structure our society” that they have developed “strong links to homelands” that are “in distress.” Homelands such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.
Hmm. If you’re wondering what those countries might have in common, keep wondering. No words beginning with “I-” and ending with “-slam” passed the director’s lips. If the head of the Crown’s intelligence service has narrowed his concerns about “disenchanted” “second- or third-generation Canadians” to any demographic group in particular, evidently it’s classified information and can’t be disclosed in public.
The U.N. elections are a big victory for the Organization of the Islamic Conference. By the way, to my liberal friends who say, “Hey, what’s the big deal about the Organization of the Islamic Conference? Lighten up, man”: Try rolling around your tongue the words “Organization of the Christian Conference.” Would you be quite so cool with that? Fifty-seven prime ministers and presidents who get together and vote as a bloc in international affairs? Or would that be a theocratic affront to secular sensibilities? The casual acceptance of the phrase “the Muslim world” (“Mr. Obama’s now-famous speech to the Muslim world” — the New York Times) implicitly defers to the political ambitions of Islam. And, if there is a “Muslim world,” what are its boundaries? Forty years ago, the OIC began with mainly Middle Eastern members plus Indonesia and a couple more. By the Nineties, former Soviet Central Asia had signed on, plus Albania, Mozambique, Guyana, and various others. In 2005, Russia was admitted to “observer” membership.
But along with the big headline victories go smaller ones. These days, Islam doesn’t even have to show up. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has quietly pulled representations of Mohammed from its Islamic collection. With the Danish cartoons, violent mobs actually had to kill large numbers of people before Kurt Westegaard was sent into involuntary “retirement.” Even with South Park, the thugs still had to threaten murder. But the Metropolitan Museum caved preemptively — no murders, no threats, but best to crawl into a fetal position anyway.
Last week, the American Association of Pediatricians noted that certain, ahem, “immigrant communities” were shipping their daughters overseas to undergo “female genital mutilation.” So, in a spirit of multicultural compromise, they decided to amend their previous opposition to the practice: They’re not (for the moment) advocating full-scale clitoridectomies, but they are suggesting federal and state laws be changed to permit them to give a “ritual nick” to young girls.
A few years back, I thought even fainthearted Western liberals might draw the line at “FGM.” After all, it’s a key pillar of institutional misogyny in Islam: Its entire purpose is to deny women sexual pleasure. True, many of us hapless Western men find we deny women sexual pleasure without even trying, but we don’t demand genital mutilation to guarantee it. On such slender distinctions does civilization rest.
Der Spiegel, an impeccably liberal magazine, summed up the remorseless Islamization of Europe in a recent headline: “How Much Allah Can the Old Continent Bear?” Well, what’s wrong with a little Allah-lite? The AAP thinks you can hop on the sharia express and only ride a couple of stops. In such ostensibly minor concessions, the “ritual nick” we’re performing is on ourselves. Further cuts will follow.
— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is author of America Alone. © 2010 Mark Steyn.