Wednesday, March 10, 2010

An Overdue Discussion . . . Part I

I have great admiration for Charles Krauthammer, and I give his reflections on Europe's cultural predicament much weight. He has said more or less the obvious about the apparent extreme position that Greet Wilders has taken with respect to the likely Islamicization of Europe. Writes Kauthammer:
What he says is extreme, radical, and wrong. He basically is arguing that Islam is the same as Islamism. Islamism is an ideology of a small minority which holds that the essence of Islam is jihad, conquest, forcing people into accepting a certain very narrow interpretation [of Islam].
Robert Spencer, whose expertise in the area of Islam cannot be questioned, has argued on the contrary not only that the relative size of "moderate" and "radical" Islam is not as comforting as some think it is, but that the distinction between the two is largely a Western distinction which has little relevance in the Islamic world, and that our attachment to the distinction has obscured the true scope and meaning of the rising tide of Islamic supremacy.

Evidence of this can be found even in -- of all places -- the New York Times. See the story headlined: U.S. Sees a Terror Threat; Pakistanis See a Heroine.

Be that as it may, ideas have consequences. For a generation the patently absurd myopia of multiculturalism provided the moral cover for cultural irresponsibility and adolescent moral posturing on both sides of the Atlantic and elsewhere. The result in some places in Europe (and a few in our society) has been a crisis of governance that has now reached a point at which correctives that might have sufficed to rectify the situation several years ago are far less likely to avoid the violence that every responsible person seeks to avoid.

A mere five years ago, Wilders' "extreme" proposal would have been -- and was -- widely regarded as borderline lunacy. Five years on, and in light of rapid developments in many parts of Europe, it begins to look less extreme to many. Five years from now, those troubled by what Wilders has to say today may find his message convincing, if not prophetic. This trajectory of opinion itself has serious consequences for Europe as it begins to look for alternatives to the civil war which will almost surely break out if things are allowed to drift rudderlessly as they have in the last few years.

I find some of Wilders' proposals as troubling as the next person, but one needn't agree with his proposals to agree with his assessment of the historical and cultural situation. It is that assessment which warrants, in my view, our attention to the video below.

Here's Part I:

Harsh words these, but words Wilders has paid a high price for daring to speak. Whether one agrees with his proposals for dealing with the crisis of Europe, it is hard to question his courage and his sense of historical and cultural responsibility. Wilders has located the heart of the crisis. It is not simply Islamic immigration; it is European flecklessness; Europe's failure to believe enough in its own culture to ask newcomers wanting to enjoy its fruits to assimilate to its traditions and laws.

My friends will surely have a lot to say on this, and I welcome the conversation; it's long overdue.

Wilders Part II to be posted shortly.


ignatius said...


In a way he's right, but what are we to do? My wife and I work beside Moslems daily, and they're good people who contribute their share to society. They seem to be tolerant. The worst I can say about some of them is that they're in a state of denial (e.g. 9/11 was done by Bush's people, not Muslims).

Most Austrian Muslims are Turkish or Bosnian. Although I believe the proportion of Muslims in Austria is not so different from the Netherlands (about 5%), we do not have the problems of the Netherlands, because Austrian Muslims have not been radicalized, at least not yet.

Thus it's hard to give a warning cry here.

Geert Wilders' work might be necessary, but the big task for us Christians is to tell Muslims about our faith and invite them into it. This work is being done in Austria, albeit quietly. If we concentrate on saving people's souls, both Muslims' and secularists', then perhaps Europe itself will be saved.

Gordon said...


That last paragraph gets to the problem. In those parts of Europe that are playing with the idea of partial sovereignty of Sharia in Muslim communities what will happen to a Muslim found with a Bible or going to church? There won't be much evangelization going on if the authorities look the other way when Muslims are beaten, even made to "disappear," for even showing interest in Christianity.