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Europeans appear to be submitting to Islam

September 12, 2007


European elites appear to be giving in to Islam


The Rev. Tiny Muskens, a Roman Catholic bishop in the Netherlands, has a novel idea. His Excellency recently proposed that, in the name of religious toleration and understanding, Christians refer to their God as "Allah." Perhaps the good bishop believes that if Christians use the name Allah, then Muslims will be more kindly disposed toward them. Perhaps he even believes that Muslim extremists will be less likely to butcher them, as they did filmmaker Theo van Gogh.

You'll recall that in 2004 a man named Mohammed Bouyeri attacked van Gogh. Bouyeri shot van Gogh eight times, slashed his throat and, for good measure, stabbed two knives deep into his chest. Presumably, Muskens would like to avoid such unpleasantness. He seems to believe that the best way to do so involves Europeans' accommodating themselves ever more to the Muslim minority living in their midst. While his recommendation is certainly novel, it perfectly represents the mindset of certain European elites.

Take just the last few months. In December, Sir Ian Blair, Scotland Yard's commissioner of police, attended a graduation ceremony for police recruits in London. One of the recruits was a Muslim woman. Shortly before the ceremony, the new recruit stated that when Blair came by to congratulate the class, she would neither shake his hand nor appear in photographs with him. The recruit claimed it was against her religion to shake hands with a man. And as for being pictured with her commanding officer, she did not want such a photo to be used for "propaganda purposes." Blair, her boss, complied.

After the car-bomb incidents in London and Scotland this summer, new Prime Minister Gordon Brown forbade his ministers from using the word "Muslim" in connection with the attacks, carried out by Muslim terrorists. The reason, the minister's spokesman explained, was that "there is clearly a need to strike a consensual tone in relation to all communities." On Oct. 8, 2002, the French prime minister at the time, a Catholic named Jean-Pierre Raffarin, gave a speech to the French National Assembly. In the course of his remarks, he mentioned the Islamic hero Saladin, explaining that Saladin was able "to defeat the Crusaders and liberate Jerusalem."

As Bernard Lewis would later note, "When a French prime minister describes Saladin's capture of Jerusalem from the largely French Crusaders as an act of liberation, this would seem to indicate a rather extreme case of realignment of loyalties." There is a term for this sort of thing in Muslim tradition: the concept of dhimmitude. In antiquity, Islamic states provided some protections to conquered nonbelievers, whom they called dhimmis. The dhimmi were allowed a fair degree of autonomy and given some certain protections of life and property, provided that they pay a special tax and acknowledge Muslim supremacy. Throughout Muslim lands, these laws began to fall away by the late 18th century. But now, a perverse form of dhimmitude is spreading throughout Europe: The leaders of the liberal, non-Muslim majority are searching for ways to subjugate themselves to the Muslim minority. It would seem to represent a rather extreme case of a failure of leadership.

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