“Europe’s Muslims hate the West” is not a title from Jihad Watch or Gates of Vienna, but left-leaning website Politico. It could make one wonder if Trumpian immigration policy will one day be the norm.
The writer, Dutch novelist Leon de Winter, sets out to tackle a certain politically correct assumption. As he writes, “The first reaction to the Brussels massacres among postmodern European intellectuals was predictable: What did we, Europeans, do to them, our Muslims?” His answer?
The conventional narrative on Muslim terrorism is now familiar and multi-faceted. For example, State Department spokesman Marie Harf floated the notion last year that providing “jobs” was a solution to combating jihadism. Yet de Winter points out that “the unemployment figure in Brussels’ infamous Molenbeek neighborhood — now referred to as the jihadi hothouse of Europe —” of 30 percent is “not unusual in southern European countries or the Arab world.” He not only points out that blue-collar Belgian youth and Muslim youth are identical socioeconomically, but also writes “In Spain, youth unemployment has reached 50 percent and the welfare state is less developed than in Belgium, yet Spanish citizens aren’t blowing themselves up in metro stations.”
In reality, there’s simply no correlation between poverty and terrorism. The economic conditions of hundreds of millions of South Americans and non-Muslim Africans and Asians are far worse than those of Europe’s Muslims, yet terrorism simply isn’t noticeably present in their populations. In fact, Europe’s Muslims enjoy the fruits of Western living: ample food, medical care, available schools, and opportunities for success unimaginable in their native lands. There is also this simple statistic: Only one in six jihadists in Belgium comes from a poor home.
Then there’s the notion that Muslims’ rage is explainable by way of Belgian “xenophobia.” De Winter calls this “ridiculous” and asks, “Why would Muslims choose to stay in societies that showed such deep disrespect for their migrant population? [In fact, they flock to these societies.] Because they realize that an unemployed citizen in a European welfare state run by infidels has a better material life than an employed citizen in pious Morocco?”
Of course, money is a great motivator, but it doesn’t change hearts. De Winter examines this, mentioning that many Muslim migrants bring with them “the mental and cultural conditions that have kept their home country in its ‘developing country’ status.” Citing Professor Ruud Koopmans of the Berlin Social Science Center, who published a study on “Fundamentalism and out-group hostility,” de Winter presented the following facts (all quotations are Koopmans’):
• Sixty percent of European Muslims “agree that Muslims should return to the roots of Islam, [sic] 75 percent think there is only one interpretation of the Quran possible to which every Muslim should stick.”
• Forty-five percent believe “Jews cannot be trusted.”
• Many Muslims exhibit what Koopmans calls “Occidentophobia,” “with 54 percent believing that the West is out to destroy Islam.”
(Why the West would then invite Muslims into its midst is left unexplained.)
Yet Western misunderstandings are as relevant here as Muslim ones. For example, Koopmans states that 65 percent of Muslims “say that religious rules are more important to them than the laws of the country in which they live,” with the implication being that this is misguided. But consider: If you believe divine law actually exists, would you subordinate it to man’s? Would you put government’s laws ahead of God’s laws? Marxist states demand that kind of submission.
In other words, we can logically take issue with a group’s conception of God’s law, but not its unquestioned respect for it when viewing matters within the context of faith. The difference is that since Western governments were created by Christian societies, their laws generally didn’t conflict with Christianity (at least until recently) — but their laws do very much conflict with Islam.
Then, de Winter faults many Muslims for displaying “excessive religiosity”; as with the above matter, however, this makes sense only from a relativistic perspective that views religion as some bizarre form of recreation. For as with ideology — which could mean Nazism, libertarianism, or something else — religion is a category, not a creed. Are all “religions” qualitatively equal? Research certainly doesn’t say so: One German study involving 45,000 youths found that while “excessive religiosity” among Christian youths made them less violent, “excessive religiosity” among Muslim youths actually made them more violent.
But that none of this should be surprising brings us to other Western mistakes, to a sort of ideological chauvinism and gross contradiction and an obliviousness to both. On the one hand, Western moderns preach multiculturalism, that it’s bigoted to view others’ norms as inferior and oppressive to impose your “values” on them. On the other hand, they just assume that foreigners invited into their midst will embrace their secular values of women’s rights, tolerance, pluralism, separation of church and state, a “broad” view of sexual propriety, etc. These moderns want multiculturalism with a monoculturalist chaser. They are the people who G.K. Chesterton said have dogmas — as do all people — but don’t know it. As with everyone else, they have a world view. And they’re tolerant of everything, everything considered tolerable under their world view. Thus do they allow, and even celebrate, others’ values — as long as they fall within their world view’s parameters.
And in this they’re no different from a devout Christian, orthodox Jew, or even Muslim jihadist. Everyone draws lines. Everyone tolerates what falls within them. It’s just a matter if where those lines are drawn.
So Western moderns merely play at multiculturalism, much like little children who can enjoy playing house, without assuming the burdens of the real thing (e.g., a mortgage, raising kids), and then move on to playing soldier. It’s easy being idealistic when you live with your ideals only part-time.
This brings us to the assimilation assumption. Western moderns, why would you assume that Muslims will live up to your values when you don’t live up to them yourself, as evidenced by the above contradictions? Why? Because they’re so “evidently true”? This careless assumption is that aforementioned cultural chauvinism. And even if one’s beliefs are true, so what? Far from being a guarantee of acceptance, beliefs’ true status only guarantees they’ll be rejected by those without “ears to hear and eyes to see.” For there is the allure of sin, the fact that “truth hurts,” and bent twigs that grew into twisted trees.
Moreover, assimilation is often never complete. One drop of yellow in a quart of blue paint makes no noticeable difference; add a pint and it isn’t blue anymore. Likewise, did the large numbers of Italians, Germans, and Irish who immigrated to our country not change it? This change might have been good, bad, or neutral, but one thing it was not was non-existent.
Then there was the Indian-descent fellow who wrote me years ago and, somewhat contemptuously, asked what there was to assimilate into. It would have been easy to take umbrage, but he had a point: A prerequisite for assimilation is providing a “marketable product.” Communist activist Willi Munzenberg is said to have once stated “We will make the West so corrupt that it stinks,” and it is a fait accompli. What are we to say to newcomers? “Here’s reality television, profane and sex-infused entertainment, ‘gender’ as a choice, mostly naked ‘gay pride’ marchers, and a culture not even proud enough to demand assimilation — be like us”?
Moreover, there’s ample precedent of groups remaining a people apart, from Amish to Hasidic Jews to Anabaptists and beyond. Even more interestingly, leftists treat conservatives — whom they call knuckle-draggers and mouth-breathers — as the “other.” And if liberals take it as a given that some of their own countrymen may never embrace their secular-progressive culture, why would they assume that Muslims surely will?