08 Feb 2006

The Cartoons and the Fate of Europe

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Fred Siegel at the New York Post understands the vulnerability of a modern Europe lacking all conviction, faced with Islam’s passionate intensity:

EUROPE’S future may hinge on the outcome of the Danish cartoon affair. It has long seemed almost inevitable that either Islam would be Europeanized or Europe would be Islamized. The European reaction to date suggests that the latter seems more likely…

Europe may have given up on imperialism, but the same can’t be said for the Islamic world. The 2003 report “Dialogue between Peoples and Cultures in the Euro-Mediterranean Area” bears a striking cover that sums up the Arab view of the relationship with Europe: It’s a medieval Arab map of an upside-down Europe at the feet of a commanding Arab North Africa.

The Arab world understands Europe’s weaknesses far better than the other way around. Muslim spokesmen usually describe criticism of Islamism as “racist” — as if religious ideology were a biological given.

They’ve also learned how to game Western liberalism. When criticized for denying the Holocaust, they defend themselves as exercising their free-speech rights. But they drop the free-speech bit when insisting that images offensive to Muslims be barred and argue instead on the grounds of multicultural sensitivity. (That argument gets strong backing from most of the European left, which, looking upon Muslims as the new proletariat, insists that Islamophobia, not Islamofascism, is the great issue of the day.)

None of this should be unfamiliar to Americans, who’ve seen the same game play out on U.S. college campuses. But what’s happening in Europe is campus political correctness enforced by violence and the threat of war.

Islamists insist that Europeans must desist from criticizing Islamism because that will only alienate the moderates — a game familiar to anyone who remembers the Black Power movement. In fact, one of the biggest losers in this game is moderate Muslims in Denmark — who are afraid of being squeezed between zealots on one side and a right-wing backlash on the other. They have urged Rasmussen not to give in. But if European governments can’t stand up to extremism, how can moderate Muslims?

Like the Czechs of the 1930s, the Danes of today have become a bellwether of Europe’s willingness to confront thuggery. Will Europe once again fail the test?

At least the lines have now been draw so clearly that only fools, knaves, cowards, Eurocrats and appeasers can deny the obvious.

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