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For many complex reasons, Europe is in an advanced state of decline.
In recent years, several important studies of this condition have appeared, advancing a variety of reasons for it: Douglas Murray's The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam, James Kirchik's The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age, as well as Christopher Caldwell's ground-breaking 2010 study, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West. Soeren Kern at Gatestone Institute has also been detailing the steady impact of immigration from Muslim regions on countries such as Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
It is clear that something serious is happening on the continent in which I live.
The threat is not restricted to Europe, but has a global dimension. Michael J. Abramowitz, President of Freedom House, writes in his introduction to the organization's 2018 report:
A quarter-century ago, at the end of the Cold War, it appeared that totalitarianism had at last been vanquished and liberal democracy had won the great ideological battle of the 20th century.
Today, it is democracy that finds itself battered and weakened. For the 12th consecutive year, according to Freedom in the World, countries that suffered democratic setbacks outnumbered those that registered gains. States that a decade ago seemed like promising success stories--Turkey and Hungary, for example--are sliding into authoritarian rule.
For Douglas Murray, immigration and the problems it is throwing up are the key topic. He is uncompromising in his negative response to the social change that has been brought about by the excessive and barely controlled immigration of people who, for the most part, do not share the most basic values of the countries in which they now live.
Certainly, Europe's current state of decline owes much to the widely recognized fact that Muslims are the first newcomers to Europe who, over several generations, are resistant to integrating into the societies of which they now form a part.
This rejection of Europe's humanitarian, Judeo-Christian values applies, not just to the successive waves of refugees and economic migrants who have washed up on the shores of Greece, Italy and Spain since the start of the Syrian civil war, but to generations of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in the UK, North Africans in France, and Turkish "guest workers" in Germany.
A former Muslim extremist, Ed Husain, writes in his book, The Islamist: Why I Joined Radical Islam in Britain, what I Saw Inside and why I Left:
The result of 25 years of multiculturalism has not been multicultural communities. It has been mono-cultural communities.... Islamic communities are segregated. Many Muslims want to live apart from mainstream British society; official government policy has helped them do so. I grew up without any white friends. My school was almost entirely Muslim.
I had almost no direct experience of 'British life' or 'British institutions'. So it was easy for the extremists to say to me: 'You see? You're not part of British society. You never will be. You can only be part of an Islamic society.' The first part of what they said was true. I wasn't part of British society: nothing in my life overlapped with it.
In July 2015, arguing for an anti-extremism bill in parliament, Britain's prime minister at the time, David Cameron, admitted:
"For all our successes as a multi-racial, multi-faith democracy, we have to confront a tragic truth that there are people born and raised in this country who don't really identify with Britain - and who feel little or no attachment to other people here. Indeed, there is a danger in some of our communities that you can go your whole life and have little to do with people from other faiths and backgrounds."
Countless polls and investigations reveal that refusal to integrate is no figment of the supposedly "Islamophobic" political "right". A 2006 poll carried out by ICM Research on behalf of the Sunday Telegraph, for example, presented worrying findings: 40% of British Muslims polled said they backed introducing shari'a law in parts of Britain, and only 41% opposed it, leaving another 20% unclear.
Sadiq Khan, the Labour MP involved with the official task force set up after the July 2005 attacks, said the findings were "alarming". Since then, similar findings have shown that the younger generation of Muslims is more conservative, even radical, than their parents or grandparents:
Commenting on a major 2016 ICM poll of Muslim opinion, Trevor Phillips, who had been Britain's foremost advocate of multiculturalism, said that, with respect to the Muslim community, he had made a 180° turn:
"for a long time, I too thought that Europe's Muslims would become like previous waves of migrants, gradually abandoning their ancestral ways, wearing their religious and cultural baggage lightly, and gradually blending into Britain's diverse identity landscape. I should have known better."
Another major 2016 review on social equality carried out on behalf of the British government by Dame Louise Casey, found Muslims the least well integrated community. In summarizing her work for the National Secular Society, Benjamin Jones wrote:
"Despite decades of failures, it is worth noting that problems integrating Muslim minorities are hardly rare around the world, and this is not a problem unique to the United Kingdom. That brings us to the final unsayable thing - well known to most British people but unmentionable to officials and politicians: Islam is a special case."
Polls carried out in other countries across Europe showed similar or worse results.
Those are only one half of a more complicated and disturbing picture. While Muslims find it hard to abandon the prejudices, doctrines, and outright hatreds (for Jews, for example) that they have imported from their home countries -- or developed as young men and women while living in European states where they were born and raised -- vast numbers of non-Muslims, including politicians, church leaders, civil servants, policemen and women, and many well-meaning people bend over backwards to accommodate them and the demands they make on their host societies.
It would take a book to summarize all the episodes in which Western officialdom, notably in Europe, has abandoned its own historical values in order to protect Islam and radical Muslims from criticism and rebuke.
We are not speaking of the proper interventions of the police, courts, and social agencies to safeguard ordinary Muslims from physical attacks, vituperative insults, assaults on mosques, or basic denials of the rights they are entitled to enjoy as citizens of Western countries - much as we expect them to protect Jews, ethnic minorities, or vulnerable women from similar expressions of physical and verbal bigotry.
Providing such support for the victims of prejudice should be applauded as an essential expression of post-Enlightenment liberal democratic values. Legislating and acting against outright discrimination is, perhaps, best exemplified in the way post-World War II German governments have criminalized anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.
Ironically, what anti-Semitism there is today in Germany comes increasingly from Muslims.
According to Manfred Gerstenfeld:
Jens Spahn, a board member of Chancellor Merkel's Christian Democrat Union (CDU), and a possible successor to Merkel, remarked that the immigration from Muslim countries is the reason for the recent demonstrations [about immigrants] in Germany.
Stephan Harbarth, deputy chairman of the CDU/ CSU faction in the Bundestag -- the German parliament -- said, "We have to strongly confront the antisemitism of migrants with an Arab background and those from African countries."
The CDU interior minister of the federal state of Hessen, Peter Beuth, remarked, "We have to avoid an immigration of antisemitism." He said this after a study on behalf of the state's security service concluded that antisemitism among Muslims "both quantitatively and qualitatively has at least as high relevance as the traditional antisemitism of the extreme right."
Despite this moral response, European countries, including Germany, have shown genuine weakness when face-to-face with radical Islamic ideology, hate preachers, and basic Muslim values regarding women, non-Muslims, LGBT people, and obedience to Western laws.
Before looking at some of the reasons, motivations, and outcomes of this deeply pervasive weakness, here are a handful of examples of pusillanimity from the UK alone.
Last October, it was reported that Queen's Counsel Max Hill, who acts as the British government's independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, argued that British fighters for Islamic State, who had returned or planned to return to the UK, should not be prosecuted but reintegrated into society on the grounds that they had acted "naively". This lenience extended to hate preachers who had given sermons and lectures exhorting Muslims to take direct action that has in the past led to actual terrorist attacks.
Before that, Prime Minister David Cameron and then Home Secretary Theresa May had "proposed measures including banning orders, extremism disruption orders and closure orders, which would allow premises used by extremists to be shut, and make it easier to restrict the activities of individuals and organisations."
In 2015, May had proposed a counter-extremism strategy which said laws would be introduced to "ban extremist organisations that promote hatred and draw people into extremism" and "restrict the harmful activities of the most dangerous extremist individuals".
Mrs May also vowed to use the law to "restrict access to premises which are repeatedly used to support extremism". Yet Max Hill QC, the man in charge of British terrorist legislation wants none of that. And May's counter-terrorism measures, proposed again since she became Prime Minister, remain unlegislated.
The same month (October 2017) that Hill undertook the rehabilitation of jihadists and hate preachers, it was reported that the British Home Office (formerly run by Theresa May, now by Amber Rudd MP) was "looking at a new strategy to reintegrate extremists that could even see them propelled to the top of council house waiting lists if needed".
Extremists who had nowhere suitable to live could be put in social housing by the local council and could have their rent paid if necessary, according to reports.
They could also be given priority on waiting lists and helped into education and training or found a job with public bodies or charities.
This proposal would include returnees from the Islamic State in Syria, and overall would include some 20,000 individuals known to the security services. Around 850 British subjects have gone to Syria to fight or support fighters, and 350 of them have come back home, with only a tiny handful so far prosecuted.
This approach, giving social services, is based on the belief -- oft-refuted -- that Muslim extremists (both Muslims-by-birth and converts) have suffered from deprivation.
It also greatly rests on the naïve assumption that rewarding them with benefits -- for which genuinely deprived citizens generally need to wait in line -- will turn them into grateful patriots, prepared to stand for the national anthem and hold hands with Christians and Jews.
We now therefore use double standards: one for Muslims and one for the rest of our population. On January 16, 2018, in England, Daniel Grundy, was jailed for six months on a charge of bigamy. However, Muslim men in polygamous marriages are rewarded by the state:
Husbands living in a "harem" with multiple wives have been cleared to claim state benefits for all their different partners.
A Muslim man with four spouses - which is permitted under Islamic law - could receive £10,000 a year in income support alone.
He could also be entitled to more generous housing and council tax benefit, to reflect the fact his household needs a bigger property.
Ministers have decided that, even though bigamy is a crime in Britain, polygamous marriages can be recognised formally by the state - provided they took place overseas, in countries where they are legal.
Actually, British Muslim men do not even have to go abroad to find wives. At least one Muslim dating site run from the UK offers contact with Muslim women who are eager to enter into polygamous marriages. It has not been closed down. The British government has shown itself incapable of enforcing its own laws when it comes to its Muslim citizens or new immigrants.
In a similar vein are official attitudes to a common Muslim practice of female genital mutilation, which has been illegal in the UK since 1985. Politico reported last year:
"Medical staff working in England's National Health Service recorded close to 5,500 cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) in 2016, but no one has been successfully prosecuted since the practice was banned over 30 years ago."
Meanwhile, the practice is rising. The police and the Crown Prosecution Service are too frightened of seeming racist or "Islamophobic" to apply the law.
Max Hill's notion that departing fighters have been naïve is itself a staggering misconception on the part of a man educated at Newcastle's prestigious Royal Grammar School and Oxford University. No one heading for Syria will have been blithely unaware of the multitude of videos broadcast by the mainstream media and all the social media, showing the beheading of hostages, the executions of homosexuals, the lashing of women, the heads spiked on fences, the use of children to shoot victims or cut their throats, and all the other excesses committed by the terrorist group.
Rather than stand up to our enemies, both external and internal, are we now so afraid of being called "Islamophobes" that we will sacrifice even our own cultural, political, and religious strengths and aspirations?