It's a good piece overall and I agree with a lot of it. However, I do have a couple of comments I'd like to share with any readers out there.
Europe is shuffling into darkness. It is proving incapable of standing up to its enemies, and in an effort to accommodate the peripheral rights of a minority is failing to protect the most basic rights of its own people.On the face of it this seems true enough. The leadership around Europe (and more particularly within the EU) seem to be utterly helpless and ... well, impotent, to not put too fine a point on it. But in the streets patience is wearing ever thinner. Among my colleagues (all college and university educated) it is no longer frowned upon to be critical of both Islam and Multiculturalism. This doesn't seem like a big deal, but trust me, it is a sea change from only 5 years ago (just prior to 9/11).
The political establishment (who in the Netherlands for all intents and purposes can be defined as somewhere between very progressive and less progressive. Or very left and less so) still hasn't seemed to have caught on.
Well, maybe the true Left have, because the Big Three (Labour, Green Left and the Socialist Party) are openly pandering to the immigrants for votes. The counterweight, such as it is, is still too preoccupied with 'keeping the lot together', with or without a cup of tea.
Having said that, Holland does not have the problems with 'radical' Islam others around Europe had. Sure enough we've had some high profile incidents. And they should be paid attention to. But I think the reaction in the Netherlands to for instance the van Gogh murder did send a strong message to anyone with an inclination towards Jihad in Holland.
During the Denmark cartoon brouhaha we had two small demonstrations against the cartoons and Denmark. Pretty mild stuff, although the one in Amsterdam did see some 30 Moroccan hooligans making a nuisance of themselves. But nothing as nauseating as the first London demo, where muslims happily carried placards reading 'behead those that insult Islam' and other equally cheery messages.
Abu Jahjah of the Arab-European League did try to stir up some controversy by publishing some truely offensive anti-semitic cartoons (that I won't favor with a link). But the only real furore he created was around the blogosphere outside if Holland. For the rest he was ignored, making his 'cunning plan' (in the Blackadder sense of the word) a devastating failure. He really didn't not do himself or his movement any favors that time *snigger*.
What I'm trying to say is this: I don't think Holland makes such a good template for emulation, since the big incidents involving blatant dhimmitude have largely passed us by (for now, anyway). Foreign minister Ben Bot chided Solana for his spineless co-signing of the UN-OIC statement. Fraction leader van Aartsen of the Liberal Conservatives (VVD) took the government to task for what he thought was a lacklustre condamnation of those that instigated the Denmark Cartoon brouhaha and subsequent boycott. Both these events have met with little resistance, either from the really Left or from muslim leaders in the Netherlands. I don't know that elsewhere in Europe that happy state of affairs also exists.
I don't know what trouble is brewing right under the surface, but for now I don't think it is as bleak here as it is in France, to name just an example.
The governments of Europe have been tricked into believing that criticism of a belief is the same thing as criticism of a race. And so it is becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous to criticise a growing and powerful ideology within our midst. It may soon, in addition, be made illegal.And that is a real problem. Also here occasionally you hear noises from the really Left about 'combatting Islamophobia'. Bothersome, but as of yet not really serious. But the real problem is the EU. May 17 2005 the Warsaw Summit Declaration came out. Article 9 of that declaration reads:
9. We strongly condemn all forms of intolerance and discrimination, in particular those based on sex, race and religion, including antisemitism and islamophobia. We affirm our determination to further develop, within the Council of Europe, rules and effective machinery to prevent and eradicate them. We will also further implement equal opportunity policies in our member states and we will step up our efforts to achieve real equality between women and men in all spheres of our societies. We are committed to eradicating violence against women and children, including domestic violence.Ali Sina (the indefatigable) characterized is as an act of total insanity and I tend to agree with that assessment. With one fell swoop the EU has rendered itself unarmed and defenseless against the more strident and committed elements within Islam. Not only that, the EU considers itself competent to dictate penal law to member states and thus might force governemts to adopt criminal law punishing acts of 'Islamophobia'.
Not only that, but is strikes me as the irony of the century that both anti-semitism and the religion that indulges in the most vicious, virulent forms of it on an almost daily basis worldwide are protected by the same article. It's like saying you are opposed to totalitarianism and the vilification of Hitler or Stalin. It doesn't make sense.
By rights the people responsible for the wording of that article should be shot for treason. Or gross incompetence. Or both.
But as EU Referendum has remarked a few times now: the EU seems to have jumped the shark. During the whole Denmark Cartoon brouhaha the EU council acted very decisively... on VAT for hairdresser. But where and when it really mattered the EU pretended not to be home. Well, Solana was sent for a bit of groveling in the Mid-East. But for the rest the EU council, Barroso in the lead, cowered in a dark safe corner somewhere in a Brussels office block until the storm subsided. It was not until the worst was over Barroso came out with his best little Napoleon impression to defend Denmark and the Freedom to criticize.
Too little, too late. And people noticed. Talking with colleagues and friends about the EU what strikes me is the jaded attitude. They accept the EU as part of reality, but more often then not that is followed by some dismissive remark about the EU interfering with everything, including where and how to dispose of catlitter but refusing to deal with the big stuff. It seems the EU is going the way of the UN: usefull in some very limited fields, but not to betrusted (anymore) with big issues.
I don't think the EU will cease to exist or be disbanded. But the role it had reserved for itself seems to be all but played out. So, with regard to the dawning of the new Dark Ages, I think Murray's thoughts are too pessimistic. The way in which the problems at hand are dealt with will, I think, be decided by individual member states. And it would surprise me very much, in the current climate, if any of them actually accept legislation to outlaw 'Islamophobia'.
(h/t USS Neverdock and Jihad Watch)