The Western Intelligentsia and the Islamist Threat
Turning a blind eye to the dangers within.
Currently, the West is being confronted with foreboding challenges by Islamic States and Islamist groups of one kind or another, all of which view Western democracy and the Western way of life with abhorrence. Perversely, no matter how provocative and despicable the behavior and pronouncements of such entities, the general response of the prevailing Western intelligentsia and some of their governments ranges from sheer indifference and/or disbelief to a search for offenses committed by their own countries in “provoking” an anti-Western animus and, finally, to the actual proffering of assistance to the Jihadists.
While the majority of individual Muslims in the West are decent, law-abiding citizens, the nature of their communal structures and leadership gives rise to concerns that are briskly swept under the carpet. Many, if not most, mosques are officiated by imams trained abroad in madrasas that inculcate a belligerent attitude to Western values and lifestyles, which, in turn, gives rise to Islamic extremism. To the Muslim communities’ credit, Islamist groups have usually been small in size, drawing on only a limited number of active adherents. The Islamists do, however, pose serious security threats and are potentially capable of inflicting appreciable harm.
What compounds the problem is the fact that too few Muslim community leaders are genuinely utterly and unequivocally appalled by any manifestation of Islamic terrorism, no matter who the slain and injured happen to be. In the wake of the slaying on October 2, 2015, of a NSW police department employee by a young Muslim gunman, the Grand Mufti of Australia rationalized the incident as being due to “racism, Islamophobia, curtailing freedoms through securitization, duplicitous foreign policies and military intervention.” Needless to say, the Grand Mufti made no reference to any features within his own Muslim community that could possible engender terrorism.
Such an analysis chimes in with the prevailing views of left-inclined intellectuals who assume that, in the West, Muslims are invariably victims of racism and Islamophobia. What deeply troubles the intellectual elite is that even the slightest disapprobation of any feature of Muslim society is taken as a breach of the spirit of multiculturalism, calling into question the notion that all cultures and societies are equally valid and are entitled to respect. Of all communities, the intellectual elite are particularly protective of and sensitive to the needs of the Muslim one, which they perceive to be especially exposed to wanton discrimination and harassment. One might add, that in virtually all advanced countries, the Muslim community is a strong supporter of left-wing parties and is ardently wooed by them.
The intellectuals’ fantasy of practically all Muslims in the West being hounded by hostile bigots is one that is widely shared but not well substantiated. In the United States the FBI disclosed that of the 1,149 anti-religious hate crimes committed in 2014, only 16.1% were directed against Muslims. By contrast, 56.8% of such offenses were inflicted on Jews without causing any disquiet whatsoever in left-wing or liberal circles. In France all religious-based murders of Jews have been carried out by Muslims and in the wider Western community members of the general public have lost their lives in indiscriminate Islamist outrages perpetrated in New York, San Bernardino, London, Madrid, Paris, Brussels Orlando and Nice. If truth be told, within the West, it is mainly non-Muslims rather than Muslims, who have been encountering loss of life and limb as a result of hate crimes instigated by Islamist fanatics. However, whenever an act of Islamic terrorism occurs, Western political leaders regularly deny that such deeds are in anyway linked to Islam.
If the Western elite are reluctant to concede that murderous actions have and are being undertaken by terrorists deriving direct inspiration from the Koran, it should come as no surprise that they also tend to turn a blind eye to other unsavory modes of behavior practiced in Muslim circles. Take the case of female genital mutilation that, according to the World Health Organization, has been inflicted on “more than 200 million girls and women alive today,” including Muslim women living in Western countries. In the UK, for instance, hospitals treat at least fifteen cases per day. Although female genital mutilation has been illegal in the UK since 1984, there has yet to be a single conviction. One would have thought that the feminist movement would have risen in protest against such practices, but with few notable exceptions, such as the organization Womankind Worldwide, Western feminists have generally manifested complete indifference. As far as an icon of the feminist movement, Germaine Greer, is concerned, attempts to outlaw the practice amount to “an attack on cultural identity.”
Likewise, there is a general lack of concern and even cover up of the plight of women molested in the West by Muslim men. The situation is currently most acute in Germany and Sweden where the police, government and media make every effort to suppress reports of such incidents. Typically, the victim is blamed for either walking alone at night or wearing what in Muslim eyes are provocative clothes. Jacob Augstein, a columnist for the German magazine Der Speigel, would have it that migrants who assault German women and children are simply rebelling against German power structures for they are inferior to their victims in “language, nationality, education, social status, wealth, legal certainty and self-confidence.” Germans who dare to criticize such assaults are racists.
Sadly, not only adult women have been targeted, but so too have girls, some as young as nine. It has recently been disclosed that, over a period of sixteen years, in the UK city of Rotherham, more than 1,400 girls had been routinely sexually assaulted by Muslim gangs. But in fear of being “labelled as racist,” both the police and the Rotherham City Councilors turned a blind eye to the transgressions. What all this boils down to is that normally decent people guided by the tenets of multiculturalism vigorously upheld by the tyranny of political correctness, would far sooner jeopardize any care and protection of vulnerable female children than be seen by “decent society” to be casting aspersions on any segment, good or bad, of the Muslim community.
As deplorable as is the process of turning a blind eye to or tolerating Islamic behavior at variance with Western values, nothing is more egregious than Western radicals actually allying themselves or showing sympathy with Islamic Jihadists. On September 21, 2001, in Britain, a country depicted by the Economist as being “the heartland of the leftist-Muslim partnership,” a formal alliance was formed between extreme leftists of various hues with the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) linked to the international Muslim Brotherhood. (The MAB’s spokesman, Azzam Tamimi, had expressed to the BBC his personal willingness to become a suicide bomber.) What makes for such an improbable association between ardent atheists and religious fanatics is their common detestation of open Western democracies, of capitalism, of Jews and of America and Israel in particular. Rather than rallying the West to overcome Islamic terror, the Western intelligentsia would have their countries tamely accept a growing swell of Muslim migrants from whose ranks Islamists could draw upon. On January 30, 2016, a Green Party stalwart, Dr. Stefanie von Berg, in addressing the Hamburg City Council, declared: “Our city will change radically. I hold that in 20, 30 years there will no longer be a German majority in our city … And I want to make it very clear, especially to those right wingers. This is a good thing.” If such a supine acceptance of the undermining of indigenous Western populations continues, Western civilization will be overthrown not but superior military might but by a lack of will on the part of the West to withstand threats to its existence.
1. The Australian, November 17, 2015.
2. Judith Bergman, Gatestone Institute, January 5, 2016.
3. World Health Organisation, Fact Sheet, February 2016, appearing on http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/
4. Soeren Kern 2015 op cit.
5. As quoted by the BBC News November 25, 1999.
6. As quoted by Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, March 5, 2016.
7. Martin Evens, “Rotherham council ignored child abuse by Asian gangs because of ‘misplaced political correctness’, report concludes.”
8. “Muslims and Socialists: With Friends Like These.” The Economist, February 8, 2007.
9. Ghaffar Hussain, “An unlikely Alliance,” The Guardian, September 30, 2008
10. “Muslims and Socialists: With Friends Like These.” The Economist, February 8, 2007.
Prior to his retirement, the author had been an associate professor of economics at Sydney’s Macquarie University. He is the author of “Israel Since the Six Day War: Tears of Joy, Tears of Sorrow.”