Yesterday, on April 20th 2006, the Belgians carried a young scout to his grave after he was murdered by North African youths for not obeying them immediately when they told him to hand over his MP3 player. Desperately trying to prove that their boy was not a “racist” who must have “provoked” the murderers, the boy’s family gave pride of place to Muslim friends and symbols at the funeral service. Their immigrant neighbours were given permission to distribute homebaked bread in the church.
In the afternoon of the same day the Belgian parliament changed a longstanding rule concerning the wearing of headgear (hijabs) by visitors and members in the House. Since the establishment of the Belgian Parliament it has been the rule that members of the public who follow parliamentary proceedings from the visitors’ seats remove their hats and caps as a sign of respect for the House and the democratic principles it embodies. The rule has never been questioned, not in the early 20th century when working people habitually wore caps and politely removed them in church and when visiting Parliament; not in the 1950s and ’60s when women generally wore hats as a sign of deference in church, but removed them as a sign of deference when attending proceedings in Parliament; not throughout all the decades when priests and nuns were familiar figures in Belgium’s streets and the nuns wore veils and habits.
Yesterday, however, a majority in Parliament voted to change the rule so as to exempt Muslim women from the obligation to remove their headgear as a token of respect when attending sessions in Parliament. Thus a longstanding tradition was broken, and a new form of discrimination introduced. For the rule still requires that visitors dress appropriately. Seeing as the current Speaker, Herman De Croo, is approaching seventy this means in practice that Muslim visitors will not be requested to remove their religious headscarves, but Western teenagers wearing whatever headgear is fashionable in their peergroup most likely will. A few years ago the same De Croo had a Green MP forcibly removed from his seat for wearing a baseball cap.
The traditional rule was strictly unpartisan and secular. The current majority in the Belgian parliament is a predominantly anti-religious one that came to power in 1999 and has worked diligently from the outset to erase every remaining trace of Belgium’s Catholic heritage in its laws and its public places. As the legalisation of soft drugs, euthanasia, homosexual marriage and adoption of children by homosexual couples were forced through parliament in quick succession, crosses were removed from courtrooms and graveyard buildings, while priests were replaced by lay “spiritual guides” in hospitals and prisons. This majority clearly regards its current term in power as a celebration of the victory of “enlightenment” and atheism over the “backward” and “oppressive” Catholic tradition that helped shape Belgian society. Whence, then, their readiness to give up a secular tradition and allow the symbol of Muslim dominance in the West to entrench itself on the public benches of its core democratic institution?
Ironically, yesterday, also, the Senate voted to allow the adoption of children by homosexual couples, thus completing the parliamentary procedure to incorporate homosexual marriage into Belgian civil law on a par with traditional marriage. Consequently April 20th 2006 became a significant date in the three-way culture war: whilst the secularists complete their conquest over religious tradition through institutional change, a conquest which has taken them half a century to achieve, they are already surrendering to the Muslims in the latter’s conquest of the West through social dominance and with the collaboration of politically correct elites. Headscarves in Parliament, and Turkish loaves instead of the Eucharist at the funeral of a boy who was murdered by Muslims: these are powerful signs. As the “enlightened” triumph over the elimination of the last vestiges of Christianity, the religious vacuum in Belgian society has already been filled.