Last week The Brussels Journal brought two stories illustrating how extremist Muslims, a.k.a. Islamists, try to impose their “values” on Europe. We reported how Islamists in Britain have been allowed to introduce “Shari’a swimming” in public swimming baths, whilst in Norwegian kindergartens pigs are banned from fairy tales because the poor, innocent creatures are “unclean” in the eyes of Islamists.
In a comment one of our readers remarked that the extremists want to impose rules on Europe which do not even exist in most Muslim countries. Our reader points out, correctly, that books and videos featuring pigs are widely available in the Middle East. Islamists want Winnie the Pooh banned in Europe because of Piglet. Disney, however, broadcasts Winnie the Pooh in Arabic in the Middle East. Why should we abolish what moderate Muslims allow? Muslim friends whom I visited in Turkey last May told me that they do not understand why nations in the West give in to the insane demands of Islamists while Turkey and other Muslim countries do not.
As we have argued before Western appeasement reinforces Muslim extremists. Those Western authorities who give in to the latter’s every whim (such as prisons and social housing with toilets that are turned away 90 degrees from Mecca) are not serving Islam. On the contrary they are doing a disservice to moderate Muslims who want to integrate in our society.
In some Western countries the authorities seem to be grovelling at the feet of the Islamists. One of these countries, sadly, is Tony Blair’s Britain. Theodore Dalrymple fears that this appeasement mentality (which Dalrymple, a psychiatrist, calls a “social pathology”) is probably worse in Britain than in continental Western Europe. Hence one may ask what is the point of sending young Brits to fight and die for freedom in Iraq, while at the same time abandoning moderate Muslims in Britain itself to “a micro-totalitarian climate” where the Islamists hold sway?
In many Western countries the Islamists do not even need to resort to violence in order to get whatever preposterous requests they make. To achieve their goal (i.e. to live in the West under Shari’a law) lawful Islamism suffices. What is lawful Islamism? It is the imposition of Islamist rules by non-violent means.
As Islamist Watch (IW), a new project to combat Lawful Islamism, puts it:
Terrorism is one method [used by Islamists to impose their will on society] but it is not the only one. Indeed, the activities of nonviolent Islamists arguably will prove a more effective tactic in the long term. For while the public intuitively understands the threat of terrorism and is mobilized by it, and while states have well-developed institutions (law enforcement, intelligence agencies, the military, the justice system) to protect and fight against it, the activities of nonviolent extremists are not alarming and institutions do not exist to deal with this problem.
[…] Quietly, lawfully, peacefully, Islamists do their work throughout the West to impose aspects of Islamic law, win special privileges for themselves, shut down criticism of Islam, create Muslim-only zones, and deprive women and non-Muslims of their full civil rights.
Lawful Islamists advance their cause through lobbying politicians, intimidating the media, threatening international boycotts, making predatory use of the legal system, advancing novel legislation, influencing the contents of school textbooks, and in other ways exploiting the freedoms of an open society. They advance their agenda in incremental steps, each of which in itself is minor but in the aggregate point to fundamental changes in society.
A sample of such steps can be found in this list of examples compiled by Daniel Pipes. It is important to resist lawful Islamism. Islamist Watch (IW) has been set up as an initiative to do exactly this. IW sets out to monitor lawful Islamism in Western countries, alert the public to the phenomenon and organise opposition to it. I am honoured to have been asked to serve as IW director. Since the monitoring of what is happening in the various Western countries constitutes one of IW’s important tasks, you can help us by alerting us to examples of lawful Islamism in your own countries.
[PS The website islamistwatch.org has nothing to do with our initiative. The IW website is going to be islamist-watch.org but will only be established and filled with content in 2007. We will keep you informed.]