By Mark Steyn
….You may be a staunch supporter of the welfare state, socialized medicine, gay marriage, preferential treatment of women and 75 percent taxation of all private income. It won’t help you if you have distanced yourself from the teachings of the prophet.
Thus, in the Netherlands, Islam’s critics are also “extreme right-wing racists” – if by “extreme”, “right-wing” and “racist’ you mean gay hedonists (Pim Fortuyn), anti-monarchist coke-snorting nihilists (Theo van Gogh) and liberal black feminists (Ayaan Hirsi Ali). Whichever of these novel permutations of “right-wing” you fall into, you wind up either on trial (Nekschot, Geert Wilders), forced into exile (Miss Ali) or pushing up tulips (Fortuyn, van Gogh). Likewise, the artists and comedians I met through Lars in Copenhagen had been variously arrested, subjected to death threats, had homes firebombed and a family restaurant shot up. And in the final indignity they’d wound up sharing a stage with a right-wing loon like me because their leftie pals weren’t there for them. All your liberal friends who went to the Amnesty International fundraisers and bored the pants off you with that bit of apocryphal Voltaire – “I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it” – they all stayed utterly silent. C’mon, nobody’s asking you to defend anyone to the death. A mildly principled Tweet would do. A tepidly supportive fax.
Lars Hedegaard matters because he was there when all those Voltaire-spouting lefties weren’t. Modern social-democratic governments preside over multicultural societies which have less and less glue holding them together, and they’ve very at ease with the idea of the state as the mediator between different interest groups. Most of these governments haven’t a clue what to do about their turbulent surging Muslim populations, but they have unbounded faith in their own powers and so it seems entirely natural to manage the problem by regulating freedom in the interests of social harmony. Go back to what Lars said about the Islamo-leftist alliance: “Criticism of religion is not only the starting point of all criticism. It is the prerequisite of any kind of criticism.” That would have been an unexceptional observation to any Continental leftie of a generation ago. Why then are the Euroleft prostrate before Islam? Simple arithmetic, says Lars: “They are now increasingly dependent on the Muslim vote, which they hope will guarantee them a perpetual foothold at least in the major population centers.”
He’s right. So democratic parties maintain their electoral viability by pandering to the anti-democratic impulses of their fastest-growing bloc.
After that conference with Lars in Copenhagen a couple of years ago, I took the train over the water to Malmö in Sweden. Malmö was one of the first Christian cities in what was then Denmark. It’s now on course to become the first Muslim city in Sweden. I sat and had a coffee in a nice little place in a beautiful medieval square in the heart of town. Aside from a few modernist excrescences, it would not have looked so different in the early days of the Lutheran church. I got lucky, and fell into conversation with a couple of cute Swedish blondes. Fine-looking ladies. I shall miss Scandinavian blondes when they’re extinct. At dusk, and against their advice, I took a 20-minute walk to Rosengard. As you stroll the sidewalk, the gaps between blondes grow longer, and the gaps between young bearded Muslim men grow shorter. And then eventually you’re in the housing projects, and all the young boys kicking a soccer ball around are Muslim, and every single woman is covered – including many who came from “moderate” Muslim countries and did not adopt the headscarf or hijab until they emigrated to Sweden, where it’s compulsory, at least in Rosengard.
Do you remember the rationalization Israel used at the Oslo Accords? “Land for peace”? In Sweden, which is about as far as you can get from Gaza and the West Bank, they’re also trading land for peace, and as in Gaza unlikely to wind up with either. The Jews are already fleeing Malmö: Soon it will be like Tangiers or Baghdad or any other Arab town with a weed-strewn, decaying “old Jewish cemetery” and no one left to tend it. But it’s not just the Jewish graveyard that’s destined to be abandoned, but the Lutheran ones, too.
I would urge anyone to do that twilight walk from downtown Malmö to Rosengard, as the blondes thin and the bearded men multiply. That’s Europe’s future walking toward you, and most Europeans did not choose to live in that world. In Malmö, in Rotterdam, in Yorkshire and here in Brussels, their betters made the decision for them. A society that becomes more Muslim becomes less everything else – less Jewish, less gay, less feminist, less artistic, less scientific, less free. That’s a simple statement of fact, but we shrink from it. I saw an ad the other day for a clothing store called U.S. Arabia, and it showed happy, smiling, apparently Caucasian models in Muslim garb. And I could see how that might catch on. You’re in an office where two of the ten people are Muslim, and then it’s three, four, six, and suddenly it’s the non-Muslim workers who are feeling the odd ones out. And the fashion magazines are running all these features about how cool it is to wear head coverings, even for non-Muslim women. So you try it, and suddenly you feel less obvious when you’re walking through certain neighborhoods late in the evening. Why not meet Islam halfway? A headscarf here, halal-compliant meat there… What’s the big deal? By the time, you formally convert, you’ll barely notice it.
Islam won’t have to blow anything up, it just has to be – to be itself, and in being itself make us less ourselves – less Belgian, less Dutch, less Danish, as already Malmö is day by day less Swedish. The man we honor today will not go quietly into that Rosengard night. He understands that we cannot prevent it if we cannot talk about it, honestly and openly. But the zombie husks who lead the western world in twilight pass off their groveling prostration as a defense of “multicultural tolerance”. It’s not. It’s the Pansy Left (in Orwell’s phrase) auditioning to be Islam’s lead prison bitch (that’s mine, not Orwell’s). In the same way that the left embarked on its long march through the institutions, so too has Islam. Its Gramscian subversion of transnational bodies, international finance, human rights institutions, the academy and the justice system is well advanced.
At one of his trials – maybe it was the first, the second, the third, I forget which – Lars quoted John Milton:
Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.
Milton wrote that in 1644. Three hundred and seventy years later, it falls to our generation to fight that battle all over again. Lars Hedegaard has led that fight, a fight that so many of his fellow Danes, his fellow Scandinavians, his fellow Europeans have either ducked or joined the wrong side of. In some of the oldest free societies on the planet, far too few are doing the heavy lifting for all of us, and paying a very high price. So I am honored to salute today a champion of liberty, a defender of civilization, and a European hero whether Europe’s rulers know it or not – Lars Hedegaard.
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Filed under: Creeping Sharia, Evil, Existential threats, Freedom of Speech, Islam | Tagged: Civilization jihad, Evil, freedom of speech, injustice, Islamization | 3 Comments »