I've got bad news, and then more bad news. America and the rest of the West are now under assault by jihadists, and most of us don't know it. If that's not bad enough, those jihadists are getting the upper hand and are on the road to winning. As many expert observers of the scene have concluded, Europe is already lost, and America may not be far behind.
Consider a few examples of how we are voluntarily surrendering our freedoms out of fear of Islamist intimidation and violence or on the mistaken belief that we have to appease and accommodate the demands of the Islamists:
• Right after a radical Islamists murdered Theo Van Gogh, the famous Dutchman, because he had made a movie about how women are mistreated under Islam, a Rotterdam artist named Chris Ripken drew a street mural featuring a dove of peace and the words, "Thou shall not kill." The city's mayor, fearing Muslim displeasure, ordered the police to destroy the mural. The police did so, and also arrested a cameraman, Wim Nottroth, who tired to save the mural. The police also confiscated and destroyed the cameraman's videotape showing the mural's destruction.
• A police investigation in Britain was launched after a Channel 4 program, "Undercover Mosque," caught a supposedly moderate Muslim Imam on tape calling for the beating of wives and daughters and the murder of gays and apostates. But the police weren't investigating the Imam. He had complained that Channel 4 took his comments out of context, so they were investigating Channel 4.
The police reported the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service for possible violation of the Public Order Act of 1986 and to the government communications authority for stirring up hate. Fortunately, the complaints were rejected. The Channel 4 program was noteworthy on two counts: First, it was pure reportage, with the tape capturing what the Imam said. Second, it was one of the rare exceptions to the mainstream media's usual approach to reporting on Islam. But for this rare public service, Channel 4 got into trouble with the authorities.
• A planned television appeal by the British police to help capture a Muslim rape suspect was cancelled … to avoid "racial backlash."
• At a meeting of a United Nations Human Rights Commission meeting, Islamic members refused to condemn those who kill in the name of religion, and said criticism of Muslim terrorists amounted to "defamation of religion."
• The United Nations investigator on racism found that Islamophobia constitutes the most serious form of religious defamation. That conclusion was reached even though examples of Muslims being mistreated in the West are scarce, while Muslims in Europe are beating Jews, desecrating Jewish cemeteries, and making it impossible for Jewish children to get education. And that conclusion about Islamophobia was reached even in the face of widespread persecution of Christians in Muslim nations.
• The ACLU, which has defended Nazis and every other group you can imagine, apparently refuses to do anything that might offend Muslims. When the Danish cartoons set off worldwide violence by Muslims, the ACLU press office refused to comment. This suggests liberty and freedom must yield to respect and accommodation for Muslims.
• The surrender involves every aspect of our arts and culture. Consider the world of art. "In 2006, for example, nude dolls by the surrealist artist Hans Bellmer were removed just before the opening of an exhibition at London's Whitechapel Art Gallery. The official excuse was 'space constraints,' but the real reason (as the curator of the show admitted) was fear that the nudity of the dolls would offend the gallery's Muslim neighbors."
• In the same year, the Tate Gallery changed its mind about displaying a work by John Latham entitled 'God is Great,' which consists of copies of the Bible, Koran and Talmud embedded in a vertical sheet of thick glass, and which is in fact considered a tribute to the so-called Abrahamic religions." The gallery's director would only say the action was taken "in the light of events in London in July." He was referring to the July 7 bombings. It is interesting he was not only afraid to put the artwork on display, but was even afraid to explain the events in straight language.
• Some schools are omitting important historical events that might offend Muslims, such as the Crusades and the Holocaust. They are also removing pork from school cafeterias for the same reason. Of course, these same schools aren't removing beef to avoid offending Hindus.
For 276 pages of such examples, documenting how the West is voluntarily surrendering its freedoms to jihadists, you should read a new book by Bruce Bawer, Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom. (The quotations in the paragraphs above are from that book.)
Mr. Bawer puts the spotlight on all those who have contributed to this surrender of freedom to Islamists, including politicians, the media, and academia. At the center of that surrender effort he finds the mainstream media, which usually covers up the hard truth about what is going on, and puts Islamists in the most favorable light possible.
Mr. Bawer even shows how books that have sounded the alarm about what's going on in the West have been ignored by the mainstream media. He notes that The New York Times sets the direction of what books are reviewed and how they are reviewed by the mainstream media. Then he goes through the books that would wake the public up to the threat from Islam.
Of those he mentions, none were reviewed by The New York Times, and that resulted in most of the mainstream media doing the same.
This column has reviewed most of those books and makes frequent reference to them including Mark Steyn, America Alone; Melanie Phillips, Londonistan; Bar Ye'or, Eurabia; and Mr. Bawer's previous book on the subject, While Europe Slept. One of the most important things you can do is to read Mr. Bawer's new book, or some of the others listed above. I'd also recommend books by Steve Emerson and Robert Spencer.
The Times and other mainstream media outlets not only ignored these books of central importance, but also went out of their way to praise and glorify the books that perfumed the jihadists. It describes one such book Murder in Amsterdam, as a masterpiece of slippery rhetoric. The book is by Ian Buruma. Mr. Bawer writes,
"While posing as an objective observer who was simply out to discover the truth and to give each of his interlocutors a voice, Buruma labored on every page to obscure or skirt or muddle or drastically misrepresent the essential and unsettling facts — namely, that European liberty was under attack by jihadists; that a huge percentage of European Muslims shared the jihadists' goals; and that many aspects of Islam were, to say the least, not easily reconciled with Western freedoms."
Consistently, Mr. Buruma relegated such phenomena as honor killings, female genital mutilation, and forced marriage to the background, or pushed them entirely offstage; consistently he avoided looking too closely at what it actually means to sympathize with jihad.
"Reading his interviews with jihad supporters, one could see him again and again delicately avoiding the ticklish fact that jihadists aim to conquer the world, crush individual freedom, strip women of equality, execute gays and apostates and adulterers and rape victims, and turn Christians and Jews into second-class citizens. Instead, Buruma sought to give the vague impression that jihadism is not aggressive but defensive — that it's an understandable, and perhaps even noble response to Western oppression and prejudice by downtrodden people determined to restore Muslim dignity and self-respect."
His book is powerful on many levels. One of those most important levels is his treatment of the mainstream media and how it keeps the truth from the public, how it encourages jihadists and terrorists, how it is undermining our freedom and liberty, and how it literally kills those with the courage to speak up.
Take his chapter on a Dutchman named Pim Fortuyn. He was a sociologist by training, and discovered that his country generously supported and subsidized Muslim families, but failed to recognize that fundamentalist Islam, which was rapidly becoming the Netherlands' largest religion, "was irreconcilable with Western democracy." He wrote a book on the subject titled Against the Islamization of our Culture. Days before 9/11, he wrote that Islamists had taken over from the Communists, as the threat to Western freedom.
Instead of heeding his warning or taking into consideration the facts he gathered, he was denounced as an extremist, a fascist, a Mussolini and a Hitler. The politicians and journalists of his country were almost unanimous in their strong condemnation of Fortuyn.
He entered politics and it looked like he would not only win a seat in parliament but would be the next prime minister. The attacks ratcheted up. The result: On May 6, 2002 he was murdered by a right-wing extremist. Mr. Bawer explains what led to his murder:
The murderer testified, "he'd killed Fortuyn because his views on Muslim immigration made him a 'danger.' " This, Mr. Bawer observed, "could have been lifted out of any one of a number of commentaries about Fortuyn that had appeared in the days before the murder." Mr. Bawer concludes, "Were journalists and politicians chastened by the knowledge that they'd contributed to Fortuyn's death? Hardly. The slurs continued unabated in the reports on the killing."
Mr. Bawer offers this advice to America and the West:
"The West's unwavering principle, rather, must be a refusal to sacrifice or compromise liberty — no matter what. Simple as that.
"No, there's no guarantee that Western Muslims, in meaningful numbers, will ever openly and actually champion freedom and defy jihadists; to do so, after all, is alien to every value with which many of them wren raised. But we certainly can't expect them to take a stand for liberty if the rest of us don't stand up for it ourselves."
Herb Denenberg is a former Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner, and professor at the Wharton School. He is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of the Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.