Blogging in the London Telegraph, Boston University History Professor Richard Landes provides some cogent analysis of the failure of Western liberals to acknowledge the threat posed by radical Islam.
In sections of European cities such as London, Sharia has replaced secular law. Islamists are able to get away with refusing to tolerate criticism from "kufr" (infidels) because liberal elites shrink from saying no to their demands for special treatment.
"We in the modern (and post modern) West, who first forged these remarkable rules of self-restraint and created so rich….so tolerant a culture, have a right to demand that Islam adopt these rules, certainly those who live in and benefit from the civil politics we have created," Landes writes. Instead, "we avoid dealing with the problem."
The situation has gotten worse in recent years. "Our journalist and academic talking heads are subject to a different kind of Islamophobia: an inordinate fear of criticizing Islam," according to Landes. "We cannot defend modern, tolerant political culture with such fearful people dominating the public sphere."
He believes European elites are disconnected from reality and out of touch with the views of voters, who have grown skeptical of mass immigration and question Muslim willingness to integrate.
Landes points to a recent public-opinion survey of attitudes in nine European countries about immigration. Majorities in seven countries ranging from 76 percent in Great Britain to 56 percent in France and Italy agreed that "Immigration has placed too much pressure on public services in their country."
A Pew survey showed most Europeans believe Muslims in their countries do not want to integrate (72 percent in Germany; 69 percent in Spain; 54 percent in France and 52 percent in Great Britain). Asked which religion is the most violent, 75 percent of Britons; 79 percent of Germans; 87 percent of Spaniards and 90 percent of French said Islam.
Despite these and other polls indicating considerable public skepticism in Europe over immigration and Muslim attitudes, European elites still refuse to confront reality, Landes writes. Fantasizing that it isn't a problem is "cultural suicide," he concludes.