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Backbones with capitulation

Backbones with capitulation

The Reverend Tiny Muskens, a Roman Catholic bishop in the Netherlands, has a novel idea. His Excellency recently proposed that, in the name of religious toleration and understanding, Christians refer to their God as "Allah."
Perhaps the good bishop believes that if Christians use the name "Allah," then Muslims will be more kindly disposed toward them. Perhaps he even believes that Muslim extremists will be less likely to butcher them, as they did filmmaker Theo van Gogh.
You'll recall that in 2004 a man named Mohammed Bouyeri attacked van Gogh on a Dutch street in broad daylight. Bouyeri shot van Gogh eight times, slashed his throat so deeply that his head was nearly severed, and, for good measure, stabbed two knives deep into his chest. Pinned beneath the second dagger was a note listing Bouyeri's Islamic grievances.
Presumably, Bishop Muskens would like to avoid such unpleasantness. He seems to believe that the best way to do so involves Europeans' accommodating themselves ever more to the Muslim minority living in their midst. While his recommendation is certainly novel - to say nothing of theologically problematic - it perfectly represents the mind-set of certain European elites.
Take just the last few months. In December, Sir Ian Blair, Scotland Yard's commissioner of police, attended a graduation ceremony for police recruits in London. One of the recruits was a Muslim woman. Since 2001, Scotland Yard has gone out of its way to make female Muslim officers feel comfortable, going so far as to allow them to wear a hijab as part of their official uniform.
But shortly before the ceremony, the new recruit stated that when Blair came by to congratulate the class, she would neither shake his hand nor appear in photographs with him.
The recruit claimed it was against her religion to shake hands with a man. And as for being pictured with her commanding officer, she did not want such a photo to be used for "propaganda purposes." Sir Ian Blair, her boss, complied with her demands.
Politically correct
After the car-bomb incidents in London and Scotland this summer, new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown forbade his ministers from using the word Muslim in connection with the attacks, carried out by Muslim terrorists. The reason, the minister's spokesman explained, was that "there is clearly a need to strike a consensual tone in relation to all communities."
So there should likewise have been little surprise last week when the BBC drama "Casualty" dropped plans for a show revolving around an attack by Muslim terrorists. Or rather, changed its plans: The attack in the episode will now be carried out by an animal-rights group.
The BBC, of course, has been striving for a "consensual tone" for a long while now. On the network's Web site, the section on Islam repeats the phrases "peace be upon him," or "pbuh," after every single mention of the prophet Muhammad. It does not accord similar honorifics to other religions by placing, for example, "our Lord and Savior" before mentions of Jesus Christ.
The capitulative impulse has become so deeply held that it has practically entered the subconscious. On October 8, 2002, the French prime minister at the time, a Catholic named Jean-Pierre Raffarin, gave a speech to the French National Assembly. In the course of his remarks, he mentioned the Islamic hero Saladin, explaining that Saladin was able "to defeat the Crusaders and liberate Jerusalem."
As Bernard Lewis would later note, "When a French prime minister describes Saladin's capture of Jerusalem from the largely French Crusaders as an act of liberation, this would seem to indicate a rather extreme case of realignment of loyalties."
There is a term for this sort of thing in Muslim tradition: the concept of dhimmitude. In antiquity, Islamic states provided some protections to conquered nonbelievers, whom they called dhimmis. The dhimmi were allowed a fair degree of autonomy and given some certain protections of life and property, provided that they pay a special tax and acknowledge Muslim supremacy.
Throughout Muslim lands, these dhimma laws began to fall away by the late 18th century. But now, a perverse form of dhimmitude is spreading throughout Europe: The leaders of the liberal, non-Muslim majority are searching for ways to subjugate themselves to the Muslim minority.
It would seem to represent a rather extreme case of a failure of leadership.
Jonathan V. Last is a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer.


Updated : 2021-02-25 16:30 GMT+08:00