Is 'Eurabia' in our future?
"Peace in our time." Neville Chamberlain's umbrella. The British prime minister's appeasement of evil at Munich in 1938. It all came rushing back this past week, but before Iran and Great Britain worked up the return of British sailors and marines taken hostage and humiliated by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government. No, the appeasement in the service of peaceful relations is happening on the home front in Great Britain. Last Monday, April 2, brought word that a new government-backed study found British schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons for fear of riling up Muslim students.
That's right, teachers fear antagonizing Muslim pupils whose belief systems include Holocaust denial. They're also easing up on instruction in the 11th-century crusades. The lessons might not jibe with what's taught at the local mosque or might prompt anti-Semitic or anti-Israel outbursts and, well, we wouldn't want that, would we? "In particular settings," the study concluded, "teachers of history are unwilling to challenge highly contentious or charged versions of history in which pupils are steeped at home, in their community or in a place of worship."
Question: Where does multi-cultured political correctness end and professional cowardice begin?
Answer: Where ever.
Yes, it hardly matters since, in the end, the Holocaust deniers and history rewriters still win. And in Great Britain, no less.
Anyone trying to make sense of all this should read two excellent but very different books with the same stark message: Bruce Bawer's "While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying Europe From Within" and Mark Steyn's "America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It."
Bawer is the author of "Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity" and "A Place at the Table: The Gay Individual in American Society." In 1998, he left the United States for Europe. He hoped to escape religious fundamentalism and live in a culture that accepted him and his gay partner.
What he found instead, first in Amsterdam and later in Oslo, was a religious fundamentalism and cultural intolerance fiercer and more menacing than anything in the United States. It's the religious fundamentalism and cultural intolerance of Europe's radicalized, unassimilated and growing Islamic enclaves. What he also found: a European establishment that's no longer capable of standing up for the West and its values. Aching political correctness, reductio-ad-absurdum multiculturalism and its own ethnic and cultural condescension—all combine to cripple Europe's native elite in the face of this existential threat from within.
The result is whole Islamic immigrant communities where the laws and values of these European nations hardly apply. It means the oppression of women in these communities—forced marriages, wife beating, honor killings. But non-Muslims outside these enclaves also feel the impact. Beyond grand acts of explicit terrorism, anti-Semitic violence and gay bashing are on the rise.
Anti-Semitism became so pronounced by 2004 that the European Union felt compelled to commission a study of anti-Semitism across Western Europe. The study was never released, but a leaked copy offered chilling reading. One of the milder manifestations of anti-Semitism it chronicled was teachers' dropping lessons on the Holocaust. The EU-commissioned study noted that Britain was less prejudiced "by a substantial margin." Now we know, however, that its educators even alter their history lessons to appease.
In chronicling this assault and collapse from within, Bawer brings a deep knowledge of history and culture as well as sharp powers of contemporary observation. He also writes with clear-eyed passion—the result in no small part of his being a gay man with an immediate, physical stake in this conflict.
Steyn's "America Alone" is different in tone and approach. It's full of the rollicking prose, politically incorrect fearlessness and historical depth and breadth that makes Steyn one of the globe's premier conservative columnists. It's also focuses on the demographics working to produce "Eurabia."
Native European populations are "old and fading while their Muslim populations are young and surging, and in all these clashes," he writes, "the latter are putting down markers for the way things will be the day after tomorrow."
Steyn's point is that it matters when 40 percent of Rotterdam's population is Muslim and the most popular baby boy's name in Belgium—and the fifth most popular baby boy's name in the United Kingdom—is Mohammed.
Like Bawer's work, Steyn's "America Alone" helps to make sense of the events that have cascaded over the world since 9/11—the London and Madrid bombings, the murders of Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn and Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, the Danish cartoon riots, Western European foreign policy. And, now, the news that British teachers appease radical Islam's Holocaust deniers.
Peace in our time. Peace in our classrooms.