“Liberals fetishize separation, arguing that immigrants don’t need to learn English, don’t need to stop subjugating women with hijabs and arranged marriages, don’t need to become citizens.” Amir Taheri
“Like many suburbs in France where Muslim immigrants are present in large numbers, these Belgian neighborhoods have undergone what Qaradawi of the Muslim Brotherhood calls ‘moral cleansing.’ Standard Islamic beards for men and hijabs for women have become the rule. The archipelago of ‘otherness’ created by liberal multiculturalism is now seeking to complete the circle by achieving political otherness as well.” Ibid
On Tuesday, when Islamist suicide bombers blew themselves up in Brussels, killing 35 innocent people and injuring 240, the European Union’s foreign policy representative, the Italian Federica Mogherini, happened to be on an official visit to Amman, the Jordanian capital.
Fighting back tears, she cut short a news conference, saying: “It’s a very sad day for Europe, as Europe and its capital are suffering the same pain that the Middle East has known and knows every single day, be it in Syria, be it elsewhere.”
She then mused about the role that Islam may have played in the tragedy, dismissing “the idea of a clash between Islam and the West.”
“Islam,” she said, “holds a place in our Western societies. Islam belongs to Europe … I am not afraid to say that political Islam should be part of the picture.”
Mogherini’s statement offers an insight into the mentality that has helped produce the situation in Western European societies, where fear is woven into the fabric of daily life. It is a world of illusions and false identities.
In Mogherini’s world, the sufferings of Syrians, caused by a savage regime, are on par with the sufferings of inhabitants of European capital cities such as Madrid, London, Paris and now Brussels that have come under attack from jihadists who kill at random.
In that world, political Islam, far from being an adversary dedicated to your destruction, becomes part of the family.
The envoy fails to see the logical conclusion of her analysis: If Islam is no longer a religion but a political ideology, why shouldn’t it be subjected to the same treatment, including criticism, as any other political ideology, and, if it poses a present and clear danger, face outright suppression?
Creating the ghetto
What happened in Brussels was a co-production by adepts of two sick ideologies.
The first one is Islamism in its many versions, including Khomeinism in Iran, Talibanism in Afghanistan, Salafism in Arab countries, Boko Haram in Nigeria, and ISIS and its offshoots across the globe. It will remain firmly in place until it implodes under the weight of its savage contradictions, as did the old Soviet Union, or is defeated in a war, as was the case with Nazi Germany and imperialist Japan.
The other co-producer, the mushy and politically correct “liberal” ideology that has seduced segments of opinion in Western democracies, can and must be combated by all those who wish to protect the democratic system in an increasingly dangerous world.
In Brussels, it started in the 1960s when the postwar economic boom created a shortage of workers.
Like other Western European countries, notably Germany and France, Belgium had to import workers on a massive scale.
That, however, wasn’t simple because of Belgium’s own peculiarities. Created as a buffer state between Germany and France in 1830, Belgium was not the natural expression of a nation’s desire for statehood.
In fact, the kingdom is made of three national components: the French-speaking Walloons, the Dutch-speaking Flemish and German speakers.
From the start, the maintenance of balance among the three has been the central problem of Belgian politics.
Since most factories were located in the Walloons’ area, the owners were careful to import workers from French-speaking lands, which, at the time, made French-controlled North Africa an attractive source of labor. The Walloons also had a low birth rate, while the Flemish had large families. One source of concern for French speakers was the capital, Brussels, with its 19 districts divided across linguistic lines. The Walloons feared that their depopulated districts would be repopulated by Dutch speakers. They offered rent-free or subsidized housing to immigrants from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia who knew no Flemish but could plod along in kitchen French.
By the 1990s, most of the factories had disappeared, but the immigrants remained. By then Islam was Belgium’s second-largest religion, now accounting for over 700,000 people or 6.2 percent of the population. Of these, almost half live in Brussels, counting for 28 percent of the total population of the city, and guarding the demographically declining districts from “falling” to the Flemish.
One of the districts is Molenbeek, now infamous as the Belgian capital of jihadism, where more than 100,000 mostly North African Muslims live and where the perpetrators of recent terrors attacks against Paris and Brussels lived and hid.
With their state designed across communitarian lines, the Belgians did not encourage integration, doing everything possible to prevent the immigrants from losing their original “identity.”
But what was that “identity”? The label “Arab” wouldn’t do because many, perhaps even a majority, of the immigrants were not Arab speakers and belonged to Berber and Kabyle communities in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, where three versions of the Amazigh language are prevalent. Some of them even regarded being called “Arab” as an insult.
So the Belgian specialists in multiculturalism opted for the label “Islamic” as an identity badge.
That, too, was fraught with problems. To start with, many, many immigrants knew little or nothing of Islam as a religion which during over a century of French rule in North Africa had morphed into a fading collection of rites rather than a living religion.
The Belgians did not encourage integration, doing everything possible to prevent the immigrants from losing their original ‘identity.’
The Belgian multiculturalist elites, making a fetish of the concept of “otherness,” corrected that lacuna by financing courses in Islam, encouraging the building of mosques and Koranic schools and even subsidizing pilgrimages to Mecca. The welfare industry also had an interest in protecting the “otherness” of the immigrant community where unemployment was rising, reaching over 40 percent by the end of the 1990s. In some cases, four generations of a family could be found on the welfare register in the context of their cherished “otherness.”
Radical Islamists of all ilks were welcomed to market their ideological wares.
In 1993, when France and most other Western nations banned the Algerian terrorist groups, Belgium welcomed them with open arms. For example, the so-called Islamic Armed Group, responsible for tens of thousands of killings in Algeria, maintained an office and published a magazine in Molenbeek, while the Islamic Liberation Party (Hizb al-Tahrir), which campaigns for the revival of the caliphate, transferred its leadership to Belgium.
The Belgian multiculturalist elite, helped by political allies in France and Germany, also secured European Union subsidies for Islamist propaganda in the shape of seminars and conferences and, ultimately, the creation of a European Fatwa Council headed by the Muslim Brotherhood televangelist Sheikh Yussef al-Qaradawi.
For the past two decades at least, Brussels has been the principal center for the publication of jihadist material in Europe. God forbid any of these dangerous ideologies be stifled.
In 2004, the Islamic Republic in Iran transferred its main propaganda unit, located in its embassy in the Vatican, to Belgium. The books published by Islamist groups in Belgium bear such titles as “Uniting the World Under Banner of Islam,” “The Virtues of Martyrdom” and “Imam Khomeini and Jihad.”
Biting the hand …
Belgium’s liberals, meanwhile, took pride in being the “good” Western nation.
Belgium was one of the few European nations to have never held Muslim colonies, unlike the neighboring Dutch, who built an empire in what is now Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country.
Belgium, again unlike neighboring Holland, for example, is also alone among Western European nations not to have a state-owned oil company and thus couldn’t be accused of “stealing Muslim oil.”
After the 9/11 al Qaeda attacks against the United States, Belgium, though a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and host to its headquarters, kept a low profile when the allies acted against the Taliban to dismantle terrorist bases in Afghanistan. In the US-led liberation of Iraq that followed in 2003, Belgium joined France’s President Jacques Chirac in denouncing “George W. Bush’s illegal war.”
So open, so accommodating, not unlike the evil US or Britain. Belgium was sure it wasn’t a target for jihadists.
Then those same people the nation coddled set up a network called “Sharia4Belgium,” with the stated aim of transforming the kingdom into an Islamic emirate.
They even wrote to the king of Belgium, inviting him and his family to convert to Islam as soon as possible.
It was not until 2015, when attacks in Paris had shaken the continent, that a judge labeled Sharia4Belgium a terrorist group and sentenced its leader, Fouad Belkacem, to prison.
Last year, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel admitted that his country had become a recruiting ground for the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Interior Minister Jan Jambon even provided statistics on the subject, indicating that Belgium produced the greatest number of jihadists relative to its population. At least 269 Belgians were fighting in the ranks of ISIS in Syria while 117 had returned to Belgium after a fighting stint in the Middle East.
Part of a nation
The Belgian media have been full of news of homegrown jihadists since 2013. And yet no one was arrested or stopped from traveling to Syria or questioned upon return from the battlefields of the Middle East. A walk down the streets of Molenbeek, a neighborhood that has the air and scents of the Casbah in Algiers, reveals many telltale signs that the caliphate in Raqqa has a strong presence not far from the headquarters of the European Union and NATO.
Liberals fetishize separation, arguing that immigrants don’t need to learn English, don’t need to stop subjugating women with hijabs and arranged marriages, don’t need to become citizens.
Like many suburbs in France where Muslim immigrants are present in large numbers, these Belgian neighborhoods have undergone what Qaradawi of the Muslim Brotherhood calls “moral cleansing.” Standard Islamic beards for men and hijabs for women have become the rule. The archipelago of “otherness” created by liberal multiculturalism is now seeking to complete the circle by achieving political otherness as well.
America’s strength comes from its multiculturalism, but that’s only true when all its people, all its races and religions, believe in the same values. Liberals fetishize separation, arguing that immigrants don’t need to learn English, don’t need to stop subjugating women with hijabs and arranged marriages, don’t need to become citizens. They encourage otherness rather than integration. They want immigrants to change the country, rather than the other way around. They say Islam is not the enemy — but that’s only true if Islam is a religion and not a political ideology bent on undermining democracy.
Brussels is the result of this thinking. It’s what happens when immigrants are allowed to construct their own state within a state, not pushed to become part of a nation.
In a sense, Mogherini is right. Islam in its most violent form is already part of Europe just as much as a cancer belongs to the body it attacks.
Mogherini’s crocodile tears remind one of the German Nazi anthropologist Sigrid Hunke, another grand lady of misguided European Islamophilia. In her book “Allah’s Sun Shines Over the West,” Hunke claims that Islam, not Judeo-Christianism, created modern Europe by shaping the Andalusian model and must at some point return to resume its work. Well, may be the prodigal son has returned, invited back by Europe’s multiculturalist elites.