What If Islam Triumphed?
[November 10, 2004]
By Edward Cline
The grisly, broad daylight murder and near-decapitation
in Amsterdam last week of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Muslim
“suicide” jihadist is a new and ominous twist to Islam’s war on the West.
It portends something worse than the massacre of commuters in Madrid and
of adults and schoolchildren in Beslan. The publicized beheadings have
usually been staged and filmed somewhere in the anonymous hovels of
Baghdad, and the victims’ bodies unceremoniously dumped in ditches or
beneath overpasses on the outskirts of the city for American troops or
Iraqis to find. Then, miraculously and shortly after the event, Al-Jazeera
receives videotapes of the murders and gleefully broadcasts them to an
appreciative Arab “street.”
No such scoop, this time, for Matt Lauer and Diane
Sawyer’s Mideastern counterparts to report, not unless the murder was
captured on camcorder by the killer’s cohorts and the tape surfaces some
time in the future.
Another unique aspect of the murder is that Dutch
investigators subsequently found evidence of a conspiracy -- chiefly a hit
list -- to murder any Dutch citizen who was critical of Islam, the Koran,
or Muslim society. Several prominent Dutch citizens have received letters
threatening them with the same bloody fate, among them the mayor of
Amsterdam, a deputy mayor, an immigration official, a television talk show
host, and Ayaan Hirsi, a former Somali Muslim and member of the Dutch
parliament who produced a movie with van Gogh about the Islamic oppression
Matthew Campbell, writing in the London Times on
November 7th, noted that, as a consequence of the van Gogh murder, “All
over Europe media pundits, entertainers, and politicians were forced to
ponder the chilling possibility that cross-border cooperation among
closely connected jihad cells might mean that they, too, were threatened
by the new terror.”
Why such surprise?
For over a generation, those jihad cells have been
maddeningly and surreptitiously established all over Europe, ever since
the first train and plane hijackings of the 1970’s and the murder of
Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics. The Netherlands, a small
country residence to one million Muslims, is now feeling particularly
vulnerable. But the same thing can happen in Germany or Italy. In France,
Jews and Jewish-owned property are more and more the targets of Muslim
crime, and French girls are raped by Muslims for not wearing veils in
public, even though they are not Muslim.
Just as the Democratic left is wondering what went wrong
when, despite all its expensive and extralegal efforts, Americans
reelected George W. Bush and endorsed the war on terror by a margin that
could not be questioned or spun out of context, many Europeans are
beginning to wonder what they did wrong to earn the enmity of the alien
culture in their midst whose proclaimed end, according to its numerous
imams and mullahs, is to end Western civilization. The terror they face
cannot be questioned or dismissed as anomalous.
After all, if Europeans are willing to “tolerate” a
religion and subculture fundamentally antithetical to Western values and
mores, and demonstrably hostile to them, why could not that society
reciprocate and “tolerate” their host cultures and all that they hold
dear? Such as freedom of thought and speech, private property, individual
rights? The rule of reason? The rule of law? The glorification of man?
Perhaps because those countries have systematically
denigrated those values for more than a generation in their laws,
universities, newspaper columns, and arts. Perhaps because Europeans
established welfare states to spare themselves the risks and rewards of
living without a “safety net.” Not to mention developed an antipathy for
the work they themselves, spoiled by that welfare state, by unions, by
protectionist policies, and by an inexplicable sense of superiority, did
not care to do. The Europeans invited unwashed millions from impoverished
Muslim countries to pick up their garbage, dig their ditches, and clean
In the name of multiculturalism, diversity, toleration,
and non-judgment, the Europeans have allowed their societies to become
infiltrated by an enemy bent on their conversion or conquest.
Campbell wrote that “many of Holland’s 1m Muslims
consider the Dutch government to be depraved in its acceptance of
‘abominations’ such as drugs, prostitution, and gay marriage. They want
nothing to do with it.”
Perhaps not. But, overall, drugs, prostitution, and gay
marriage are minor bogeymen in the Islamic worldview. Muslims have their
own peccadilloes they would rather not have discussed in public, least of
all by Western infidels, such as honor killings, bestiality, ritual rape,
and a concept of “family” that makes Mafia solidarity look like a friendly
tea-and-crumpets soiree after a cricket match.
No, the chief abomination -- indeed, the principal
nemesis -- in the Islamic worldview is man the unbowed, man astride a
world he has mastered, man a being proud of his existence and of his
achievements, man the rational being. Man who indignantly refuses to
degrade himself by groveling five times a day to bang his head on the
ground in ritualistic submission to a ghost and its prophets, never daring
to think outside the sealed envelope of Sharia law. Man who scoffs at and
dismisses the irrational. Man the being who sends probes to wander over
Mars, plunge into the atmosphere of Titan, and collect atoms of the sun.
Man who creates new medicines, and new materials, and new wealth from the
raw material of the earth, so that he can live happily on it.
Europe has been invaded many times. Most prominently by
the Huns. And, now, for a third time, by the Muslims.
It is intriguing to speculate on the status of Europe if
one imagines that Charles Martel and his Frankish infantry failed to stem
the Muslim tide of invasion at Tours in 732. There is a sub-genre of such
hypothetical literature, some of it meritorious, much of it silly. If the
Allies had let Hitler overrun Russia to defeat Stalin and his communist
dictatorship, and if we had not propped up Stalin with Lend Lease, would
the Germans have been able to hold onto that conquest? It is doubtful. We
certainly would have been spared the Cold War if that had happened. Not to
mention a two-timing Vladimir Putin, whose KGB would have perished along
with Stalin and the Politburo. Churchill and Patton would have smoked a
box of cigars each in celebration of that collapse.
However, if Martel had been defeated at Tours by
Abd-er-Rahman’s 60,000 Saracen horsemen, there was little that could have
stopped the Muslims from adding all of France and then the rest of Western
Europe to their conquests. Nothing could have kept them out of Germany,
Italy and Greece. There would have been no Charlemagne, no Middle Ages, no
Renaissance, no Enlightenment. Just a continuation of the Dark Ages.
A European caliphate would not have begrudged tactful
rational inquiry, as the Catholic Church did, even for its persecution of
freethinkers and heretics. There would have been no corrupt Catholic
Church for Martin Luther to revolt against, and no Martin Luther. No
Vatican, no Michelangelo, no David of Florence or Sistine Chapel, no
Leonardo da Vinci. No Copernicus, no Galileo. No arts, science or
literature as we know them.
Perhaps the Scandinavian kingdoms would have proven too
chilly for the Muslims. No problem. Exact a tribute from them, in the
great tradition of the Barbary pirates, in exchange for a promise not to
lay those lands to waste or raid their commerce on the high seas for loot
No Queen Isabella of Spain to send Columbus across the
Atlantic. No Columbus, and no discovery of America. No Shakespeare, if the
Muslims ventured across the Channel. No John Locke. No London, or two
British empires. No Declaration of Independence. No United States. No
Beethoven, or Liszt, or Rachmaninoff. No Industrial Revolution. No New
York City. No moon landings, no Voyagers hurtling through interstellar
Muslim science? An oxymoron. Science requires a
population of free minds. Islam does not tolerate free minds. Where it has
tolerated them in the past, and where it does at present, such as in
Indonesia or Malaysia, it is only on conditional sufferance.
A European caliphate would have smothered any political,
intellectual, or religious move to freedom, or postponed it for at least
another millennium. Frankly, there would have been no “Europe.” It would
have become a collection of forested provinces governed by satraps of the
Grand Caliphate in Mecca or Medina.
Is this too severe a judgment of Islam? Islam means
“submission.” Period. No questions asked or tolerated. There have been
exceptions to that rule, but they are exceptions, and they disappeared
almost as quickly as they occurred. Once the Muslims had settled into a
conquered Spain and accomplished the necessary “submission” of its
inhabitants, one or two of its governors tolerated inquiry beyond the
bounds of the Koran and orthodoxy, and even left Christians and Jews
alone, as long as they avoided trouble and kept to their places, in
uncharacteristic experiments in “toleration.” They gave us algebra, more
efficient numbers, and unearthed Aristotle. But Aristotle proved to be
incompatible with Islamic orthodoxy, more than he ever was with the
Catholic Church. Better the faithful stay dumbed down.
The conflict could not last. The Koran is inflexible. It
demands absolute orthodoxy, an unconditional acceptance by its adherents
of its mythology and official history, requiring an abject, voluntary
surrender of the mind graphically described by Orwell in Nineteen
Eighty-Four. Instead of demanding that one love Big Brother, it demands
that one love Allah. The Koran is riven with contradictions, the most
prominent of which is a declaration of war on all unbelievers, sanctioning
their murder, extermination or enslavement. Those imperatives render
superfluous any afterthoughts in the text about peace, charity and
Contradictions cannot long cohabit in a dogma; one or
the other must give way. The Islamic creed is fundamentally a creed of
war, of conquest, of submission. President Bush would do his country a
great favor if he would grasp that Islam is not a “religion of peace.” If
Muslims ever disavowed the totalitarian elements of their religion, that
would be the end of it. Muslims then may as well convert to Methodism, or
join the Amish.
Europe is now reaping the fruits of its policy of
“toleration” of the irrational in more respects than one. The one that
will capture the headlines will be the demand for self-censorship of
Europeans regarding their Muslim neighbors and citizens. Dare to question
the wisdom of the Koran, or satirize Muslims, or claim that the rule of
law should supersede the primitive, concrete-bound precepts of Islam, and
the censor may be a man with a carving knife, ready and willing to silence
the offender forever. Europe has been put on notice: Heads will roll.
Can it happen here, in the United States? Possibly.
Canada is already showing signs of surrendering to its Muslim activists in
the field of law. Our own multiculturalists and the Council on
American-Islamic Relations, among others, are working on the terms of
Will Europe take action to preserve its civilization, or
will it tolerate this new brand of terror at the price of being
assimilated by its barbarian “guests”? Will Theo van Gogh serve as the
modern Roland of Roncesvalles, or will Europeans blink if Michelangelo’s
David is smashed by Islamic puritans in a campaign to eradicate infidel
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