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    Front Page
     Feb 12, 2008
Page 1 of 2
Europe in the house of war

By Spengler

Violence is oozing through the cracks of European society like pus out of a broken scab. Just when liberal opinion congratulated itself that Europe had forsaken its violent past, the specter of civil violence has the continent terrified. That is the source of the uproar over a February 7 speech by Archbishop Rowan Williams, predicting the inevitable acceptance of Muslim sharia law in Great Britain.

Not since World War II has British opinion been provoked to the present level of outrage. Writing in the Times of London, the editor of the London Spectator, Matthew d'Ancona, quoted former British



Conservative parliamentarian Enoch Powell's warning that concessions to alien cultures would cause "rivers of blood" to flow in the streets of England. Times columnist Minette Marin accuses the archbishop of treason.

Coercion in the Muslim communities of Europe is so commonplace that duly-constituted governments there no longer wield a monopoly of violence. Behind the law there stands the right of the state to inflict violence, and the legitimacy of states rests on what German political economist and sociologist Max Weber once called "the monopoly of violence". Once this right is conceded to private groups, the legitimacy of government crumbles. No one appreciates this more than the British, whose tradition of protecting individual rights under law is the oldest and strongest in the West, excepting the United States, which inherited English Common Law.

By proposing to concede a permanent role to extralegal violence in the political life of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury pushed his phlegmatic countrymen over the edge. No one is better than the British at pretending that problems really aren't there, but once their spiritual leader admits to an alien source of coercion and proposes to legitimize it, they understand that a limit has been reached.

Williams' exercise in what might be termed the Higher Hypocrisy shows how deeply Europe has descended into the Dar al-Harb, or the "House of War" in the Muslim terms for all that lies outside the "house of submission", or Dar al-Islam. Europe's governments refuse to rule, that is, refuse to enforce their own laws because they fear violence on the part of Muslim immigrant communities who refuse to accept these laws. "No-go" zones proliferate that non-Muslims dare not enter. In the United Kingdom, according to evidence presented by respected journalists and public-interest organizations, Muslim community organizations, Muslim police officers and medical personnel collaborate to stop women from escaping domestic violence.

The erring spiritual leader of the Church of England persuades me that Europe's Man of Destiny is the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who for two years has lived in hiding under constant police protection for the crime of criticizing Islam. It is a measure of the degradation of Europe's body politic that is only one means to expose the motives of Williams and his ilk, namely to draw fire from Muslims who overtly threaten violence against any public figure who questions the authority of Islam.

Contrary to his critics, Wilders is not provoking violence. The violence is already there, a matter of workaday fact in Muslim enclaves throughout Europe. In an act of great personal courage, Wilders is enticing violent elements out of the tall grass in order to expose them to public opprobrium.

It is triply hypocritical when Williams, the spiritual leader of the Church of England, speaks of sharia law as if it were a private matter of conscience between consenting parties, rather like the use of rabbinical courts by Orthodox Jews. First, he admits outright that Muslim communities combine to coerce women but pretends that this is not relevant to sharia. Secondly, he offers concessions to sharia in the first place to appease the threat of social violence on the part of Muslims. As a final insult to conscience, he cites as his authority on sharia Professor Tariq Ramadan, who notoriously refuses to condemn the stoning of women for adultery, precisely because Muslim legal rulings specifically endorse such violence.

There is overwhelming documentation that Muslim entities in Britain wield the threat and fact of violence against dissenters, particularly the most vulnerable, namely young women. The fact is so scandalous that in his February 7 address, Williams felt compelled to address it directly, in order to insist that the subject fell entirely outside the issue of law - a conclusion he must know to be false.

Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the bishop of Rochester, warned on January 7 of the spread of "no-go" zones in England that non-Muslims dare not enter. As a result, Nazir-Ali has received death threats against himself and his family and requires protection.

The British authorities will take measures to protect bishops from the threat of violence, but they leave to their own devices thousands of Muslim women. According to a February 2008 report by the Center for Social Cohesion, Islamist groups and individuals frequently link ideas of honor with the welfare of the Muslim world. By using words such as Ird and Namus in a political context, they imply that by protecting the chastity of Muslim women, the security and collective honor of Islam and Muslim states and individuals can also be defended. This politicization of women's bodies helps create an environment where the abuse and control of women is tolerated.

Muslim communities, the report documents, terrorize women who refuse arranged marriages or otherwise break with social norms:
Almost all refuges dealing with Asian women report on the existence of informal networks which exist to track down and punish - with death if necessary - women who are perceived as bringing shame on their family and community. In many cases, women fleeing domestic violence or forced marriages have been deliberately returned to their homes or betrayed to their families by policemen, councilors and civil servants of immigrant origin.
Muslim coercion against women extends to psychiatric hospitals, the Times of London's religion correspondent Ruth Gledhill reported on February 7 (cited in Rod Dreher's indispensable Crunchy Con blog, .) Glenhill quoted a women's rights advocate as follows:
The men get tired of their wives. Or bored. Or maybe the wife objects to her daughter being forced into a marriage she doesn't want. Or maybe she starts wearing Western clothes. There can be many reasons. The women are sent for assessment to a hospital. The GP [general practitioner] referring them is Muslim. The psychiatrist assessing them is Muslim and male. I have sat in these assessments where the psychiatrist will not look the woman patient in the eye because she is a woman. Can you imagine! A psychiatrist refusing to look his patient in the eye? The woman speaks little or no English. She is sectioned (committed to a psychiatric ward). She is divorced. There are lots of these women in there, locked up in these hospitals. Why don't you people write about this?
That brings us back to the archbishop of Canterbury, who acknowledged the fact of coercion of women in his February 7 address, but insisted that because it belonged to "custom" rather than "religious law", he preferred to change the subject:
Recognition of "supplementary jurisdiction" in some areas, especially family law, could have the effect of reinforcing in minority communities some of the most repressive or retrograde elements in them, with particularly serious consequences for the role and liberties of women. The "forced marriage" question is the one most often referred to here, and it is at the moment undoubtedly a very serious and scandalous one; but precisely because it has to do with custom and culture rather than directly binding enactments by religious authority, I shall refer to another issue.

Continued 1 2 


The Complete Spengler


1. Racy photos strip heart-throb's image

2. US-Russia deal upstages Iran

3. Ceasefire: A lull before the storm

4. Iran shakes pillars of nuclear accord

5. Missing genius

6. Ephemeral hell

7. What 'Mrs Smith' didn't see in Iraq

8. A 'big budget' tragi-comedy

9. India shoots out of Iran's orbit

10. Golden prices as supply falls

(Feb 8-10, 2008)

 
 



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