Last week, Prince Charles of Wales visited the White House. His mission, as the UK Telegraph described it, was to "persuade George W. Bush and Americans of the merits of Islam this week because he thinks the United States has been too intolerant of the religion since Sept. 11."
His timing could not have been much worse. As Prince Charles spoke with the president, Muslim rioters throughout France burned cars, shot at policemen, and launched gasoline bombs on schools and churches. Over 1,200 people have already been arrested. This rioting follows on the heels of a surefire Darwin Award situation, wherein two Muslim juvenile delinquents fleeing French police holed up in a power plant and electrocuted themselves. That tragedy sparked a maelstrom of rage among France's large Muslim minority, which has responded by setting France's major cities alight.
In the typically French way, President Jacques Chirac stated publicly that the French republic would remain "stronger than those who want to sow violence or fear." Privately, however, he told the president of Latvia that the riots were France's fault, largely due to the "ghettoisation [sic] of youths of African or North African origin" and France's "incapacity to fully accept them."
Maybe, just maybe, Europe doesn't get it.
When Muslim terrorists murder 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, the European response is to lecture Americans about their "intolerance" (this is actually Prince Charles' second attempt to teach Americans some European manners -- in November 2001, Charles labeled American response to Sept. 11 "too confrontational"). When Muslim terrorists bomb Madrid, the European response is to elect a socialist apologist for Islamist terrorism. When Muslim terrorists bomb London, the European response is to complain about increased safety measures. And when Muslims riot and burn half of France, the European solution is to apologize for their own close-mindedness.
This is called enabling. The global Muslim community has shown itself to be aggressive internationally, isolationist domestically and often violent religiously. The solution to such behavior isn't kowtowing -- it's strong and forceful opposition. Yet because of political correctness, because so many on the international left are afraid to label the indefensible (SET ITAL) as (END ITAL) indefensible, Western civilization finds itself in flames.
Because this is only the first step. Historically speaking, France, as detestable as it has been since at least the French Revolution, has been a bellwether for Western civilization. The French Revolution viciously initiated the rise of liberal democracy; the Paris Revolution of 1848 inflamed revolution throughout Europe; French inadequacy during World War II plunged Europe into extended darkness; French involvement in Vietnam led to American involvement; France's inability to hold Algeria signaled an end to colonialism; French capitulation to terrorism (in Algeria as elsewhere) has from the beginning boded ill for the fate of Westerners engaged in the struggle against Islamism.
Should Western civilization adopt the "multicultural" policy-making of the French government, all of Western civilization could meet the fate France currently faces. France has allowed its Muslim minority to remain insulated and extreme. France has virtually ignored its burgeoning population problem -- decline of native population combined with a drastic rise in Muslim immigration has quickly changed the character of the country. And France's foreign policy has been spineless and capitulatory from the beginning, shrugging off Islamist terrorism by citing to differences in political and social perceptions in the Muslim world.
The essentially French notion that man is inherently good, malleable and perfectible (a notion springing from a rejection of God and a replacement theology deifying man) leads the French government to embrace the idea that all problems can be solved through higher levels of social tolerance and economic support. But just because humanistic ideology dominates in France does not mean it dominates France's Muslim population, nor Muslim masses worldwide. Whether France is prepared to fight or not, radical Muslims spurred by their religious beliefs certainly are. It is irrelevant whether Muslim terrorists and rioters are motivated by a perverse vision of their religion, or whether they represent the mainstream. The bottom line is this: The current conflict is ideological, not social or economic. The conflict will not be solved by sending welfare dollars into mosques or by embracing French Muslims as Frenchmen.
Westerners, including Prince Charles, should take note: France's greater "tolerance" does not translate into peace and goodwill. Shying away from an ideological conflict does not prevent that conflict from taking place -- it only allows the enemy to run roughshod over you.