Almost every day, a report surfaces of some new act of often violent intolerance committed by Muslim minorities in Europe against their fellow citizens.
This week, the London Times reported that at the beginning of the month, Chris Crain, the editor of the Washington, DC-based gay magazine The Washington Blade was brutally beaten by a group of young Muslim males while he was vacationing with his partner in Amsterdam.
It turns out that Holland ? the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriages ? has become a dangerous place for gays. The Amsterdam Tourist Board felt constrained to issue a warning to gay and lesbian tourists to be careful when they visit the city in light of the rash of anti-homosexual violence perpetrated regularly by gangs of Muslim immigrant youth.
In Sweden today, Pentecostal preacher Runar Sogaard is now under police protection after receiving death threats from Muslims angry that he referred to Muhammad as a "confused pedophile" during a sermon. Members of the Kurdish terrorist group Ansar el-Islam reportedly received a religious edict to kill him for his remarks.
Rather than rally to Sogaard's defense, in an interview with the Swedish newspaper Expressen, Swedish Islam expert Jan Hjarpe, at the University of Lund, basically accused Sogaard of purposely stirring up trouble, saying, "It was a statement from an odd man in an odd sect but the effect is stronger antagonism between different groups. It becomes a pure religious polemic and is extremely unpleasant."
Reports from country after country in recent years have referred to entire neighborhoods where ambulances and fire trucks refuse to enter for fear of being attacked by Islamic immigrant gangs. Quite simply, the European response to this violence has been to pretend that it isn't happening as states exercise their sovereignty over decreasing areas of their territory.
The most discouraging cases of governmental passivity in the face of jihad-inspired local violence have occurred in France. On March 8, approximately 1,000 Muslim and black youths descended on tens of thousands of schoolchildren protesting against educational reforms in Paris. They beat them and taunted them, and according to a report in the Weekly Standard, "the general sentiment was a desire to 'take revenge on whites.'"
Also in France, at the end of March, Jean-Pierre Obin, the inspector-general of the French school system, submitted a report to the Education Ministry regarding religious expression in state schools. According to the Weekly Standard's write-up of the report, Obin found that schools attended by large numbers of Muslims are being systematically Islamized.
The most prominent victims of this trend are schoolgirls who, fearing violent attacks, have taken to wearing loose, long clothing to cover themselves, not only in schools but in the surrounding communities. Anti-Semitism has become so rampant that not only are Jewish children simply forced to study elsewhere, but the most popular insult that the schoolchildren now hurl at one another is "Jew."
Obin noted that the levels of Islamization are determined in large part by the degree to which teachers and administrators tolerate the students' behavior. In schools where the children's violence and aggressiveness was met with little tolerance, Islamization was lower than in schools where school officials have sought to appease the aggressors.
This conclusion clearly had little impact on the Education Ministry, which sought to squelch the report ? refusing to publish its findings until the report itself was leaked on the Internet.
Bat Ye'or, the prominent scholar of dhimmitude ? or the systematic discrimination and repression of non-Muslims by Muslim societies ? believes that the continent-wide phenomenon of Muslim aggression and intolerance met by European passivity and acceptance finds its roots in European policy toward the Arab world dating back to 1973.
According to her analysis, which is copiously documented in her recently released book, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, the current pathological relationship between the Muslim immigrant communities and the European majorities is the direct result of a decision by the leaders of Europe following the OPEC oil embargo to allow open immigration of Muslims to their countries and to accept the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference's demand that these immigrants would not only not be encouraged to integrate within their larger societies, but would be encouraged to maintain and cultivate their separate and intolerant ways of life.
Ye'or, who came to Israel this week to launch her book, is convinced that Europe is already too far along in its cultural decline and acceptance of its dhimmitude to save itself from ultimate destruction. She explains that she wrote her book in English and published it in the US because her target audience is "the Americans, who are the only society still capable of fighting the global jihad."
It is possible that Bat Ye'or's pessimistic view of Europe is correct. Her book makes a strong argument for believing that Europe, in casting its fortunes with the Arabs at the expense of the Americans and Israelis, long ago signed its own cultural and political death warrant.
And yet, in recent months we have seen an awakening of sorts among elements of European society to the threat posed to their way of life by the intolerant culture which in recent years has become the norm, rather than the exception, among Muslim immigrant populations.
Queen Margrethe of Denmark said last month that people have to take the "challenge" of Islam seriously. "We have to run the risk of being labeled in an unflattering way, because there are some things for which we should display no tolerance," she said.
In 2002, Denmark itself passed one of the toughest immigration reform statutes in the world, and other EU member states like Ireland and Holland are considering enacting similar statutes. The law stipulates that (as is the case in the US) the fact that a foreigner is married to a Danish citizen confers no legal right to reunification with his or her spouse. At the same time, throughout Europe, instances of longtime Muslim immigrants being deported from their European havens have become increasingly frequent occurrences in recent years.
And yet, as luck would have it, just as the Europeans seem to be taking the first tentative steps towards acknowledging and contending with the dangers posed to their ways of life by separatist and intolerant Islamic minorities, Israel, which faces a much more acute threat of physical destruction from the same forces, is rejecting the wisdom ? such as it is ? that is now instructing Europe's self-preservationists.
This past Sunday the government approved a change in immigration regulations governing the conferral of Israeli citizenship on Palestinians from Judea, Samaria and Gaza. From 1993-2003, some 130,000 Palestinians received Israeli citizenship by marrying Israeli Arab citizens. In 2003, after a number of these new citizens were actively involved in terrorism against Israel, the Knesset approved the government's temporary ban on all "family reunification."
Under the new regulation adopted on Sunday, Palestinian men over the age of 35 and Palestinian women over the age of 25 who marry Israeli citizens can again apply for Israeli citizenship and receive residency rights in Israel.
In so acting, the government paid no attention to the views of respected leftist Zionist legal scholars Profs. Amnon Rubinstein and Ruth Gavison. In an interview with Haaretz Rubinstein argues, "no country allows into its territory people who have attachments to the side that is fighting against the country during an armed confrontation." Rubinstein recommends that in any permanent immigration law, Israel should restrict the entry of nationals from enemy states into Israel.
For her part, Gavison, the former chairman of the leftist Association for Civil Rights in Israel, recommends that Israel demand that the person seeking citizenship integrate into the public culture and swear allegiance to Israel as a democratic Jewish state.
Indeed, the government seemed not to note the absurdity of basically enabling large-scale immigration to Israel of Palestinians. The irony of the move is painful given that the government is defending its decision to destroy Israeli communities in Gaza and northern Samaria as a way to defend Israel's Jewish majority, and at the same time as the Palestinians themselves are giving their support at the ballot box to Hamas ? a group whose declared policy is the destruction of Israel and its replacement with an Islamic state.
Fundamentally, there are two arguments which favor enabling Palestinian immigration to Israel. The first is put forward by Arab Israeli leaders like attorney Hasan Jabarin, the head of Adallah, an Arab-Israeli self-styled human rights group which, through generous funding from the liberal American-Jewish New Israel Fund, has gained prominence both in Israel and abroad for its insistence that Jewish nationalism is inherently racist.
In an op-ed in Haaretz on Wednesday, Jabarin argued that it is racist for Israel to differentiate between Jewish immigrants and Arab immigrants. Following Jabarin's lead, mainstream Israeli leftist bureaucrats like Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz have argued in interviews with Haaretz for enabling Palestinian immigration to Israel based on family reunification because, given the proximity of Israeli Arabs to the Palestinians, it would be unfair for Israel to restrict their dating habits.
Immigration reform advocates on the political Left couch their support for immigration in policymaking terms, arguing that the fact that Israel has yet to set up a methodical policy for non-Jewish immigration is a failure that needs to be addressed. There is no doubt that this is a true statement.
But Israel, like every sovereign state, has a right, and indeed a duty to its citizens, to engage in selective immigration policies based on economic status, political loyalties, security implications and national origins of prospective immigrants before conferring them with the privilege of Israeli citizenship. Sadly, in voting to reinstate Palestinian immigration to Israel on Sunday, our government ministers, unlike some of their wiser European counterparts, failed to take any of these issues into account.