"Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder." -- Arnold Toynbee
As Danish embassies and European Union offices smolder in Beirut, Damascus, Gaza and Tehran -- the result of a junior varsity jihad -- the time could not be more apt for Bruce Bawer's "While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within," due out at the end of this month. Bawer is a gay American with a flair for languages who moved to Europe in 1999 to escape what he perceived to be the narrow-mindedness of the Christian right in America.
The move changed him. It also afforded a front row seat at the clash of civilizations now flaring into flames. If American Christian conservatives seemed intolerant to Bawer, they were cream puffs in comparison with the Islamofascists who are multiplying in Europe. Theo van Gogh produced a film about the mistreatment of women in the Islamic community and was assassinated by an unrepentant Islamist who defiantly told the dead man's mother, "I cannot feel for you because I believe you are an infidel." A rumor swept the Muslim world that American soldiers in Guantanamo flushed the Koran down a toilet, and violence erupted worldwide. European newspapers published cartoons insulting to Mohammad, and death threats poured in, embassies were set ablaze, and red-faced Muslims now vow jihad throughout the world.
The Muslim world clearly is not composed solely of murderous fanatics -- but only the most self-deluded would deny that the umma is under the sway of its most radical, medieval and intolerant members. It is they who have the wind at their backs at this moment of history. Forty percent of Britain's Muslims hold a favorable view of Osama bin Laden. Hopeful Westerners continue to call for moderate Muslims to speak up. But, as Bawer asks, "[W]here were the moderate Muslims? British Muslims seemed sincerely to deplore the London attacks. But though hundreds of thousands of them had marched in protest against the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, 7/7 occasioned no sizable Muslim protest demonstration against Islamic terror . . . if that silent majority existed at all, it had to be one of the most silent majorities ever. It had remained silent after 9/11, Madrid, Beslan, and van Gogh's murder."