On Nov. 2, 2004, the Dutch filmmaker, author and activist Theo Van Gogh (great grand nephew of the famous painter) was riding his bike to work in Amsterdam when he was shot eight times.
While lying helpless and grievously wounded, he begged his assassin for his life crying: “Mercy! Mercy! We can talk about it can’t we?” But Mohammed Bouyeri was in no mood to talk. He calmly shot Van Gogh several more times, attempted to decapitate him, and then plunged a knife deep into the dead man’s chest. Van Gogh's crime was to produce a 10-minute short film, "Submission," that highlighted the plight of women in the Muslim world. The Dutchman paid for his right to speak freely with his life.
We are often told that a few crackpot extremists do not represent Islam and it is unfair to associate their religion with violence because of unhinged men like Bouyeri. But in the wake of the recent Paris atrocities and now San Bernardino I have to wonder. I do hope this is the case. But I am a numbers guy, given my years on Wall Street. For me any discussion of global Islam and its place in the modern world, the West in particular, is to first deal with data, not hope. So here are some facts to frame the discussion.
People watch as Muslims attend the noon prayer during an open day at Lakemba Mosque on October 31, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Mosques held open days across the country to help foster better relations between Muslim and non-Muslim Australians. (Daniel Munoz/Getty Images)
Since 9/11, the watchdog site TheReligionofPeace.com has documented over 27,300 acts of violence around the world committed explicitly in the name of Allah and his prophet. This comes as no surprise to an historian as Mohammed himself waged over 60 military campaigns in which looting and murdering of his enemies while enslaving their wives and children were commonplace. He even personally oversaw the beheading of several hundred Jewish men and pubescent boys of the Banu Qurayza. Indeed, the Koran, which true Muslims believe is the unalterable final word of Allah, is awash in violent passages which both outnumber and supersede the earlier more peaceful recitations when Mohammed had not yet risen to power. There may be many peace-loving Muslims, but Islam itself, based on the teachings and examples of the man who founded it, is not, by definition, a “religion of peace.”
Now, admittedly there is rampant violence in the Old Testament as well. But this is where the self-examination of modern and reformed Judeo-Christian enlightened societies comes into play. We have on the whole opted to discard the more violent passages of the Bible as primitive, immoral, and mostly figurative. Christians instead point to the New Testament. Even ardent atheists will agree that Jesus Christ was a man of peace who possessed such enlightened tolerance that he cried out in agony for God to forgive his tormentors while spiked to a beam. Mohammed not so much.
Theology aside, what do Van Gogh’s murder over a decade ago and the more recent attacks on two of the world's most advanced and tolerant nations in the span of a month symbolize?
To me they reveal in the light of day a strain of virulent intolerance that, Ben Affleck’s protests aside, seems to be a part of Islam at its core. Certainly it has taken root today; we hear little outcry from so-called Muslim leaders denouncing this latest of a long list of butcheries in the name of the holy prophet. One apologist meme is that it would be dangerous to do so, but does this not reinforce the premise of Islam's violent dysfunction?
Besides, research belies the notion that just a tiny sliver of Islamic extremism lurks amid an otherwise vast community of peaceful, tolerant types anxious to live in happy co-existence with their non-Muslim neighbors. Data shows the majority of Muslims are indeed peaceful.
But there is a dangerously large minority who are not. And they tend to be the young, ergo the future of Islam. Van Gogh’s murderer was, in fact, a second-generation 26-year-old Dutch national. The mastermind of the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam was a 26-year-old Belgian-born French national. Sayed Farook and Tashfeen Malik of San Bernardino were in their late 20s.
This undated combination of photos provided by the FBI, left, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles shows Tashfeen Malik, left, and Syed Farook. (FBI, left, and California Department of Motor Vehicles via AP)
A recent Pew Forum survey gives a fascinating overview of the attitudes of Islamic countries across the globe from Bangladesh to Lebanon. The findings are too numerous to mention but one data-point struck me as worth highlighting.
As many as 40 percent of Palestinians believe suicide bombing justified; 39 percent of Afghanis; 29 percent of Egyptians; even 26 percent of so-called peaceful Bangladeshis. That is an awful lot of support for such a heinous and cowardly crime whose immorality ought to be self-evident. A different poll by ICM shows that 27 percent of Frenchmen between the ages of 18 and 24 have a favorable attitude towards Islamic State ... and this was after the Charlie Hebdo bloodbath.
Attitudes towards women in the Muslim world are vile. Either the majorities or sizeable minorities believe women should blindly obey their husbands … in short be relegated to second-class citizenship. Such views of course leaves women highly vulnerable to sanctioned sexual abuse and violence. So if Mr. Affleck is so inclined to practice what he preaches and go live for a spell in an Islamic country he best tell his wife Jennifer Garner to shelve her own lucrative acting career, cover up, and get with the misogynistic program.
In a society, demographics is destiny. As such, the West is, quite simply, dying out through lack of stock replenishment. For every 100 ethnic/native Greeks today, for example, they will yield only 40 Greek grandchildren. Similar population implosions are well underway in Italy, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, indeed all Western European nations save Albania - which is a not coincidentally Muslim country.
Those Muslims already in Europe are having children at a rate four times greater than ethnic Europeans. For those of us who are proud to be a part of the West, the Islamification of Europe is a disconcerting fate accompli. Many self-loathing Europeans are discovering too late that “multi-culturalism” for Muslim immigrants is really just a one-way street that demands blind tolerance of host countries to the point of cultural suicide. Angela Merkel has said as much.
With honesty in mind, let us not look at how “peaceful” Muslim enclaves behave when in the minority, for they are as adept at playing the bullied victim as any—even as they brazenly build the largest Mosque in Western Europe in Rome (the traditional heart of Christendom) or a Muslim cultural center just two blocks from Ground Zero.
The question is what do majority Muslim societies look like? It is no small thing that the most important Sunni state, Saudi Arabia, is a closed prison of a society in which women have few rights and all other faiths are unequivocally banned. Neither is it a mere footnote that the most important Shiite state, Iran, is headed by holocaust denying fanatics and Imams who funnel money and arms to Hezbollah, Hamas and other terror organizations while they relentlessly pursue nuclear weapons.
Many women in Saudi Arabia juggle Western influences, strict religious beliefs (Photo: AP)
On Freedom House’s “Worst Of The Worst” list of human rights abusers for 2012, 10 out of 15 were predominantly Muslim countries. In short, there is no country on earth where human rights have not been severely curtailed once Islam becomes the dominant force.
Does this observation fall under the catch-all phrase “Islamophobia”? This is an insidious term proffered by radical Muslim activists and their enablers in the politically correct class for years to mean any criticism of Islam no matter how justified. Yet a 2014 Open Doors USA study confirmed of the 50 worst nations for persecution of Christians, 37 of them are Muslim, or 74 percent.
“In fact,” sites CBN News, “while this number suggests that the other 13 countries making the top 50 are not Muslim—for example Kenya and Ethiopia—those doing the persecution there are. In other words, those persecuting Christians in 41 of 50 nations are Muslims; that is, a whopping 82 percent of all persecution around the globe is being committed by the adherents of Islam.”
Who are the intolerant again?
Surely, we say, those attitudes are left behind by our own American Muslim community. Well, yes and no. Among the older Muslims perhaps. But the young Muslims in America, according to Pew, seem to be more radicalized, more devout and more hostile towards the West than their parents.
Of those surveyed among 18-29 years old, 60 percent consider themselves Muslim first. Only 35 percent American first; 5 percent unsure. Even more unsettling, a full 15 percent consider suicide bombings justified and 5 percent are unsure. That 20 percent of any slice of any American sub-culture sample would consider suicide bombings justified is disturbing. It makes one wonder what really goes on behind closed doors in our ever more numerous mosques — 50 percent of Muslim youths attend mosque regularly.
Currently Muslims make up a mere six-tenths of one percent of the U.S. population (Christians by comparison 78 percent). However, the Pew estimates that a quarter of them are converts to the religion so birth rates alone are not the only indicator of Islam’s future spread in America. Under the guise of cultural outreach the Saudi government spends billionsexporting through mosque construction, religious schools, literature, prison outreach, etc. its intolerant and militant strain of Wahhabi Islam to the United States … while banning any other religious expression in its own prison kingdom, of course.
And what happens when Islam does become the dominant force in pockets here in our own land of the free?
One need only look at Dearborn, Michigan to get a taste of the treatment in store for the Bill Of Rights as Muslim activist entities, so adept at hiding behind its protections when in the minority, no longer need said protections. In 2012 a group of Christians rallying in the center of town during an Arab festival were pelted with rocks, eggs, bottles, verbally abused and threatened with death for expressing their right to peaceable assembly and speech. The police were pathetically cowered and, in the end, chose to avoid confrontation, First Amendment be damned. Such thug intimidation of religious expression should never happen in the United States. But it did. And no arrests were made. Virulent Islam, the religion of peace founded by a war criminal, won the day.
For those Muslims who take offense at this piece, I frankly no longer care about hair-trigger sensibilities that stir up anger and even murderous rampages over silly cartoons but nary a peep over atrocities committed in Allah’s name all over the world every day from London to Paris to Madrid to Boston and San Bernardino. Part of living in the Western world is accepting that the cherished right to speak freely and believe in whatever god we wish, or none at all for that matter, far outweighs the contrived right to never be offended. Christians and Jews deal with it every day.
From 9/11 to Theo Van Gogh to Charlie Hebdo and the latest Paris blood-letting and now California, far too many have died at the hands of the "religion of peace". The victims should be remembered by those in the West who actually have an affinity for its cultural, artistic and scientific achievements and its progression of human rights; the hard-won accumulation of a millennium of collective advancement from Magna Carta through to the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation and Civil Rights movement. If we remember why the many innocents were murdered and by whom, and we use their martyrdom to steel ourselves to protect the society we hold dear from the forces of medieval superstition and cultism, then they will not have died in vain. Personally if the choice is binary, I’d rather live in a land of free “Islamaphobes” than politically correct slaves.
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Muslims stone Christian activists in Dearborn, MI.