May 4, 2006

Happy Progenitor B's Day

Or should that be Umm's Day? George Weigel on Europe's two culture wars: On the one hand there's an authoritarian impulse to cleanse the vocabulary of Europe of all "judgmental" words and phrases, which amounts to an attack on Europe's Christian heritage.

On the other, there's the rise of radical Islam, exacerbated by Europe's declining birthrate and the squeamishness of multi-culti Europeans who don't want to be seen as judgmental.
Sixty years after the end of World War II, the European instinct for appeasement is alive and well. French public swimming pools have been segregated by sex because of Muslim protests. “Piglet” mugs have disappeared from certain British retailers after Muslim complaints that the A.A. Milne character was offensive to Islamic sensibilities. So have Burger King chocolate ice-cream swirls, which reminded some Muslims of Arabic script from the Qur’an. [Bruce] Bawer reports that the British Red Cross banished Christmas trees and nativity scenes from its charity stores for fear of offending Muslims. For similar reasons, the Dutch police in the wake of the van Gogh murder destroyed a piece of Amsterdam street art that proclaimed “Thou shalt not kill”; schoolchildren were forbidden to display Dutch flags on their backpacks because immigrants might think them “provocative.”

The European media frequently censor themselves in matters relating to domestic Islamic radicalism and crimes committed by Muslims, and, with rare exceptions, their coverage of the war against terrorism makes the American mainstream media look balanced. When domestic problems related to Muslim immigrants do come to light, the typical European reaction, according to Bawer, is usually one of self-critique. In Malmö, Sweden, the country’s third-largest city, rapes, robberies, school-burnings, “honor” killings, and anti-Semitic agitation got so out of hand that large numbers of native Swedes reportedly moved out; the government blamed Malmö’s problems instead on Swedish racism, and chastised those who had wrongly conceived of integration in “two hierarchically ordered categories, a ‘we’ who shall integrate and a ‘they’ who shall be integrated.”

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