In a recent YouTube video, a de facto symposium of world-class scholars and political authors, including Paul Williams, Melanie Phillips, Bernard Lewis, and Mark Steyn, have united to articulate a grim and pressing warning to a seemingly insensible Western world. As Steyn tells it, the world’s most advanced societies are starting to go out of business, on the one hand refusing to assess and confront the gathering Islamic storm that threatens their survival and, on the other, losing out in the reproductive sweepstakes. Europe in particular is poised to suffer a Damoclean fate. Tracing an inverted family tree in which four grandparents and two parents produce one child, the continent is losing the battle of generational replenishment. It is only a matter of time before Europe as we know it closes shop and a burgeoning Islamic ummah accomplishes its version of a corporate takeover.
Meanwhile, it would be a mistake to conclude that a vibrant and rejuvenated Islam is patiently waiting for the inevitable historical denouement to occur. On the contrary, even as it prepares to celebrate its demographic triumph, it is robustly — and successfully — pursuing its evident intention to assert itself as a destabilizing factor in European society. And its most powerful ally in its campaign of eventual conquest is the European postmodern elite itself, for whom one truth is as good as another and no culture is worse than any other — with the exception, naturally, of the Judeo-Christian armature of norms and values now regarded as both decadent and expendable. Europe’s political class, public intellectuals, journalists, activist judges, talking heads, and, oddly enough, parts of the clergy have banded together as a fifth column to usher in a new dispensation, which Bat Ye’or and others have aptly dubbed Eurabia.
How could so unprecedented a collapse of will and principle have taken place? How is it possible that, in the words of Bernard Lewis from the video discussion, Muslims “now consider Europe the House of Islam”? And that the European intelligentsia have given them the key to the front door?
The continent is suffering from what we might call Islamolepsy, the kind of rigidity found in schizophrenia and hypnotic trances, now transposed upon a collective cultural sensibility and reducing it to a condition of social and political helplessness. It does not know how to fight back; indeed, apart from a few pitiful twitches like banning articles of clothing, it is increasingly incapable of doing so. Sharia law is gradually being introduced in Britain, with the approval of Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury — a harbinger of things to come in other EU countries. Counter episodes are unconvincing. Much has been made, for example, of Switzerland’s curtailing of minarets, but the new mega-mosque in Cologne, Germany, will boast two 18-storey high minarets, and in Belgium Christian churches are being turned into mosques, a scene straight out of French novelist Jean Raspail’s premonitory The Camp of the Saints. There are currently 6,000 mosques in Europe and the number is growing.
Far more worrisome, America as well may be gradually succumbing to the same pandemic. Melanie Phillips, author of Londonistan and The World Turned Upside Down, laments that Europe now malingers in a state of denial, “and to a certain extent, America too.” But it is far more than a certain extent, as the current Park51 mosque controversy makes amply clear. Whether or not the mosque should be built two blocks from Ground Zero has triggered a vehement debate among the American public, but it is the minor question. The major concern is whether or not Islam should be permitted to infiltrate the living plasm of American society — an issue for which the Ground Zero mosque is merely representative, functioning as a symbol and an attention-concentrator.
What is most astonishing is that the question even needs to be raised in the first place, since the slightest acquaintance with the historical brunt of Islam, its desire to establish a world-dominant caliphate, its 1400-year record of conquest, spoliation and oppression, its doctrinal ordnance which enjoins the suppression or murder of the infidel in surah after surah of the Koran and the ancillary literature, its practice of taqiyyah (or obligatory lying as a form of defense under duress, as in Koran 16: 106, which has been interpreted to mean deception in order to promote its underlying agenda), and its campaign to impose sharia law upon the social and juridical framework of a free society — all this should have alerted us immediately to the menace. That is, assuming we were awake and sentient.
The sort of contentions we have been witnessing could only occur in favored societies — the U.S. no less than Europe — for which the real world lies somewhere beyond their borders, despite the blows they may have received. As a result, they can preoccupy themselves with febrile pieties, idle or inexpedient disputes, recondite theories, sentimental indulgences, intellectual fantasies and utopian schemes that must inevitably fail. These are societies that are able to preen themselves on their sophistication and enlightenment only because they have managed to retire into an arbor of relative peace and considerable opulence. They feel no hazard in inviting the 7th century into the 21rst while deprecating their own traditions, usages, and foundational premises. It should be conceded, however, that the chief culprits in the charade of self-delegitimation derive mainly from the more advantaged and connected strata of society.
This is certainly true for three of Park51’s most prominent champions, the American president himself, New York’s bleeding heart mayor Michael Bloomberg, and America’s doyen libertarian, the ineffable Ron Paul. These influential appeasers don’t seem to understand what is going on out there beyond their insulated thought bubbles — though some, it may be, only pretend not to. They don’t seem to be at all disconcerted by the far more serious problem to which Michael Ledeen draws our attention, the 1200 radical mosques that stipple the American landscape, breeding grounds for the Islamization of the United States.
The propitiators among us are equally blind to an attendant and escalating phenomenon, namely, jihadi training camps like Islamberg in upstate New York where recruits and converts to the Faith Militant are taught to handle firearms and acquire bomb-making skills. As Paul Williams, author of The Day of Islam, discloses, Islamberg is only one of thirty such compounds across the U.S. affiliated with Jamat al-Fuqra, a paramilitary organization founded by Pakistani cleric Sheik Mubarak Ali Gilani. These are Waziristan-type enclaves on American soil which are being allowed to ramify and which have already committed acts of violence, including firebombings and assassinations going back to the 1980s. And yet little is being done to police or dismantle them.
Perhaps the most distressing fact of all is not so much the craftiness of the Muslim actors in the current drama — this is to be expected — but the utter naivety and mental sclerosis of our media mavens, public intellectuals, and a hefty segment of the political class who have rallied to the Islamic cause — though perhaps this too was to be expected. The “willful blindness” that Andrew McCarthy speaks about, and explores more fully in The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America, has descended upon us like a biblical plague, which is now beginning to look like a permanent condition. A toxic mix of credulousness and fear has infected an entire generation of ingenues, sophists, socialist fellow-travelers, timeservers, and sycophants who are devotedly bringing their country into harm’s way. How can we explain what is nothing less than a passion for self-immolation, a welcoming of the encroaching darkness?
What we are observing, I suspect, is the onset of a debilitating disorder which manifests as a seizure of the mental organ, a lack of elasticity in responding to complex and threatening situations. It is as if the mind has been paralyzed by a variant form of cataleptic fit, characterized by fixity of posture, obliviousness to external stimuli, loss of control, and diminished sensitivity to pain. The malady is induced by profound emotional shock accompanied by withdrawal from reality — an unconscious way, perhaps, of amortizing the great multicultural blunder for which we are responsible but cannot admit to ourselves. Knowing subliminally that we have been instrumental in soliciting our own ruin, and too weak to respond decisively, the only asylum that remains is a species of dementia that shields us from the truth.
In other words, those who suffer from the distemper, as it emerges in the social and political sphere, are simply unable to acknowledge, absorb, and confront the magnitude of what is transpiring before their very eyes. They cannot discriminate among the external stimuli or recognize them for what they are. Suicide bombings, terrorist strikes, multiple casualties, stealth jihad, meretricious vouchers of good intentions, legal assaults, cultural implosion, a billion-strong adversary riding the wave of the future — it is all too much for our Islamoleptic media, intelligentsia, entertainers, and political masters to fully take in. It appears they have sought refuge from the unassimilable in a classic fugue state or succumbed to split-mind syndrome. As Martin Amis astutely comments in The Second Plane, “The death cult always benefits, initially at least, from its capacity to astonish and stupefy.” I quibble only with Amis’ “initially.” The trouble is that once stupefaction sets in, it tends to make itself at home.
The etiology of the affliction that merits the name of Islamolepsy issues, it bears repeating, in a host of predictable symptoms: the rejection of personal complicity, the denial of palpable reality, the construction of an alternate world in which a bellicose and inimical claim to ascendancy is blithely endorsed, the rigid and untenable conviction of superior insight, the false consolation of intellectual torpor and, of course, the tendency to fall back on moral histrionics to discredit those who can still see clearly.
The prognosis is not encouraging, for Islamolepsy resembles the most tenacious and virulent of pathologies. Perhaps it is even incurable.