It is perhaps fitting that on the day I was to begin my review of Bruce Bawer’s magnum opus on Islam, Islam: the Essays, that Facebook would send me a notice stating that my “Free Tommy Robinson Philadelphia” page had been deleted because of “hate speech.” My Robinson page criticized Islam as an ideology but it did not attack individual Muslims at all. Still, why should I have been surprised at the censorship? We’re living in a new world where criticizing a group — in this case, Islam — is tantamount to the worst obscenity. For me it was an epiphanous moment that brought Bawer’s new book of essays to life. It also got me thinking about other brave writers who aren’t afraid to tell the truth about Islam: Oriana Fallaci in The Rage and The Pride; Pat Buchanan; and James V. Schall, S.J., whose little book, On Islam, published by Ignatius Press, was released last year.
“The first is that the West insists on seeing Islam through the lenses of its own modern, liberal theories about religion, freedom, and human motivation. Islam is just another religion; we are told that it acts like other religions, even when it does not,” Schall writes.
Salman Rushdie, author of Satanic Verses, which got the Ayatollah Khomeini to put a fatwa on his head in 1989, not long ago told France’s L’Express, “We are living in the darkest time I have ever known. I’ve since had the feeling that, if the attacks against Satanic Verses had taken place today, these people would not have defended me, and would have used the same arguments against me, accusing me of insulting an ethnic and cultural minority.”
Let’s get back to Bawer, whose 817-page opus is as thick as Jean-Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness and weighs as much as the cornerstone of a building. The weight of the book alone might be said to symbolize what it will take to “smack awake” the blindness of many in the West to the inherent dangers of the Religion of Peace. Islam: The Essays (Swamp Fox Books/Amazon) is a collection of the writer’s articles on the topic since 2002, especially from the pages of PJ Media, FrontPage, and City Journal. Some of the essays in the book later appeared in Bawer’s books, While Europe Slept, Surrender, and The New Quislings.
Bawer, who grew up in New York but moved to Western Europe (Amsterdam) in 1998, soon discovered that “European Muslims are more likely than their American counterparts to live in tightly knit religious communities, to adhere to a narrow fundamentalist faith, and to resist integration into mainstream society.” One evening he expressed these thoughts to a Dutch writer friend who had boasted that the Netherlands was in better shape than the U.S. because it did not have a Religious Right. “I knew very well, of course, that the Netherlands did indeed have a Religious Right, that it consisted of Islamic, not Christian, fundamentalists,” Bawer writes. That Bawer’s Dutch friend did not see the writing on the wall in his own birth country is one of those astounding facts that make books like Islam: The Essays necessary reading.
After leaving Amsterdam for Norway, where Bawer resides today, he returned to Amsterdam to visit his old neighborhood but is told by a police officer that he had better not do that. Why? Because a journalist’s car had been smashed by Muslims displeased with something the journalist had written about Islam. “Later,” Bawer writes, “I learned that the Rotterdam police had destroyed a street mural featuring the words, ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ a picture of an angel, and the date of Mr. van Gogh’s murder [filmmaker van Gogh, a critic of Islam, was stabbed to death by Mohammed Bouyenon the morning of November 2, 2004, as he cycled to work] because the leader of a nearby mosque reportedly considered it racist.” Even though Islam is a religion, not a race — although the Left would have you believe that they are one and the same.
In 2010, another critic of Islam, Dutch parliament member and Freedom Party founder Geert Wilders, looked like he would become that nation’s new prime minister. Wilders had tremendous popular support but, as Bawer notes, “he was despised by the Dutch political, cultural, educational, media, and business establishment, which has plainly decided not to fight the Netherlands’ Islamization.”
Fighting Islamization in Europe or even in Dearborn, Michigan, can be risky business. It can get you thrown in prison without an able defense in the form of an attorney, which is what happened to the UK’s Tommy Robinson during his Facebook live-stream coverage of a Muslim child gang-rape trial.
Bawer’s book is a World Atlas of Islamization. Pick a country, any country, and Bawer has a story for you — whether it’s Jew- or gay-bashing in the Netherlands, Jew-hate in Sweden, the American TSA industry (“Many of them are, not to put too fine a point on it, incredibly rude, stupid, and slovenly individuals who have been handed a degree of power that they never imagined in their wildest dreams that they would ever wield.”), Islam apologists like Karen Armstrong, Norwegian schools preaching the wonders of the niqab, or how Israel hosts gay pride marches while Muslim countries host gay executions. You’ll read something wonderful about that most unusual of beings: a real feminist who writes honestly about Islam, Phyllis Chesler. You’ll get a case of jeepers creepers when you read about the growing sharia mindset in Dearborn, Michigan. It’s in Dearborn, by the way, where a number of gay Arabs told a reporter in 2013 that “it can be less difficult for an Arab to be openly gay in Beirut than in Dearborn.”
Islam: The Essays is not the kind of book to be read from cover to cover. You may, of course, do that over time, or you may find it extremely useful as a permanent desk reference and a more-than-quotable source of wisdom. I found it useful to flip through the book backwards; that way I wasn’t daunted by the volume’s size. You’ll also need a well-sharpened No. 2 pencil because this tome is an underliners dream. The last essay entries date from 2018 and cover the Tommy Robinson case in the UK, what Bawer calls the “lockstep lies of the British media,” and the New York Times Book Review, “which has systematically ignored honest books about Islamic ideology.” Then there are the follies of French president Emmanuel Macron, whom Bawer calls “a political hack posing as a hero of freedom.
“Some hero,” Bawer explains, “he didn’t dare breathe the word Islam or Muslim or even jihad [after the rash of terrorist attacks in France]. But what else to expect from a man who has called for Arabic to be taught in every French high school, for ‘cathedral mosques’ to be built in every major French city, and for enhanced measures to be taken against critics of Islam?”
The author, finally, lays it on thick when he writes about Muslims over gays in the Left’s new victimization pecking order. To that end he quotes Delaware psychologist Michael Hurd: “Neither Madonna nor Meryl Streep will stand before mass audiences and sob over the brutal execution of gays by Muslims in Mosul, because this assaults their ideological narrative of political correctness. And that ideological narrative is what matters most to them, not the gays or others they claim to love.”