"assimilation is a crime against humanity"

Yes, that's right: "assimilation is a crime against humanity." According, that it is, to the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who spoke these words to a cheering crowd of 20,000 Turkish expatriates in Cologne, Germany, earlier this year.

Wikipedia tells us that Erdogan is a major representative of "the moderate Islamist movement" in Turkey.

Moderate? I guess that means he is against steering stolen 767s into skyscrapers.

But Erdogan is by no means moderate when it comes to his ambitions for Islam in Europe. His remark about assimilation is one sign of that. Another is his observation, in 1998, that

"The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers."

I thank Erdogan for his forthrightness. It was, frankly, what I have thought all along, it is is one reason I look askance at building mosques in the West. In my view, they are para-military structures masquerading as religious buildings.

Were it up to me, I would make a deal: for every mosque erected in the West, we get a church or synagogue of equal size in Mecca or some other Islamic hot spot. The word for this bargain "reciprocity," an idea that is a sine qua non for any religious freedom worthy of the name "free." (Query: why should we allow Muslims to exploit our religious freedom to further the cause of Islamic absolutism, i.e., why should we let them employ the tolerance we extend to them to enforce intolerance against us? Just asking . . .)

But I digress. Prime Minister Erdogan was on my mind after reading Diana West's account of what just happened in Cologne, Germany's fourth largest city.

Cologne is home to some 120,000 Turkish Muslims, more than 10 percent of the city's population. It is also the proposed site of yet another "mega-Mosque," construction of which was narrowly approved last month by city officials. It was understandable, then, that Cologne should be selected as an appropriate venue for an event at which politicians and others cconcerned about the Islamicization of Europe would congregate to discuss the spread of Islamic law (Sharia) in what used to be Christian Europe. Some 1500 people were expected to participate. But, as West reports, "it was not to be." As the crowd assembled to listen to the speeches last weekend,

many more thousands of counter-demonstrators converged on the city specifically to deny rally supporters their right to assemble, and the politicians' right to speak. And yes, by whatever means necessary.

Like what?

The thugs among the counter-demonstrators mounted a rock-and-bottle attack that shattered windows on a river boat plying the Rhine where the politicians attempted to hold a pre-rally meeting. They blocked urban trains in order to keep rally participants away. They ringed the city center with barricades (tolerated by German police), hurled paint bombs, lit fires and launched violent attacks on some of the participants who managed to draw near the rally location. One would-be rally participant, a Jewish man, sent in an account of his ordeal to Gates of Vienna, writing: "I was wearing my kippah and readily identifiable as a Jew; however, they (the leftist counter-demonstrators) screamed at me 'Nazi Raus.'" He reported they also shoved him, spit on him, and called him a fascist pig. "I was pummeled in the head several times and then shoved to the ground where I was beaten and kicked with steel toe boots in plain sight of police who did nothing." He later discovered he had a broken rib.

The mayor of Cologne, Fritz Schramma, described this act of suppression as "a victory for the city of Cologne and a victory by the democratic forces of the city." Thanks for that, Fritz!

How was all this reported in "the mainstream press"? Mostly, it was ignored. And where it was reported? "[T]he consensus narrative," West writes, "dutifully repeated in the mainstream European media, is that it is the silenced and hounded politicians and their supporters who are the 'fascists'; while it is the silencers and hounders who are the 'anti-fascists.'"

Sound familiar? How do you spell "1938"?

I am writing this in London, city that every time I come is a little less English. Women wearing burqas used to be an exotic anomaly, sightings of which were confined to a few certifiably Muslim neighborhoods. Nowadays, you'll see them on Kensington High Street, St. James's, and the Strand. London has its own "mega-mosque" planned for the 2012 Olympic Games, which are to be held here. (Since we're spelling things, how about "pretext": how many Muslims participate in the Olympic Games?) The Islamicization of London has not progressed as far as the Islamicization of Cologne. And in the United States its progress is even more incipient. So should we worry? As West points out,

As in Europe, huge mosque complexes are opening across the States -- one very recently in Boston and another in Atlanta. Do they portend the extension and entrenchment of Islamic law in the United States? One difference between the United States and Europe is that we don't have street thugs enforcing a code of silence on the subject. That's because of the other difference: We don't have any political parties willing, or even able to discuss it.

Not very encouraging, is it?