A sobering piece on the future of the West from the Belfast Telegraph (thanks to Nicolei):
SEMSIYE ALLAK, a 35-year-old Turkish Kurd, was caught as she fled with her married lover, Hilal Acil, across the wilderness of south-east Turkey. Pregnant with Acil’s child, she was held to have brought such shame upon her family that she must be punished.
Sentence of death had been duly agreed at a family council meeting. Her family caught up with the pair outside the town of Mardin, near the Iraqi frontier, and attacked them with stones and knives.
Acil was killed quickly. Semsiye, rendered unconscious with a fractured skull, got to hospital. There, she took more than six months to die.
One day last June she was buried in a pauper’s grave at Diyarbakira, a long way from her home, attended only by the cemetery workers and a couple of women campaigners seeking an end to the barbarity which had cost her her life.
There are two important facets to this tragic story which interlock.
The first is that Semsiye’s family are Muslims. They were indulging in an “honour” killing, necessary to avenge the dishonour she had brought upon them by consorting with a married man. The second is that all this happened in Turkey, a candidate country knocking on the door in Brussels, seeking entry to the European Union.
Suddenly, in the wake of Madrid, what at first seems remote from northern Europe becomes very immediate.
There are now some two million Muslims living in the United Kingdom. Birmingham alone has 70 mosques. By no means all of them would countenance Sharia law, the Islamic code which prescribes stoning to death as the punishment for adultery.
But it has its devotees within the UK. Members declare open support for Osama bin Laden. Associates run secret week-end training camps round London and Birmingham. There youths practise the martial arts, learn first aid and are later sent abroad for military training. Some of the Twin Towers’ hijackers trained in Britain.
The problem faced by European governments like our own is that, however peaceful all but a few of their Muslims may be, the philosophy of Islam is not to identify with the culture of the particular nation state within which its people have settled.
Northern Ireland, of all places, knows how high the price can be when the notion of nationhood is either denied or disputed.
It is from the nation that there flows the vital social cement which creates a community; and it is from the community that common ideals grow; from common citizenship derives the shared allegiance which can override ancient tribal loyalties.
Yes, we are getting near the knuckle here; for this is the crucial weak point of the Belfast Agreement. There has been no shared allegiance; and without it no government will survive for long.
Common allegiance is becoming a source of concern for the nation states of Europe for two reasons. One is that man has never before been so mobile. Whole communities are on the move. The second reason is that three refugees in every four are Muslims.
Ask a Muslim in Britain whether it is more important for him to be Muslim or to be British. Eight out of ten will choose their religion. This presages problems. Religions are not democratic. They have absolute rules.
These rules can conflict with the mix of rights and responsibilities which are the lot of a citizen in a democracy. The Sharia code is an extreme example. It is Muslim Turkey’s mixed rights record that is slowing its bid to gain admission to the EU.
Christianity has come to terms with democracy by compromising on its absolute rules. They are not forcibly applied. People are free to choose. But Islam is still the sort of religion Christianity used to be: confident that it possesses a monopoly of truth and bent on extending allegiance to that truth worldwide, sometimes with limited scruple about the means.
In Britain, fundamentalist Muslims’ preference for not integrating in the culture of their chosen state bodes ill for the future. It sets the scene for racial friction.
Dr Kalim Saddiqui, a political spokesman for British Muslims, advocates that Muslim employers actively discriminate in favour of their own people.
“A proselytising religion cannot stand still,” he said. “It can either expand or contract. Islam hopes that one day the whole of humanity will be one Muslim community.”
Many British Muslims will resent this militancy because they know it spells nothing but trouble in the long term.
They know also that the easy-going British, now mostly lying loosely to their Christian heritage, but inured to a culture based on justice, democracy, freedom and toleration, may be obliged eventually to confront another which embraces the burning of books, passes the death sentence on a man with unorthodox views and, in extremis, would permit young women to be stoned to death.