In a 2005 book, Eurabia, a scholar who goes by the nom de plume Bat Ye”or wrote illuminatingly about what she called “dhimmitude” — the relegation of non-Muslims, in the Muslim world, to the subordinate social position of “dhimmis,” individuals who have no rights and who are tolerated as long as they behave obsequiously and accept their inferior status. Ye”or warned that many European leaders were assuming an increasingly dhimmi-like posture in relation to radical Muslim leaders both in Europe and beyond, reflexively overlooking the more unpleasant aspects of Muslim culture and the widespread resistance to integration. Ye”or noted that if this dhimmitude persisted, and if present immigration and birth rates held up, Europe would soon fall under the sway of Koranic law — sharia.
To many, this sounded outrageous. But on February 10, in Oslo, came a dramatic capitulation that seemed a classic case of sharia in action. For days, VelbjÃ¸rn Selbekk, editor of the tiny Christian periodical Magazinet — the first publication to reprint the now-famous Muhammed cartoons from the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten — had firmly resisted pressure by Muslim extremists (who made death threats) and by the Norwegian establishment (which urged him to give in). But then, on that morning — the day before a planned mass demonstration against the cartoons — Norway”s Minister of Labor and Social Inclusion, Bjarne HÃ¥kon Hanssen, hastily called a press conference at a major government office building in Oslo.
There, to the astonishment of his supporters, Selbekk issued an abject apology for reprinting the cartoons. At his side, accepting his act of contrition on behalf of 46 Muslim organizations and asking that all threats now be withdrawn, was Mohammed Hamdan, head of Norway”s Islamic Council. In attendance were members of the Norwegian cabinet and the largest assemblage of imams in Norway’s history. It was a picture right out of a sharia courtroom: the dhimmi prostrating himself before the Muslim leader, and the leader pardoning him — and, for good measure, declaring Selbekk to be henceforth under his protection, as if it were he, Hamdan, and not the Norwegian police, that held in his hands the security of citizens in Norway…
In recent days, these acts of dhimmitude by Norway and Sweden have had their counterparts in the corridors of international power. On February 9, Franco Frattini, EU Commissioner of Justice, Freedom, and Security, promised to take steps to “regulate” speech (though he later denied this); Kofi Annan, in a February 12 interview on Danish TV, said “You don’t joke about other people’s religion, and you must respect what is holy for other people.” Since when do the EU and UN tell supposedly free people what to respect and what not to respect? Since now, apparently.
Many Islamists do not hide the fact that their long-term goal is to turn Europe, step by step, into a Muslim caliphate ruled by sharia law. Alas, it looks at present as if the cartoon controversy may turn out to have been a significant step on the way to that goal. One thing is clear, at any rate: these have been the darkest days for European freedom in many a decade.
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