The Dhimmi Code
By William Kilpatrick
Thanks to the Da Vinci Code countless individuals now believe that there has been a worldwide conspiracy to cover up the true meaning of Christianity. For example, a National Geographic survey conducted a few years back revealed that 32 percent of Canadians who have read the book believe its theories are true. Although reputable historians reject the Code as an almost total fabrication, millions still cling to a belief in its veracity. Thus, even though Christianity markedly improved the status of women, The Da Vinci Code‘s claim that Christianity is an oppressive patriarchy is widely accepted. And the book’s central claim–that Christianity is a fraud–has been cheerfully echoed in numerous books of fiction and non-fiction, and in countless articles, opinion pieces and web blogs.
But what if there really were an attempt by powerful people to suppress the truth about a centuries-old religion? What if that religion really did subject women to a harsh oppression? What if, instead of a single albino monk, this religion could enlist legions of willing executioners to silence dissenters? And what if that cover up were happening right now?
We would be quick to spot it wouldn’t we? Or would we? The irony is that while millions have swallowed Dan Brown’s baseless fictional account of a Christian cover-up conspiracy, almost everyone is ignoring the real life “conspiracy” to cover up the true meaning of another world religion–Islam.
The “cover-up” is occurring at the highest levels of society: the media largely refuse to report stories damaging to Islam, presidents and prime ministers praise it as a religion of peace, and in many parts of the Western world new laws are being proposed that would make criticism of Islam a crime. Meanwhile, school textbooks are rewritten in order to whitewash Islam, government officials in the U.S. are forbidden to mention the word “jihad,” and their counterparts in the U.K. are now required to refer to Islamic terrorism as “anti-Islamic activity.”
I put “conspiracy” and “cover-up” in quotes because the majority of those who cover up for Islam do so unwittingly and automatically. Many Westerners, especially Western elites, have developed a mindset that forbids them to think certain thoughts–or, if they think them, to say them. In many cases, career advancement or even simply holding on to one’s job demands that one conform to the code of political correctness. And that code has put Islam off-limits to criticism. A sort of diplomatic immunity has been granted to the Islamic faith, and under cover of that protection Islam has steadily advanced into the heart of our culture.
All of this came into sharper focus for many Americans after the murder of 13 soldiers and the wounding of 38 others by a Muslim officer at Fort Hood, Texas on November 5th. Many Americans went back to sleep after 9/11 and, although there have been some 14,000 Islamic terror attacks since then, it took Fort Hood to re-awaken them. The Fort Hood Massacre reminded us of the grave threat that Islam poses to our culture, but it did more than that. It graphically exposed the unwillingness of our official culture to come to grips with the realities of Islamic ideology. It also provided a clear picture of the role that multiculturalism and political correctness play in blinding us to these realities. Major Nidal Hasan’s jihadist views were well known to senior officers for years, but they failed to file a complaint for fear of appearing discriminatory. No one appeared willing to take the risk of being branded as bigoted or Islamophobic. When multicultural correctness becomes the reigning orthodoxy, it’s usually a good bet that diversity will trump security.
Just as disturbing was the media’s willingness to cover up for Islam. Instead of connecting the dots, the media was busy disconnecting them. Terrorism? Islam? If you were watching CNN or MSNBC in the days following the massacre you would have gained the impression that this was basically a mental health story. The Major, it seems suffered from a newly invented syndrome–not post traumatic stress disorder, but pre traumatic stress disorder. Or was it second hand stress? Or was it fear of deployment? The TV news programs brought in a seemingly endless train of mental health professionals to speculate about the psychological motives for the murders. That there might have been a theological motive seemed beyond their comprehension.
Days after the shooting, at a point where the motives for the massacre were obvious to most ordinary Americans, commentators, reporters, psychologists, and Army spokesmen were still “searching for a motive.” Hot on the trail of the real motive? For many Americans the point had been reached where such assurances carried only slightly more credibility than O.J. Simpson’s promise to search for his wife’s killer. Out of respect for Islam, society’s spokespersons had managed to cast themselves in the role of the boy who cried wolf–except that, in this case, it might be more accurate to picture a boy who cries “sheep” every time a wolf appears.
The Fort Hood incident demonstrated the willingness of many of our elites to cover up for Islam. In addition it afforded a revealing glimpse of just how much there is to cover up. It turns out that not only was Major Hasan advanced into the heart of a military base, in 2008 he was invited to participate in a Presidential Transition Task Force set up by the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute. Here he was given the opportunity to share ideas with members of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Undoubtedly, it was thought that Major Hasan would add a little diversity to the proceedings.
A one-time bureaucratic snafu? One would like to think so but, in fact, this sort of thing is rather common in our security establishment. Last year the Homeland Security Department banned the use of the word “jihadist” out of concern that Muslims might be offended, and it replaced the word “terrorism” with the Orwellian term “man-caused disaster.” Late in 2001 the FBI in New York turned down 90 well qualified Jewish applicants who were seeking jobs as Arabic translators. For reasons of political correctness the FBI preferred to use Muslim translators. In addition, the FBI maintained close ties for many years with the Council for American Islamic Relations until CAIR’s status as an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorist funding case finally led them to have second thoughts. CAIR itself has long been involved in training airport and other security personnel in the fine art of sensitivity to Muslim concerns.
Get the picture? Sadly, many of those responsible for our nation’s security do not. For example in 2008 Major Stephen Coughlin the Pentagon’s top authority on Islamic law was fired for not softening his views on the connection between Islamic law and jihad. Coughlin was fired at the behest of Hesham Islam, a special assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense, who along with other Muslims in the Pentagon branded Coughlin as a “Christian zealot.” To put it in terms that Da Vinci fans would appreciate, you might say that the Major was getting too close to uncovering the truth about a powerful religion–a religion that had firmly implanted itself in the corridors of power. Naturally, he had to be silenced.
It’s ironic that Major Coughlin’s conclusions about the Islamic doctrine of warfare against unbelievers would be confirmed only a year later by another Army Major. In effect, Major Hasan offered the world a short course on Islam. At the same time the media offered it a short course on deception. The Da Vinci Code asserts that powerful interests have long been covering up the true nature of Christianity. There’s hardly any evidence for that claim, but in our society it’s the kind of provocative formula around which one can build a best seller and do so without any fear of being decapitated by angry Christians. But it’s beginning to look as though the real story of our time is a desperate attempt by the media and other influential institutions to cover up the aggressive nature of Islam.
Why would they do that? Because many in our society, particularly those who have the power to control information, have a religious belief of their own that they must maintain. They believe steadfastly in the beneficial effects of multiculturalism. Christians believe that Jesus saves, but multiculturalists are convinced that diversity saves. And one of the central doctrines of that faith is that all cultures and religions are roughly equal. Any evidence that Islamic doctrine is essentially warlike would undermine what for many elites has become their central belief system–a system around which many have organized their lives and their careers.
So, in the aftermath of the Fort Hood massacre it was almost inevitable that most of the news media would report that the incident had nothing to do with Islam. Or, alternatively, if a commentator did admit that Islam was a factor, he was quick to add that it was only because Hasan had misinterpreted his religion. Thus The Nation opined: “No one knew on Thursday afternoon whether stress, fear, anger over mistreatment, mental illness or a warped understanding of his religion might have motivated Major Hasan.”(my emphasis).
Yes, if you are thoroughly convinced that Islam is a religion of peace and brotherly love, then Hasan’s views would certainly be warped. On the other hand, Major Hasan was able to quote copiously from Islamic texts in support of his beliefs. So are other terrorists. As Islamic expert Robert Spencer points out, “Overall it is extremely rare–if not impossible–to find a jihadist who does not cite the Koran to justify his actions.” Since there are dozens and dozens of incitements to violence in the Koran they have a lot to choose from. By contrast, Muslim apologists are confined to slimmer pickings in their attempts to make the case for a peaceable Islam. There are two or three verses that are cited over and over. I believe the favorite one is, “There shall be no compulsion in religion” (sura 2: 256)–although, if that’s so, one is left to wonder why the agreed-upon penalty for leaving Islam is death. In case the apologists haven’t noticed, Islam is a non-refundable religion. Sounds fairly compelling to me.
What about that other world religion? That would be the one described by Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code–the one that trains up young monks in the art of assassination, controls the Paris police, has spies and agents everywhere, and will stop at nothing to keep the world from discovering the secret of the grail. It’s still around, of course, but in the light of recent events it’s a little more difficult to make the case that Christianity is enemy number one. Nevertheless critics of Christianity are giving it a good try–as in New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s recent screed about the ways in which the Catholic Church oppresses women. To my knowledge Ms. Dowd hasn’t said anything about the treatment accorded to Muslim women.
If the Da Vinci Code proves anything, it proves how detached from reality we have become. The willingness of so many to believe the worst about Christianity while at the same time desperately trying to believe the best about Islam is an indication of an almost suicidal impulse.
Why suicidal? Because as the steady Islamization of post-Christian Europe demonstrates, a weakened Christianity invites a strong and aggressive Islam. The more Christianity declines, the more Islam advances. In Europe the waning of Christian faith created a spiritual vacuum and a population vacuum that Islam soon began to fill. Of course, Christianity is in better shape on this side of the Atlantic. But that’s not to say there is no need to worry. As several recent surveys suggest, Christianity in this country has been seriously weakened by persistent assaults against it. And it’s not just The Da Vinci Code and its imitators, nor the numerous atheist attack books that are to blame. Secular elites in American are waging an undeclared and thus far successful war against Christianity. Here are a few examples:
“¢ In New Hampshire a bright and accomplished 10-year-old homeschooled child was ordered into a public school because the judge felt the girl presented too “vigorous” a defense of her Christian faith.
“¢ The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that an instrumental version of the Ave Maria could not be played by a student wind ensemble during a high school graduation. The same court had previously upheld a school curriculum which required students to memorize the Muslim profession of faith, and to pray daily to Allah.
“¢ A survey of history textbooks for American schoolchildren reveals that they present Islam as a model of interfaith tolerance, and Christianity as a purveyor of bigotry and violence.
“¢ Recently enacted hate crime legislation will almost certainly be interpreted in such a way as to make the expression of certain Christian beliefs a criminal act. In Canada and in some European countries, Christian pastors have already been fined or jailed for their beliefs.
Secular militants are acting as though the real danger to our culture comes not from jihadists but from Christians. If the experience of Europeans is any indication, their efforts to silence Christians will only have the effect of strengthening the jihad. It is becoming increasingly apparent that Islam is intent on waging jihad in one way or another. What is less obvious is that the devotees of diversity and political correctness are equally strident in their faith. They are true believers who believe what they believe with an almost blind faith. As the nothing-to-do-with-Islam coverage of the Fort Hood assault reveals, they are quite willing to sacrifice the truth in their efforts to impose their religion on the rest of us. Unfortunately for them and for us it looks like the religion that will ultimately be imposed will have nothing to do with multicultural sensitivities. Right now the PC apologists are looking out at the world through blinders. Some day in the future they may find themselves looking out at it through the slit of the burqa.
In the opening chapters of The Da Vinci Code, Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu find a series of baffling clues near the body of Jacques Sauniere, the curator at the Louvre Museum. One of these is a mysterious message: “So dark the con of Man.” The clue is an anagram for “Madonna of the Rocks,” a da Vinci painting which in turn provides other clues. But “So dark the con of Man” has a double meaning. It is also meant to point to the sinister con job supposedly perpetrated by Christian church leaders on mankind over the centuries. Well, yes, it’s beginning to look like we are all the victims of a massive con job–although not quite the one Dan Brown had in mind. The hierarchy of the Church of the Politically Correct has beguiled us into believing that Islam is a peaceable religion that poses no threat to us. As a result we are almost totally unprepared to resist that threat. So dark the con of Man, indeed!
–This essay is adapted from William Kilpatrick’s forthcoming book, Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West.