After 9/11, you may recall, the United States was going to bring democracy to the Islamic world. Nine years later, we have Sharia Constitutions in both Iraq and Afghanistan. A Shi’ite client of the Iranian mullahs rules shakily in Iraq, while in Afghanistan the U.S.-backed president is increasingly hostile to America and even threatens to join the Taliban that he was supposed to be fighting against.
But that isn’t even the worst of it. Paradoxically, instead of bringing democracy to the Islamic world, the years since 9/11 have seen only success after success in Islamic supremacist efforts to undermine democracy in the West. Bending over backwards not to appear “anti-Muslim” in their anti-terror efforts, the U.S. and Western Europe have allowed in large numbers of Muslim immigrants who hold to a radically undemocratic political ideology, one that is rooted in Islamic texts and teachings and thus is not susceptible to negotiation, compromise, or the gentle pressure of “assimilation.”
It has all happened quite quickly, and yet gradually enough to have generally escaped the notice of those who have been living through it. Nonetheless, life in Western societies has already been utterly transformed, and more changes – for the worse – are certain to come. In the elegiac, insightful and sweeping new book Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy In the West, the American expatriate Abigail R. Esman, who now lives in the Netherlands, surveys the damage.
It’s a profoundly moving, personal account of how the stealth jihad has advanced in the Netherlands over the last decade and more, written by someone who was in the center of it all. Esman knew Theo van Gogh, murdered by Islamic jihadist Mohammed Bouyeri in 2004 for his film Submission about the plight of Muslim women, and was close friends with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the outspoken Somali ex-Muslim who served for a time in the Dutch Parliament and who collaborated with van Gogh on Submission, before death threats led her to flee the country. She watched as Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn rose to international prominence for his opposition to unrestricted Muslim immigration and the Islamization of the Netherlands – and then was murdered by a Dutchman who said he did it out of sympathy for the nation’s Muslims. Esman recalls: “There were those – and I was one of them – who thought Fortuyn was little more than a pretender, a narcissist with a big mouth and glib tongue who would quickly be exposed and then forgotten. We were the most wrong of all.”
Esman details the horror of the murder of van Gogh, the bloody triumphalist Islamic boasts of his murderer, the supine reaction of Dutch authorities, and the indifference of self-proclaimed moderate Muslims. Noting their absence at a November 2005 memorial for van Gogh attended the Dutch prime minister and the mayor of Amsterdam, she writes: “Muslim moderates are part of ‘us,’ not ‘them.'” Yet when they should have been there, just to make that simple statement, to present that one gesture of solidarity, they were not. And that they weren’t makes me consider, on second thought, that maybe they aren’t quite with us, after all.”
But America has managed to assimilate its Muslim population much more successfully, hasn’t it? After surveying a number of jihad terror plots perpetrated by both Muslim immigrants and homegrown converts to Islam, Esman concludes that that bit of conventional wisdom, like so much else in the popular understanding of the jihad terror threat, is simply wrong. Our freedoms are being eroded here no less unmistakably than they are being eroded in Europe. The consequences of the folly of our government and law enforcement officials may be less obvious to the general public than it is in Europe, but in the age of Obama that is rapidly changing.
So what is to be done? Must we choose between becoming an Islamic state or a totalitarian state imposed in the name of “security”? Esman contends that it is not too late to save our free societies, if we firmly reject the suicidal philosophy of multiculturalism and take other steps she outlines in Radical State (including a few offered by me). Radical State is a unique and powerful book because it brings to vivid life the human cost of the ongoing Islamization of Europe. Already the massive importation of Islamic supremacists with nothing but contempt for European civilization and an intention to replace it with Sharia at the earliest opportunity has been a catastrophe of incalculable proportions for European societies.
Abigail Esman has lived through the worst of it, or the worst so far, and shows all the large and small ways in which our lives, our joys, our freedoms, are diminished. If she is heeded now, it may not be too late to salvage at least some of what has made us so free and so alive for so long.
But that is a big “if.”