A piece in The New York Times (April 7, 2016), about Muslims in Brussels, reported the views of city official Yves Goldstein. The original text is offered (in blockquotes), with interpolated suggested edits (not blockquoted), by way of a taking-to-task rewrite:
BRUSSELS — Yves Goldstein makes no excuses for Belgium’s failure to find Salah Abdeslam and the other Islamic State recruits who attacked Paris and then bombed Brussels Airport and a subway station.
Yves Goldstein is in no mood to make excuses for the Muslims in Molenbeek and Schaerbeek, among whom Salah Abdeslam and other Islamic State recruits were able to hide for months before, between, and after their Paris and Brussels attacks.
The problem is not Islam, he insists, but the negligence of government officials like himself in allowing self-contained ethnic ghettos to grow unchallenged, breeding anger, crime and radicalism among youth — a soup of grievances that suits Islamist recruiters.
The problem is Islam, he insists, or more exactly, in the immutable texts of Islam and the negligence of government officials in not taking those texts seriously. Goldstein has thus broken ranks with most of Europe’s officialdom, with its bizarre and panicky insistence, after every terrorist attack by Muslims, that “it had nothing to do with Islam.” And he claims that the inability, or rather refusal, of Muslims to integrate into the larger non-Muslim societies, despite the endless efforts made by European states to provide every possible benefit, including the health, education, housing, and other benefits lavished on Muslim migrants, stands in sharp contrast to the ability, and desire, of non-Muslim immigrants – Chinese, Hindus, Vietnamese, Bolivian Indians, sub-Saharan Christians, Filipinos – to integrate into the larger secular society.
Friends who teach the equivalent of high school seniors in the predominantly Muslim districts of Molenbeek and Schaerbeek told him that “90 percent of their students, 17, 18 years old, called them heroes,” he said.
Mr. Goldstein, 38, grew up in Schaerbeek, the child of Jewish refugees from Nazism. Now a councilman from Schaerbeek, he is also chief of staff for the minister-president of the Brussels Capital Region.
But “we failed,” he said. “We failed in Molenbeek” and Schaerbeek, too, to ensure the mixing of populations.
Mr. Goldstein describes this situation as “intolerable” and “unacceptable,” and finds “terrifying” the reports that 90 percent of the Muslim high school seniors in Molenbeek and Schaerbeek described the Brussels attackers as “heroes.”
“I never thought I’d see such a recrudescence of antisemitism in Europe as we are now witnessing in the Muslim neighborhoods, and not only in Brussels and Paris,” says Mr. Goldstein, the child of Jewish refugees from Nazism.
“Obviously there has been a failure,” he said. “We failed in Molenbeek” and Schaerbeek, too, to prevent, in our own country, the inculcation of hatred toward us as Infidels. We failed to understand the ideology of Islam. We accepted the sanitized version, presented to us by taqiyya-masters, and parroted by non-Muslims terrified of the truth. But we all see how impossible it is to overcome the determination of Muslims not to integrate into the larger society. We failed to realize how deeply hostile the Muslims in Molenbeek – and Schaerbeek, too – are to us, the Belgians, who have bent over backwards to make them as welcome as all other immigrants in this country. It may be that this is a problem without a solution, and we will have to rethink our entire immigration policy. Remember the old adage — Gouverner c’est prevoir – “to govern is to foresee.” We’ve got enough evidence now, from everything we’ve already endured, to allow ourselves to foresee what’s to come with the Muslims in our midst. And to govern accordingly. So what’s keeping us?
“We have neighborhoods where people only see the same people, go to school with the same people,” he said. “What connection do they have with the whole society, what connection do they have with real diversity? It’s the establishment of the ghetto,” he said, “and it’s the thing in our urban development that we have to tackle.”
It will be hard, and I’m beginning to think impossible, for the Muslims of Molenbeek to ignore those verses in the Qur’an telling them that they should “not take Jews and Christians as friends.” The result is there for all to see: they have established their own ghettoes, where they flout the authority of the Belgian state, and even try to impose the laws of Shari’a on themselves and their fellow Muslims.
Jews have left Schaerbeek, and the last two synagogues are being sold. Instead, there is a kind of suffocating, insular, ethnic uniformity. “These young people will never go to museums until 18 or 20 — they never saw Chagall, they never saw Dalí, they never saw Warhol, they don’t know what it is to dream,” Mr. Goldstein said.
The Muslims in Belgium, Goldstein said, choose to live among other Muslims in neighborhoods they have rendered increasingly hostile to non-Muslims. They may live in Brussels and the West, but remain closed to that same West. “They have no interest in the art, or music, or any of the cultural artifacts of our secular civilization,” he notes. “We hold little interest for them; we are simply the temporary possessors of land that is part of Dar al-Harb,” Goldstein says sadly. “They regard Belgium, as a place where for now Infidels still rule but which, inevitably, they will win through demographic conquest. They are confident that Islam will come to dominate, and Muslims to rule. Have we done anything to lead them to think otherwise?”
Of course there is poverty and unemployment, he said. “But we don’t give these young people the keys to think differently, to think outside the little box, the little neighborhood where they live — this ideological box, this closed-eyes box.”
The levels of poverty and unemployment – and crime, too – of Muslim migrants far surpass those not only of the non-Muslim natives, but also those of all other non-Muslim migrants. And this situation, Goldstein said, obtains in every European country. It is impossible not to think that the ideology of Islam surely must explain the economic underperformance of Muslims.
As for the terrorists, “religion for them is a pretext,” he said. “They believe in nothing. But Islam is the way they find to express, to crystallize their radicalization.”
As for the terrorists, religion for them is a text they follow, or rather, a series of texts – Qur’an, Hadith, Sira – and not an independent moral code. They believe in nothing but Islam. From the rules that regulate their daily lives, to a Complete Explanation of the Universe, Islamic texts represent the first and last authority on everything.
Young people whose parents or grandparents were immigrants face serious questions of identity, Mr. Goldstein acknowledged, speaking during and after a conference here of the German Marshall Fund. “But identity is a two-sided relation” — between young Muslims and ourselves.
“We have to fight racism and discrimination with the same force” as radicalization, he said, because “our society gives to these young people a bad idea of who and what they are.”
Muslims who have been allowed into our countries need to understand that their endless reliance on a false victimization — charges of “racism” when Islam is not a “race” — will no longer work. It is hardly “discrimination” to insist that Muslims must obey the same laws, observe the same rules, as non-Muslims. They have to decide whether to accept the identity of a citizen in a Western secular state that is now available to them, or to cling solely to their Islamic identity, the one that assures them that they are the “best of peoples” and admonishes them not to take “Jews and Christians as friends.” They need to understand that acts have consequences, and that the observable behavior of Muslims, including the terrorist attacks by those who justify themselves by quoting from the Qur’an, naturally has helped to form our view of Muslims and of Islam. How could it not?
And if even I, Yves Goldstein, have managed to believe all this before breakfast…