In France, the Muslim owner of a Bordeaux grocery store has just been given a fine and a two-month jail sentence for having posted a notice on his shop window assigning different shopping days for men and women. How terrible it would be, many devout Muslims apparently feel, if a man and a woman, not married to each other, were to be alone together, even in a store. The grocery owner’s act was perfectly understandable in Muslim terms. And perfectly unacceptable in Western, French, laic terms. For now, the right side has won.
Should we feel satisfied with this outcome? A sense of relief? Are you sure that that is the end of the matter? Perhaps not, because even for this issue to have been raised, even for a Muslim to feel emboldened enough to ignore the settled laws of laic France, is worrisome in itself. But most disturbing of all in this affair is that the Muslim grocery store owner and his wife are both converts to Islam. What was it they knew, or thought they knew, about Islam when they converted? What led Jean-Baptiste Michalon to become Yahya Michalon, and his wife Jessica to transform herself into submissive Soumaya? What made them feel that in order to follow this new faith they had to subvert the most mundane rules ordering everyday life, even including food shopping?
Whatever it is that attracts the lost souls of the Western world to Islam – and we all know there is profound anomie and despair in a West that has lost its way – it is important that those who, in the political and media elites, make claim to instruct and protect us not be afraid to do what they can to openly discuss what the texts and teachings of Islam contain, undeterred by the ever-ready preposterous charge of “Islamophobia.” Adopting an attitude of laissez-faire may be tempting (e.g.,“What people believe is their own business”) to Western liberals, but given the threat of demographic conquest, it won’t do. Preventive measures need to be taken against adult-onset Islam. What other immigrant group in France has tried to ignore French laws and impose its own view of how daily life, in ways little and big, is to be regulated? Every such challenge chips away, slowly, at a country’s self-assurance, as what before the Muslim invasion had been settled law, and which the French had the right to assume could be taken for granted, has to be re-litigated. Think of the money and time spent by the French state in defending from attack the simple proposition that men and women should be allowed to buy their milk and baguettes at the same grocery store, and on the same day.
In Italy, more than a decade ago, a Muslim, Adel Smith, founder of the Union of the Muslims of Italy, sued to have the crucifix removed from his children’s school. The crucifix in Italy is not only a religious but a cultural symbol; forcing its removal, as Italian Labor Minister Maroni said at the time, “is outrageous. It is unacceptable that one judge should cancel out millennia of history.” But the Muslim petitioner, who referred to the crucifix dismissively as “a small body on two wooden sticks” won his case. Not content with that victory, Adel Smith—and other Muslims — wanted more.
He wanted verses from the Qur’an displayed in schools. He, and other Muslims, wanted to protect Muslim sensibilities by having the Catholic Church demolish an “offensive” 15th century fresco by Giovanni da Modena in the San Petronio Cathedral in Bologna. (Muslims connected to Al Qaeda have plotted to blow up the fresco, so for other Muslims to demand its nonviolent removal may in this demented world be considered a victory). He claimed that the fresco showed Muhammad – his prophet Muhammad – cast into hell. Fortunately the Church stood firm, and the fresco remains; unfortunately, the fresco, in a dark side-altar, can now be viewed only from a distance, and behind a grate, for you can no longer enter the side-altar space, so that it is impossible to see it clearly. In a sense, the Muslims have won; the hated fresco is no longer really visible. Part of Italy’s art heritage can no longer be seen and admired because it has to be protected from Muslims.
And some Italian Muslims had yet another demand: that Dante’s Divine Comedy be banned from Italian schools because Dante puts Muhammad in Hell (Inferno, Canto 28). Dante regarded Islam as a heretical offshoot of Christianity and Muhammad as a sower of discord; thus Dante depicts him as tearing himself apart, with his entrails hanging out. Dante is Italy’s national poet, central to its cultural identity, as much as Shakespeare is to England. That this attempt to force Italians to submit to the dictates of Muslims, and ban Dante from the schools, is even dared, horrifies. It would be as if Muslims in England demanded the removal of Shakespeare from the schools because of the anti-Islamic aspect of Othello: Othello, a Christianized Moor, in the employ of Christian Venice against the Muslim Ottomans, describes how he handled a “malignant and a turbaned Turk”: “I took by the throat the circumcised dog/And smote him – thus.” Come to think of it, that Muslim demand to censor Shakespeare may be coming down the pike any day now; it might just wake some of the somnambulists in the British government.
Adel Smith – his father was Scots, his mother Egyptian – converted to Islam when he moved to Italy, and like many who succumb to adult-onset Islam, was more extreme and aggressive in promoting his faith (he died in 2014 while imprisoned for fraud and forgery) even than many of those born into it. But he was not alone in making these demands. It’s a fantastic situation, when in Italy three quintessential expressions of its faith (the crucifix), its art (the Bologna fresco), and its literature (Dante) could be threatened with removal, or destruction, or banishment, if Adel Smith and his fellows had had their Muslim way.
#3. GREAT BRITAIN
In the city of Bristol, England, the city council recently refused to observe St. George’s Day. St. George, many know, is the patron saint of England; the feast day dedicated to him has been observed since 1222. But something has apparently changed. Local officials claim that the city is now “too multicultural” to recognize someone who for nearly 800 years has symbolized the Englishness of England.
Even more preposterous is the objection raised by city council members in Bristol, who said that “91 different languages are spoken in the town and it would be ‘difficult to commemorate them all.’” How do you “commemorate” a language? And why can’t people who may not be native speakers of English nonetheless want to participate in the ceremonies of the very country they have been fortunate enough to be allowed to settle in, and that has generously welcomed them? Shouldn’t such an observance be viewed as part of the acclimation and assimilation process, much like those “I Am An American Day” mass gatherings during World War II, where new immigrants had a chance to pledge their loyalty and hear speeches about what Being An American Means. This business about “91 languages” was raised to deflect attention from the real source of opposition to St. George’s Day, consisting of those Muslims who do not want to assimilate into, but want rather to transform, the non-Muslim countries that have (so generously, so foolishly) let them in.
“Some in the area” feel that the English symbol “has been hijacked by far right groups and are concerned about being branded “racist.” This reveals how successful the Muslim campaign has been, both in labeling those concerned about Islam as “far right groups” and in frightening non-Muslim officials who, out of fear of “being branded ‘racist,’” submit to Muslim desires and demands.
One local man noted that “Bristol city council refused to acknowledge St George’s day for fear of upsetting other faiths. They don’t mind upsetting us.” “Fear of upsetting other faiths”? So it wasn’t about being “too multicultural” nor about those “91 languages” after all? Which faiths, exactly, might be upset? Do you think Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists would have any problem with St. George’s Day? Everyone in Bristol knows perfectly well what faith is being proleptically placated. So from now on, you can keep trying to put things shipshape all you want, but after this triumph of the will of the local boys with the beards, please don’t do it in Bristol fashion.
Oriana Fallaci said in a 2003 interview with the New York Observer, “[Islam] is not even a religion, in my opinion. It is a tyranny, a dictatorship — the only religion on earth that has never committed a work of self-criticism….It becomes worse and worse…and now they want to come impose it on me, on us.”
Don’t you miss Oriana?