[This disturbing piece from Daniel Greenfield has prompted me to repost the following, which first appeared at Eternity Road on March 15, 2006 — FWP]
Your Curmudgeon has occasionally referred to tight-knit Islamic communities in majority non-Islamic nations as enclaves. This is in keeping with the dictionary definition of an enclave: an enclosed territory that is culturally distinct from the territory that surrounds it. But it might be self-deluding to do so — not because those Islamic communities are anything but tight-knit and culturally distinct from non-Muslim neighborhoods, but because their full significance might go beyond the connotations of that term.
Chinatowns and Little Italys are typical enclaves in these United States. Such a district has a pronounced cultural flavor, evidenced in such things as restaurants and languages heard on the street, but the residents’ attachment to their culture doesn’t extend into the political realm. They have no interest in replicating the laws and political structures of China or Italy here in America. Culturally they’re Chinese or Italian, but politically they’re Americans. They’ll happily tell you so.
Blakeman introduced me to an official of the Dutch Ministry of Integration, who spends her days in dialogue with Dutch imams and other Muslim leaders. We began a wide-ranging discussion about the nature of the jihad threat and the proper response to it. In the course of this I asked her how many Muslim leaders she encountered who were ready to lay aside attachment to the Sharia, accept the Dutch governmental and societal structure and the parameters of Dutch pluralism, and be willing to live in Dutch society as equals to, not superiors of, non-Muslims indefinitely. She told me that there were only very few, but insisted that we had to work with those few, and indeed had to place our faith and hope in them, for otherwise the future was impossibly bleak. I asked her if she had read the Qur’an. She told me no, she hadn’t, and wouldn’t, because she didn’t want to lose all hope — and because whatever was in it, she still had to work to find some accord with the Muslim leaders, no matter what.
I urged her to ask the imams with whom she spoke questions that made their loyalties clear, insofar as they would answer them honestly. I urged her to ask them whether they would like to see Sharia implemented in the Netherlands at any time in the future, and whether they were working toward that end in any way, peaceful as well as violent. I asked her to ask them whether they would be content to live as equals with non-Muslims indefinitely in a Dutch pluralistic society, or whether they would ultimately hope to institute Islamic supremacy and the subjugation of non-Muslims.
She couldn’t ask them those questions, she told me. Such questions would immediately put their relationship on a confrontational plane, when cooperation was what they wanted, not confrontation. But, I sputtered, you’re not getting cooperation as it is. The confrontation is already upon us. What is to be gained by pretending that it isn’t happening?
Clearly, the Dutch official felt she could not ask Spencer’s questions without so provoking the imams that all conversation would cease. Yet the answers to Spencer’s questions are so obviously critical to all possibility of Muslim integration into pluralist Western societies that to declare them unspeakable is to concede ab initio the hopelessness of the integration effort.
If this is indeed the case — and let there be no mistake; your Curmudgeon believes that it is — then the proper way to regard an Islamic bastion within the Netherlands, or anywhere else in the West, is as an exclave: a portion of a country which is separated from the main part and surrounded by politically alien territory.
For a historical contrast that’s both relevant and quite ironic, consider the Christian kingdom of Outremer, established in the Holy Land after the First Crusade. Outremer was an exclave of Christendom, an extension of Christian Europe. It was entirely surrounded by Islamic states, all of which were implacably hostile to it, and which, after some two hundred years, contrived its downfall.
Your Curmudgeon is unaware of any well-formed intention among the Christian nobles who ruled Outremer to expand the kingdom at the expense of the surrounding states. Their mission in the Middle East was to create a safe haven for the many Christians there, who were cruelly oppressed by Islam’s lords, and safe passage for Christian pilgrims to the historic places of the Bible. Granting the barbaric nature of the wars they fought to that end, which were typical of the time, they succeeded in their aim.
Islamic exclaves in Western Europe have quite a different character: an expansionist character. Whether overtly or covertly, they seek to transform the countries that surround them into replicas of themselves. The admissions of the Dutch official narrated above are testimony to that.
Might this also be true of Islamic exclaves in the United States?
Islam is an explicitly political creed; Muslims are commanded to seek political dominion over all the lands of the Earth, and to contrive that Islam be the only religion practiced by anyone — the only acceptable faith. Since it’s among the teachings of Islam that it’s acceptable to lie to “infidels” in the service of Islam, one cannot simply ask a Muslim whether he has this in mind and be satisfied with whatever he says.
It has long been the case that immigrants to these shores were seekers after freedom and opportunity. Indeed, the original Pilgrims came here specifically to escape religious oppression. Because emigration from one’s birthplace and adjustment to a new home in America have been expensive and difficult for most of our history, the process has tended to filter out those whose motives were weak or venal. But given the conditions of our day, both technological and political, that filter might no longer be sufficient. The flood of illegal immigrants that passes our southern border is evidence in that direction, albeit not without some ambiguity.
How could we determine, with confidence, the long-range intentions of Muslims in North America? Were the verdict to be ominous, threatening to the future of the nation, what might we do about it within the framework of American Constitutional law?