The Muslim Issue: Suspicious Clocks! Muslim Presidents! Refugees! Eurabia! Islamophobia!
The New Moderate isn’t a magazine, of course. It’s not even a conventional blog. I might describe it as a column written whenever public events agitate me enough to write. But the past few weeks have showered us with a multiplicity of Muslim-themed stories that are too juicy to ignore. Instead of a long column on a single topic, I’m splitting the current offering into separate mini-articles. Welcome to our “Muslim issue.”
The Clock That Struck Terror
We all know the story by now, although few of us know all the details: in a suburb of Dallas, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, son of a Muslim activist who once ran for president of Sudan, walked into school with a pencil case that started beeping in class. The case opened to reveal (ominous drumroll, please) a circuit board and multiple wires.
Suspected of carrying a time bomb, young Ahmed was clapped in handcuffs and whisked away to a juvenile detention center by authorities. (He was quickly released but suspended from school for three days.)
Almost immediately, you could hear the outrage screaming across America from the Left Coast to the nation’s capital. Islamophobia! Profiling! Racism! Ignorant Texans! The boy was just a budding genius who had invented his own clock, and ’Murrica treats him like a terrorist because of his religion.
As usual, the story turned out to be a little more complicated. First of all, young Ahmed hadn’t invented anything; according to various technogeeks who analyzed photos of his contraption, Ahmed had simply removed the innards of a commercial alarm clock and mounted them inside a pencil case. It sure didn’t look like a clock. Ahmed even admitted that he tied a cable around the pencil case to make it look “less suspicious” — so he was plainly aware that his timepiece might be construed as something a little more malevolent.
But wasn’t he wrongfully arrested? Well, yes. The authorities could simply have ushered the boy outside the school and released him when they found his gadget to be harmless. If he had deliberately crafted a “hoax bomb,” as police concluded, what possible motive could he have had? To get himself into hot water? Seems unlikely.
Wasn’t he singled out on the basis of his religion? Well, yes again… but given the recent history of our times, a Muslim youth holding a homemade beeping device in a classroom will cause marginally more concern than, say, a white Methodist kid carrying the same gadget. Profiling might temporarily ruffle the feathers of a few innocent people, but it can also save lives. Imagine if the pencil case had contained more than a clock, and the school authorities had failed to act.
In the end, we don’t have to worry about young Ahmed. President Obama, MIT, NASA and even Mark Zuckerberg immediately reached out to him and pretty much guaranteed a brilliant future for the lad. Only in America.
Gentle Ben Catches Heat
That uber-calm, level-headed former pediatric surgeon and Republican presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, ignited a political firestorm that almost grilled him in return. How? By proclaiming that the U.S. should never elect a Muslim as president.
Notwithstanding the fact that numerous Republicans believe we already have a Muslim president, Carson’s quip unleashed the furies of Constitutional scholars and multicultural liberals alike. After all, our Constitution asserts that no candidate should have to pass a religious test as a qualification for office.
Carson’s objection raises an issue that America’s progressive (and mostly nonreligious) Islamophiles need to think about: namely, that Islam isn’t simply a religion. If it limited itself to nurturing a spiritual bond between Allah and the faithful, it would be a different matter. But there’s the jihad thing, and the oppression of women thing, and the blaming the victims of rape thing, and the execution of homosexuals thing, and too many other things that interfere with personal freedom, fly in the face of Western values, and don’t exactly fall into the realm of the metaphysical.
Yes, Islam is a religion — but, if followed according to the dictates of its scriptures and customs, it’s also an aggressively authoritarian political and social system much like Soviet-style communism. It continues to mystify me that so many American liberals automatically rush to the defense of a fundamentally illiberal system.
Carson backpedaled from his inflammatory remark by saying that he’d willingly vote for a Muslim who renounced Sharia law. So would I. (Renunciation of jihad and the universal caliphate would help, too.) Once we jettison the social and political elements of Islam that are antithetical to American life, we’re dealing with a simple, unobjectionable religion once again — as millions of moderate Muslims already know.
Muslim Hordes Invade Europe!
The mass exodus from Syria continues apace, with no end in sight (although, given the finite population of Syria, it has to end sometime). We’ve seen numerous photos and moving images of the exodus that provoke our empathy and outrage: the body of a toddler washed up on a beach, the video of a Hungarian camerawoman tripping a refugee who was desperately carrying his child across the border.
We’re looking at a vast humanitarian crisis that deserves our profound sympathy, but we’re also looking at a demographic one: namely, how many more Muslim immigrants can Western Europe be expected to absorb?
Recent estimates cited in Wikipedia inform us that Paris, London and Frankfurt are already hovering around 10% Muslim… Amsterdam, Brussels and Stockholm have passed the 20% mark… and the French port city of Marseilles tops the list at 25%. But here’s the statistic that sets off my inner alarm system: in many of these cities, the under-18 population is already more than half Muslim.
I’m sure the multiculturalists will be rejoicing, but these statistics don’t bode well for the future of Europe as we know it. Europe’s Muslim enclaves are, more often than not, bastions of non-assimilation, poverty, surly demands, hostile catcalls, and city streets shut down for prayer. According to a recent poll, 80% of Dutch Turks between 18 and 34 “saw nothing wrong in jihad… against non-believers.” Anger is mounting on both sides of the divide. And of course, public figures who raise concerns about the great demographic shift, like the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders, are routinely castigated as nativists, xenophobes, Neo-Nazis and promulgators of hate speech.
Is it hateful to express concern about preserving one’s ancestral culture in the face of radical demographic change? I would hope not. My own people, the Armenians, learned the hard way: as Turks streamed into the country after waves of medieval conquest, Armenians gradually became a minority in their own ancient homeland. In the end, it was an easy matter for the Turks to dispose of them entirely.
The U.S. was populated and built by immigrants, but Europe is different. We’re looking at thousand-year-old nations, each with distinctive languages, cultures and customs that will be erased from our midst if the Muslim expansion continues without relief.
But who’s willing to provide relief? Turkey and Lebanon have stepped up during the Syrian crisis, each taking more than a million refugees. Jordan, Iraq and Egypt have absorbed over 100,000 apiece. And the U.S. has committed to sheltering up to 100,000 refugees from Syria and other war-torn countries over the next two years.
Well, what about Saudi Arabia, our longtime petro-pal in the Middle East with its vast expanses of empty land? How many Syrian refugees are they willing to accept? Zero. The United Arab Emirates? Ditto. Kuwait and Qatar? You guessed it.
Embattled Europe is expected to stretch itself to the seams while the wealthy Persian Gulf states calmly collect oil revenues, build half-mile-high skyscrapers and turn their backs on their ravaged Muslim brethren. I call foul. Extremely foul.
Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. All posts copyright 2007-2015.