Average Europeans may be crossing a line from wide-open tolerance to more closed minds and borders when it comes to Muslims. Recent reports indicate that an increasing number of moderate citizens and politicians view Islam as incompatible with European culture and values.
Events on the Continent and in Britain since September 11, 2001, have shifted views once confined to ultra-conservatives into the mainstream.
“You saw what happened with the pope,” one Belgian bar owner told the International Herald Tribune. “He said Islam is an aggressive religion. And the next day they kill a nun somewhere and make his point. Rationality is gone.”
In Britain, Jack Straw, a prominent mp, said he felt uncomfortable addressing women wearing veils, and called the headdress “a visible statement of separation and difference.” According to the Tribune, these statements reflect a much larger sentiment.
Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, the assassination of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gough, bombings in London and Madrid, riotous reactions to a cartoon depicting Mohammed and kidnappings of British sailors and marines, many Europeans are thinking that their post World War ii tolerant practices might have been wrong all along.
Muslims in Europe are considerably less integrated than they are even in America. Islamic “parallel cultures” exist outside the mainstream in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Britain and other nations, and have yet to assimilate with the cultures of their host countries, even though they have been embedded there longer than they have in the U.S. These enclaves retain the language, traditions and religion of their country of origin.
Germany, which already has low application rates for citizenship and has much more stringent immigration standards than the U.S., has debated whether or not to add citizenship tests to the application process. In the Netherlands, newcomers have been shown videos with brief clips of topless women and men kissing each other, a clear message to Muslims that intolerance will not be tolerated.
Average Europeans wonder if Western values of free speech are compatible with the Islamic way of life. When a secondary school teacher in France characterized Mohammed as “a merciless warlord, a looter, a mass murderer of Jews and a polygamist,” she was forced into hiding for fear of death threats. In Germany, an opera depicting a scene offensive to Muslims, Christians and Buddhists was cancelled due to security fears—presumably a violent Muslim backlash.
In response to the cancellation, Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “Self-censorship does not help us against people who want to practice violence in the name of Islam. It makes no sense to retreat.”
Look for the average European and particularly European leaders to find Islam more and more irreconcilable with their way of life. Read “The Coming War Between Catholicism and Islam” by Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry to find out where this rising conflict will lead. ▪