Warraq declares that if their system is to endure, Westerners must acknowledge that “the great ideas of the West — rationalism, self-criticism, the disinterested search for truth, the separation of church and state, the rule of law and equality under the law, freedom of thought and expression, human rights, and liberal democracy — are superior to any others devised by humankind.” Likewise, it is critical to compare Western ideals to those of the Islamists, which are antithetical to liberty and increasingly threaten it. A glance at how women and minorities are treated by strict Islamic law is sufficient to expose multiculturalism’s “lie that all cultures are worthy of equal respect and equally embracing of individual freedom and democracy,” to quote reformist Muslim Salim Mansur.
The advance of Islamism can be checked only if the West unabashedly reasserts its core values. As feminist icon Phyllis Chesler warns in her review of Warraq’s book, liberalization of the Islamic world “will never happen unless Westerners engage in the most spirited defense of Western freedoms,” because “this is the best way we can strengthen our like-minded allies who are trapped in theologically fundamentalist Muslim countries.” The same vigor is required at home to reverse deleterious multicultural policies that have fostered extremism, not integration. David Cameron, the British prime minister, has contended that the remedy involves “less of the passive tolerance of recent years and a much more active, muscular liberalism” that “believes in certain values and actively promotes them. … It says to its citizens, this is what defines us as a society: to belong here is to believe in these things.”
At the very least, governments need to draw a clear line between Western principles that will not be surrendered and Islamist ones that will not be tolerated. Hints of the requisite approach are seen in Canada’s citizenship guide, which states that the country’s “openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices” such as honor violence and female genital mutilation, and the German interior minister’s recent comments that “those who reject freedom and democracy have no future here.”
Jihadists’ ultimate success or failure at “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within” and institutionalizing Islam in its place, a goal enunciated by the Muslim Brotherhood, depends more on the West than the Islamists. It will never come to pass unless it is facilitated by a slow-motion cultural suicide at the hands of leftist elites who insist that no society is better than any other, downgrade their own civilization’s accomplishments, do nothing to protect the West, and smear anybody who contradicts them.
Will the decades ahead be shaped by unapologetic pride in the West’s objectively superior system, as voiced by Claude Guéant? Or will the mindset of his critics prevail, thus sapping morale, projecting weakness, emboldening Islamists, and accelerating the decay? If the former, the West will survive — because it will have chosen survival. If the latter, the new barbarians will not have to climb over the gates as in days of yore; they will simply stroll through the ones opened for them by Western apathy.
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