After 9/11, you may recall, the United States was going to bring democracy to the Islamic world. Nine years later, we have Sharia Constitutions in both Iraq and Afghanistan. A Shi’ite client of the Iranian mullahs rules shakily in Iraq, while in Afghanistan the U.S.-backed president is increasingly hostile to America and even threatens to join the Taliban that he was supposed to be fighting against.
But that isn’t even the worst of it. Paradoxically, instead of bringing democracy to the Islamic world, the years since 9/11 have seen only success after success in Islamic supremacist efforts to undermine democracy in the West. Bending over backwards not to appear “anti-Muslim” in their anti-terror efforts, the U.S. and Western Europe have allowed in large numbers of Muslim immigrants who hold to a radically undemocratic political ideology, one that is rooted in Islamic texts and teachings and thus is not susceptible to negotiation, compromise, or the gentle pressure of “assimilation.”
It has all happened quite quickly, and yet gradually enough to have generally escaped the notice of those who have been living through it. Nonetheless, life in Western societies has already been utterly transformed, and more changes – for the worse – are certain to come. In the elegiac, insightful and sweeping new book Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy In the West, the American expatriate Abigail R. Esman, who now lives in the Netherlands, surveys the damage.
It’s a profoundly moving, personal account of how the stealth jihad has advanced in the Netherlands over the last decade and more, written by someone who was in the center of it all. Esman knew Theo van Gogh, murdered by Islamic jihadist Mohammed Bouyeri in 2004 for his film Submission about the plight of Muslim women, and was close friends with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the outspoken Somali ex-Muslim who served for a time in the Dutch Parliament and who collaborated with van Gogh on Submission, before death threats led her to flee the country. She watched as Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn rose to international prominence for his opposition to unrestricted Muslim immigration and the Islamization of the Netherlands – and then was murdered by a Dutchman who said he did it out of sympathy for the nation’s Muslims. Esman recalls: “There were those – and I was one of them – who thought Fortuyn was little more than a pretender, a narcissist with a big mouth and glib tongue who would quickly be exposed and then forgotten. We were the most wrong of all.”