Saving the Neighborhood

Why the expansion of Islamic no-go zones must be stopped.

Recently, British lawyer and “mosque-buster” Gavin Boby visited Canada to deliver a series of lectures on the problem of Muslim infiltration and occupation of municipal neighborhoods. The strategy of de facto Muslim annexation of city districts has worked brilliantly on the European continent and in England, a harbinger of what may well be in store for cities and towns in Canada and the U.S.—see for example Dearborn, Michigan and now Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where the Koran and the Sunnah form the basis of religious education being offered at the new mosque there. The process generally begins, Boby says, with the construction of a mosque or community center, followed by the gradual transformation of the area into an Islamic enclave in which the original inhabitants find themselves increasingly harassed and intimidated, unable to live their everyday lives and, in many cases, ultimately forced to leave their homes.

In London (and other English cities), these districts will often morph into no-go zones, mini Islamic republics governed by Sharia law, where even the police enter only at their peril. The streets are patrolled by gangs of vigilantes, burning posters they find offensive, threatening passers-by for being inappropriately dressed, attacking gay men, and abusing, raping and “grooming” young non-Muslim girls. On the mainland the problem is far worse, with entire self-ghettoized neighborhoods, like the quasi-arrondissements ringing Paris, that resemble military garrisons and that frequently erupt into frenzies of uncontrolled violence.

Boby’s message is simple and straightforward. As a lawyer who works in the field of zoning by-laws, he believes neighborhoods have the right to maintain existing zoning legislation and to resist city-council changes to the law which would facilitate the building of mosques. Boby does not believe in banning all mosques wholesale, but in looking at proposals to build mosques on a case by case basis. There are just too many violent, Sharia-ruled, Muslim palatinates spreading throughout Europe, from Malmo to Paris and Marseilles to Amsterdam to Luton and Manchester and so on and on.

The mosques in these areas serve as jihadi conscription stations and schools of radical education. Moreover the vast majority of these mosques go up not in the tonier neighborhoods but generally in less affluent districts where residents have little legal and financial clout. In far too many cases, as we’ve noted, these neighborhoods are effectively ruined, with private driveways blocked by worshipers’ cars, dog walkers molested, infrastructure sabotaged, young girls sexually exploited, Jews and other minorities assaulted, the police rarely if ever intervening. This is what Boby wishes to prevent by legal means. A mosque is not like a church or a synagogue; it can just as easily turn into a command center and a source of civic violence as furnish a space for harmless worship, and it is exactly this that needs to be taken into consideration. Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was not far wrong when, citing a 1912 poem by nationalist poet Ziya Gokalp, he described mosques as “our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets, and the faithful our soldiers.”

Boby, it is fair to say, was not here on a vigilante mission of his own but merely to warn that a genuine menace exists. His purpose was to point out that there are accessible legal means to avert the despoliation of ordinary blue-collar neighborhoods whose residents, as Janice Fiamengo writes in an important FrontPage article, often “lack the financial resources or cultural confidence to protest” and who know “that their concern will be dismissed by local councillors as racist.” Boby, who works pro bono, is merely helping these people “to use the legal channels created precisely to foster citizen involvement in town planning.”

Nevertheless, Boby has come in for blistering and defamatory attacks, not only from the usual dubious suspects like CAIR-Canada and a pusillanimous fellow-traveling media consortium, but also from social and political conservatives who shrink from negative publicity and insist on a hard-and-fast distinction between Islamism and Islam. The unacknowledged motive for such tame insipidness is most likely fear—fear of savage reprisal but also fear of derision from our politically correct and craven contemporaries. For these people, a mosque is merely a house of worship serving a demographic composed largely of “moderate Muslims.” Polls and surveys revealing that a majority of mosques tend to operate as recruitment centers for aspiring jihadists are either ignored or discounted. The evidence is overwhelming, and anyone who disregards it is living not in this world but in some imaginary construct.

From their bully pulpits in the mosque, or in the migrating televangelical version of it, Muslim flamens promulgate with impunity various forms of hate speech and even incitements to violence. But many anti-Islamists draw back from facing the issue squarely. To bring such unpalatable facts to the light of print will do nothing, a conservative correspondent writes me, “to ingratiate us with Muslims who have no quarrel with democracy, just want to get on with their lives…” It is not to our advantage to be “adversarial.” Besides, “the problem in Europe is worse by magnitudes,” there is “a qualitative difference in the types of immigrants you get there,” and broad-brush condemnation “drives open-minded Muslims into the hands of the bad guys.”

Each of these arguments can be readily parried. Why “ingratiate” ourselves with immigrants who are coming to the West to enjoy the prerogatives and benefits of our way of life? Is that what we’ve come to? Should it not be the other way around? Is the host beholden to the guest or the guest beholden to the host? The European experience is not so remote as we may think; it is now becoming the Canadian and American experience as well. Are Muslim immigrants to Europe really so “qualitatively different” from ours, whatever that might mean? In Boby’s England, there was initially very little civil disturbance as the first generation strove to integrate into the heritage culture. In flocked the radical imams, who infected the second and third-generation immigrants with their extremist agenda. This is not an issue we can pussy-foot around. When neighborhoods are being blighted from one end of Europe to another and the same is beginning to happen here and in the U.S., perhaps this is precisely the time to become “adversarial.” It is no accident that CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) has become materially involved in monitoring terrorist plots and has succeeded in preventing local jihadists from attacking public institutions and high-profile public officials, including the prime minister. CSIS is worried about radicalization, not because of people like Gavin Boby—who are only a reaction to what is already taking place—but because of those firebrand preachers who alight upon the mosques and proceed to convert their parishioners to the species of violence urged by the Koran and the Hadith. This is an issue of growing concern in Canada (as elsewhere)—“a problem,” according to the National Post, “that is putting Canadians at risk” as young men, native Muslims and converts, are indoctrinated by radical imams.

My correspondent’s concluding charge, that vigorous analytical criticism of Islam and its social influence will only harden moderates and drive them into the arms of the fundamentalists, seems wholly counter-intuitive. Why should it not have the opposite effect: to alert the moderates to what is amiss in the sacred texts and practices of their faith so that they can oppose these blemishes? Why should pointing out that a religion behaves like a bully turn those who dislike bullying into bullies themselves? This is the same backwards logic unjustly hurled against Boby’s presence among us by two well-known, ostensibly conservative figures, Fred Litwin who runs the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa and Muslim author Salim Mansur, in an editorial for the Ottawa Citizen, titled “Mistaking Islamism for Islam.”

We must, these luminaries inform us, under no circumstances offend the community of “moderate Muslims” who represent the last best hope for both Islam and for us. And yet, after the atrocity of 9/11, the more than 20,000 terrorist attacks since then, the continued spilling of blood, the travesty of the Arab Spring and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, the virulent, Muslim-spawned Jew hatred on campuses across the nation, the civil wars, the bloated casualty counts, the barbarism of resurgent Sharia and more, where, we are entitled to ask, are the vast multitudes of moderate Muslims marching in our streets under banners proclaiming “Not In Our Name”?  Quite the contrary. Democracy advocate Zuhdi Jasser’s recently convened American Islamic Forum for Democracy attracted only a handful of supporters during a demonstration in New York. Meanwhile, according to NBC News, “a coalition of 64 groups representing Muslim lawyers, students, Arab Americans and mosques and an array of advocacy organizations” protested his Senate appointment to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Jasser’s intentions are noble and Litwin and Mansur would surely approve of this standard bearer for moderation. The problem is that it won’t work—the majority of his fellow Muslims won’t permit it.

Like many of their brethren, Litwin acts as amanuensis to the propagators of a despairing conciliation while Mansur is desperate to redeem the unredeemable. It is thus no surprise that they have been profoundly influenced by Bassam Tibi’s 2012 book, Islamism and Islam. What they don’t mention is that the reputable German scholar Clemens Heni, in his more recent Antisemitism: A Specific Phenomenon, points out that that Tibi lauds German-Muslim scholars “who are at the forefront to denounce criticism of the Iranian threat, Islamism, and anti-Semitism”; Heni singles out a certain Naika Foroutan whose thesis advisor Tibi is. Foroutan praises Shia theolgian Mohammad Khatami (who on October 28, 2008, in an address to the University of Freiburg in Germany, referred to Zionism as a “continuation of fascism” and portrayed Israel as “an incurable wound on the body of Islam…that really possesses demonic, stinking, contagious blood”), argues that the West has been looking for a new enemy and found one in Islam, and blames the “state terrorism” of Ariel Sharon for 9/11. Tibi “even wrote a foreword to this highly problematic study.” Heni goes on to say that “The shocking thing is that a scholar like Bassam Tibi supports this kind of counter-productive scholarship” which rejects “any substantial analysis and criticism of Islamism, Islamic anti-Semitism, Sharia Law and Islamic jihad.” This is the sort of bilge that Tibi condones and oversees. It is to the detriment of their argument that Litwin and Mansur have so naively and conveniently allowed their thinking to be shaped by this man.

The late comedian Lenny Bruce used to tell the joke about a convicted murderer who, when queried about what launched him on his nefarious career, replied: It started with bingo in the Catholic Church. Just a joke, of course, but one with a modern application. It starts with a mosque or community center, advertised as appealing to multiple ethnicities, to advance the presumably benign aims of the “religion of peace.” In far too many cases, it does not end there. For when taken seriously, the religion of peace is anything but.

Here is a short account of typical events for February 7 and 8, 2013, on which I write. In Kalaya, Pakistan, Muslim fundamentalists bombed a marketplace selling videos and CD’s, killing at least sixteen. In Shomali, Iraq, fourteen Iraqis at a bus stop were targeted by Islamic State of Iraq bombers, and in Baghdad, “holy warriors” detonated two car bombs at an animal market popular with Shias, slaughtering at least seventeen. In Kano, Nigeria, Islamists gunned down nine female polio vaccination workers in two attacks after clerics accused the program of being a conspiracy against Muslim children, similar to what occurred a few weeks earlier in Afghanistan. In Garissa, Kenya, Islamists shot two Christian pastors, killing one. In Kishindih, Afghanistan, the Taliban took out four locals with a roadside bomb. A few days before, the news broke of a popular Saudi preacher and televangelist who raped, tortured and murdered his five year old daughter. Meanwhile a Sri Lankan guest worker was beheaded in the public square in Riyadh. And a few days before that in London, a young black woman had acid thrown in her face by a figure clad in a burka. Around the same time, Danish journalist Lars Hedegaard, who has repeatedly warned that press freedom is under threat from Islam, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt by an assailant whom Danish police drolly described as “foreign.” The Jewish inhabitants of Malmo are leaving in droves and highly respected Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick has advised Jews to emigrate from an increasingly anti-Semitic Britain, owing to an alliance between the intellectual elite and rabid anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist Muslim advocacy. France is not much better. Boby, who is also a passionate friend of the Jewish people, quotes a French correspondent of his who writes that “young French Jews are deciding to get educated, get ready, and get out” (personal communication).

But it is not only Jews who are at risk from the invasive forces of Islam—although, as Boby affirms, the fate of Jews is a “touchstone issue.” It is also the unsuspecting, vulnerable, generally working class householders and pensioners who eventually find themselves no longer welcome in their own neighborhoods and who are often forced to sell their homes at a fraction of their original value. The more privileged may succeed in preserving their neighborhoods, their lives and their livelihoods, but it is their successors who will bear the brunt of their wavering, their condemnation of the messengers who have come to warn us, and their penchant for refined nuances and textured distinctions, such as Islam/Islamism, when we are under subversive and sustained attack, physically, politically and demographically. It is our progeny who will pay for our failure to make a stand, not only at the gates of Vienna, but at the gates of Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, New York, London, Oslo, Paris, Malmo, Marseilles, Brussels…

When terrorist attacks occur, the immediate response is to rename them as something else: instances of “workplace violence,”  well-deserved retaliations for our multifarious sins, or the work of a pathological fringe. In the aftermath of such enormities, the next impulse of the media and officialdom is to caution citizens to avoid a “backlash” against the innocent and suffering Muslim community—which, be it said, almost never happens. When journalist and film director Theo van Gogh was slaughtered in the streets of Amsterdam by a second-generation Moroccan immigrant, Queen Beatrix’s reflex was to visit a Moroccan community center with pledges of sympathy and support, “a gesture of mind-boggling dhimmitude,” as Bruce Bawer puts it in Surrender. Nor did the Queen see fit to attend van Gogh’s funeral. And naturally, the buzzword of ”Islamophobia” is duly trotted out in such cases, suggesting a sentiment and expression regarded as reprehensible—a misnomer if ever there was one since a phobia is an irrational fear, but there is nothing irrational about it. Such attitudes have become ecumenical.

In the midst of all this programmatic obfuscation, an even more insidious threat unfolds, weakening the fibres of the social and cultural fabric. Terrorism is an effective Islamic tactic, but “entryism”—the penetrating of academia, the media, government, labor unions, protest groups and the very social climate—is even more so. What we are observing is the practice of subversion which, in the words of Derek Nelson and John Thompson of the Mackenzie Institute in their 2013 Primer on Subversion, “seeks to supplant or distort the normal political process” and to transform our culture and law “in areas such as free speech, open courts, family values, and religious freedoms to make them compatible with Sharia law, itself incompatible with liberal democracy.” The neighborhood mosque, as we have seen, is only the beginning of our troubles. If its pacific nature cannot be guaranteed and its respect for local statutes and civic life assured, its effects will spread outward in waves of destabilization, one of the chief aims of the Muslim Brotherhood, as per its 1987 Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,

Cultural authorities and commentators like Gavin Boby, Geert Wilders, Robert Spencer, Bat Ye’or, Andrew Bostom, Philippe Karsenty, Diana West, Jamie Glazov, Pam Geller and Bruce Bawer, among a small platoon of truth-tellers and prophetic voices, speak and write to alert us to the imminent danger that confronts us. Unlike our cultural elect, they refuse to pay Dane geld to a supple and formidable adversary. But it’s an uphill battle, for they are opposed and disparaged by an army of intellectuals, politicians, media quislings and liberal appeasers who serve as the Praetorian auxiliaries for a newly hegemonic Islam. Nonetheless, despite the odds, Boby for one is optimistic. “We will win,” he asserted at the conclusion of his Ottawa lecture. May the future bear him out.

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