Reprinted from Il Foglio.
Of course it is our fault if there is an Islamist who blows himself up in Mosul, a terrorist who kills cartoonists, a fundamentalist who stabs Israelis, a couple of integralists who carry out a massacre in a center for people with disabilities, a man who in the name of ISIS fires thirteen gunshots against a Philadelphia police officer. The responsibility lies always with the West, the scoundrel who, with its language, its words, its wars and its bombs keeps provoking, in every corner of the world, the reaction of Jihadism and Islamist integralism. We are the ones who provoke; of course, it is not them who act. And maybe, who knows, the best way to stop provoking this reaction is to step aside, to hide, and to do all that is possible to prevent a possible counter action. And so it is better not to speak of Islam, say the “mainstream progressives”, better avoid the nonsense, better not to call things by their name. It is better, far better, to take care to cover the roots of evil and violence under a veil of hypocrisy. It is better, far better, to launch heartfelt calls against the rampant global emergency of Islamophobia. Better to refrain from speaking of the real problems, of the connection between the use of violence and the interpretation of Islam. And in the end, it is better to step aside and avoid problems altogether. The West’s cultural retreat is an issue that unfortunately is quite present in news reports around the world. However, when the retreat turns into surrender, it is high time to stop whistling, stop pretending nothing is happening, and start looking at reality with different eyes.
Let us all wear a kippah, why not? This is what happened. Three days ago, in Marseille, while major newspapers turned a blind eye, a teacher wearing the kippah [skullcap] was assaulted on his way to a Synagogue. The day after, in that very same France that in 2015 recorded an increase by 84 percent in anti-Semitic attacks compared to the previous year, and in the very same Europe where Islamic veils are proliferating, where women are ready to cover their faces to protest against Islamophobia, where Christian symbols are hidden in the name of political correctness, where the principals of some schools in Amsterdam were in favor of replacing in the school calendar one day of Christian holiday for a day of an Islamic festivity, Marseille’s Israelite Consistory has called on the Jewish community to give up, to end provocations and refrain from wearing the kippah “until better days”. The Chief Rabbi of France Haïm Korsia distanced himself from Marseille’s Consistory and said: “we will continue to wear the kippah”. However, the fact remains; the trend is dramatic and the power of symbols is universal. According to a recent poll of the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency, one third of Jews in Europe have already given up wearing religious symbols for fear of being recognized. Last February, Josef Schuster, the President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany issued a call similar to that of Marseille’s Consistory: he invited Jews to “avoid wearing the kippah in places where there are many Muslims”.
We believe the issue is quite clear then: can we accept to go from a tragic retreat to a dramatic surrender without lifting a finger? Without doing anything, without fighting, without protesting? Without sounding an alarm bell which should make us understand we cannot keep ignoring that the respect for certain religious identities (you know which ones) is making us cover under a veil, literally hide, other religious identities (you know which ones)? No, we cannot. A Jew who hides in fear of being recognized as a Jew is the perfect symbol of a world that forces the West to hide for fear of provoking a reaction among those who want to stab the West. Very well. We are doing our small part, and this year we will turn January 27th, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, into our and your “Wear a Kippah Day”. The Jews shall not hide. The West shall not hide. We stand publicly behind it. If you want to do the same, send your picture to Il Foglio at the email address [email protected]: the kippah is on us.
(Traduzione di Chiara Salce)