Kim Ghattas’s book, Black Wave, describes the revolutionary fervor which swept across much of the Muslim world in the wake of the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The movement was marked by the sudden reappearance of a wave of black hijabs, abayas, and burqas in countries in which the wearing of such symbols of submission had all but disappeared.
During this period, millions of Muslims converted. But they didn’t convert away from Islam. Rather, they converted from a passive and conventional form of Islam to a more militant and expansionist form.
Having re-Islamized much of the Muslim world, Islamists have in recent years set their sights on the conversion of the West.
But is a conversion of that magnitude possible? In his best-selling novel, Submission, Michel Houllebecq describes how it is possible and even probable. But although many Christians and other non-Muslims do convert to Islam each year, we haven’t yet seen the landslide-type shift to Islam predicted in Submission.
But we may be getting there. In 2013, Nazma Khan founded World Hijab Day, an annual event “to raise awareness and normalize the wearing of the hijab.” The event was intended to present the hijab as a symbol of a woman’s right to choose what she wants to wear. World Hijab Day was soon being celebrated in hundreds of colleges and universities. And thousands of young women and young men fell for the pitch that the hijab is somehow liberating.
The ease with which large numbers of college students succumbed to the notion that the hijab is a beautiful symbol of freedom is one indication that many young people are highly susceptible to propaganda campaigns.
Another indication of youthful susceptibility to dubious trends is the trans craze which is now sweeping through our society. The notion that a boy can become a girl and a girl, a boy flies in the face of both science and religion. Yet faith in the reality of this miraculous transition is spreading rapidly. In the UK, for example, the number of children and young adults who identify as transgender increased by 4,000 percent between 2009 and 2018. And according to the Daily Caller, the Montgomery County public school district in Maryland saw a 582% increase in the number of students identifying as gender non-conforming over the last two years.
Moreover, according to one report, 40 percent of liberal arts college students now claim to be LGBTQ. This includes 61 percent of Wellesley students and 70 percent of students at Smith.
Dr. Lisa Littman of Brown University suggests that the explosive rise in the number of adolescents identifying as trans is largely a factor of peer contagion—not only pressure from other students at school but also from social media peer influencers on the internet. Sadly, instead of countering the contagion, schools often compound it. Teachers introduce students to books about transgender ‘celebrities’ such as Jazz Jennings, and schools keep insisting that all identities should be celebrated.
What does the trans craze have to do with conversions to Islam? The point is that if peers, schools, and social media can accelerate one trend, they can accelerate another. If they can normalize trans, they can normalize Islam. In fact, as I have noted, universities have already become willing participants in the campaign to normalize hijabs. Would they become willing participants in a campaign to stifle criticism of Islam? Of course, they would. They already have. Over the last dozen or so years Arab Gulf-State kingdoms have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to American universities to ensure that students gain only a favorable impression of Islam.
Would the spread of Islam be good for our society? You might as well ask if the spread of transgenderism is good for society. By and large, educators don’t ask those kinds of questions. Educators at all levels are much more interested in fashion—fashions in ideas, fashions in religions, fashions in sexuality and gender, and fashions in historical revisionism (e.g., racism explains everything). Educators may say they are interested in the common good, but they tend to equate the common good with what’s happening now.
Are drag queens in vogue? Then the kids need to know right away. How else can they choose an identity unless they know all the available identities? That’s the way a significant number of educators and their influencers think. Few of them question whether it’s good to normalize drag. The only question for them is “how can we expose kids to more drag?” And their answer, more likely than not, will be to institute a mandatory “drag pride day” during which the queens can display their wares to the kids.
Which reminds me: “International Day to Combat Islamophobia” is fast approaching. Last March, the United Nations declared March 15 to be the annual date for marking the need to combat “Islamophobia.” Why March 15? Because on that date in 2019, a white man killed 51 Muslims during prayer services at two Christchurch, New Zealand mosques.
Doubtless, the educational activists and influencers are already drawing up plans for schools to mark this tragic day. The kids, they will argue, need to know about Islamophobia and they need to know that Islamophobia is caused by white supremacy.
It won’t matter that violent attacks on mosques by non-Muslims are a rarity. And it won’t matter that deadly attacks on Christian churches by Muslims are an almost daily occurrence in Africa.
What matters is that International Day to Combat Islamophobia will give educators an opportunity to portray Muslims as victims of Islamophobia—just as they’ve successfully managed to portray the transgender “community” as victims of transphobia. It will also provide an opportunity to invite Islamic speakers to come to school and explain that Islam stands for peace, justice, and equality for all. For good measure, the kids can be told about all the athletes, musicians, rappers, and other celebrities who have converted to Islam.
I’ve noted some similarities between the movement to normalize trans and the movement to create sympathy toward Islam. But there is a difference. The trans fad may turn out to be a transitory phenomenon. Transgenderism is so obviously out of touch with objective reality and so obviously harmful to children and adolescents that it may turn out to be a short-lived fad. Moreover, the fact that a strong organized parent resistance to transgenderism has arisen may hasten its demise.
Islam, on the other hand, is not a fad. Although there may currently be a faddish interest in Islam, Islam is a 1400-year-old faith. And it has a history of conquest and of conversion that we can’t afford to ignore. Islamic empires were among the largest in history, and in the first centuries of its existence, Islam managed to convert about half of the Christian world to itself. Moreover, in contrast to the transgender movement, the resurgence of Islam in recent decades has met with very little resistance. Although jihadi militants are often hunted down by armed forces –as, for example, in the Philippines—there has been little pushback against Islamic cultural jihad. For example, with a few exceptions, parents have been reluctant to resist the whitewashing of Islam in school curriculums. After all, Islam is a religion and there is a taboo in our culture against criticizing religions (except for Christianity, which is fair game). And then, of course, there is the fear factor. In France, teachers who aren’t sufficiently respectful of Muhammad risk decapitation. Thanks to the fear factor, French teachers are now reluctant to say anything remotely critical of Islam.
There are major differences between the trans fad and the growth of the Islamic faith. That’s not to say, however, that the trans mania doesn’t have any lessons to teach. Perhaps the most important lesson is that seemingly negligible trends can suddenly escalate into fast-spreading contagions. No one would have predicted ten years ago that the time would soon come when many young people would become desperate to declare themselves trans.
But that’s the trouble with straight-line projections of current trends. Such projections don’t take account of the fact that as trends become more popular and acceptable, they accelerate at a faster rate. Many projections predict that in countries such as England, France, and Germany, Islam will become the dominant faith within 30 to 40 years while Christianity will become a minority religion. But it could happen much sooner than that. Once the trend becomes clear to Christians, their level of discouragement will increase and so will their dropout rate. By the same token, as Islam appears more and more to be the coming thing, conversion rates will begin to grow exponentially.
The fact that Muslims make up only a small percentage of the U.S. population should not blind us to the fact of Islam’s rapid growth elsewhere. Many centuries ago, Islam converted Christian North Africa. Now it seems intent on converting the rest of Africa. Meanwhile, in France and other parts of Europe, military and security professionals warn that a clash with Islam is increasingly likely. And, since the average European is well beyond fighting age, that clash is likely to result in a capitulation to Islam.
If that happens, some of the blame will lie with all those in the media and education establishments who have been naively marketing Islam to the rest of us without calculating the consequences. Much of the burden of blame, however, must fall on the shoulders of Christian leaders, both Protestant and Catholic, who—especially in Europe—complacently looked on as newly-built mosques filled up, while churches emptied, parishes closed, and scandals spread.