2020: The Year in European Islam
Executive summary: things aren’t getting better.
This year the biggest story in Western Europe, as around the world, was the Chinese virus and lockdown. Yet the issue of Islam didn’t go away. More cars and churches went up in flames. Muslims continued to expand no-go zones, to engage in gang violence, to bash Jews and gays, to rape infidel women and “groom” infidel girls, to collect hefty welfare payments from supine governments, and to accrue political power that they use to push for Islamization in a range of cultural spheres. While Jews fled Europe to escape Muslim harassment, Muslims kept pouring in, and people smuggling was arguably more of a problem than ever.
Forced marriages and honor killings persisted. In a year when a record number of non-Muslim women across the Western world woke up and decided that they weren’t women after all, and perhaps weren’t even men either, but belonged rather to one of scores of newly minted gender categories, countless Muslim women in Western European sharia enclaves, who enjoyed no such flexibility, remained under the heel of the same rigid system of patriarchal oppression that had characterized Islam for centuries, and received no support whatsoever from the media darlings on the gender barricades.
Criticism of Islam, already verboten in newspapers, plays, you name it, became even more radioactive, with a UK publisher canceling a book – itself not about Islam – simply because its author had tweeted an inconvenient truth about the prophet Muhammed. In January, a previously unknown French teenager, Mila O., slammed Islam on Instagram and joined the ever-growing club of the instantly notorious whose members are forced underground and obliged to live with bodyguards 24/7 (even as cowardly politicians and commentators malign them).
While the year saw no acts of jihadist terror in Europe on the scale of the 2017 Barcelona and Manchester Arena attacks, there were a few somewhat smaller incidents, such as stabbings in Nice on October 29 and a mass shooting in Vienna on November 2 – all of which the media spun with the usual sleight of hand, turning Muslims from perpetrators into victims. On November 13, for example, a contributor to the Guardian named Shada Islam lamented that such acts “put…Muslims back in the spotlight” – as if this were the worst thing about them.
Dismissing what she called “the myth of European Muslims as eternal outsiders, with a culture and customs that make them forever ‘untrue’ Europeans,” Ms. Islam asserted that most Muslims in Europe “abhor” the views of the “tiny minority of Islamist extremists” who commit terrorism. On the contrary, poll after poll has documented that substantial percentages of European Muslims support the replacement of secular law with sharia, while an overwhelming majority (in Denmark, 78%) tell pollsters that defaming Islam should be made illegal.
Yes, there is good news. In Britain, Brexit is finally about to become a reality, returning lawmaking power – and control of the nation’s borders – to Westminster. Thanks to a December decision by two Court of Appeals judges that “free speech encompasses the right to offend,” the deplorable practice of arresting and even imprisoning British subjects for “hate speech” – usually about Islam, but increasingly also about trans people – may be at an end.
Frustratingly, the Islam-critical For Britain has gained little traction – bad news in a country where all of the mainstream parties remain (as the Brits say) “wet” on Islam. Witness the long-awaited Home Office report about “grooming gangs,” the Muslim rape squads that, fueled by Koran-inspired contempt for infidels, have systematically abused thousands of children. To the delight of leftist media, the document, released in December, disgracefully whitewashed the entire phenomenon, cynically shifting attention to non-Muslim rapists. “Victims of grooming gangs have been failed again,” read the headline in the conservative weekly Spectator.
The government in Germany pulled a similar trick, releasing a report that attributed almost all anti-Semitic crimes in that country to right-wing extremists – a conclusion entirely at odds with EU findings. One bright spot is that the anti-Islam party Alternative for Germany is now the largest opposition party in the Bundestag. Another point of light came in the form of a February court ruling, described as “groundbreaking,” that denied the right to wear Islamic headscarves in the courtroom.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron promised in a widely heralded October speech a host of ambitious new policies to fight the Islamic erosion of French secularism. Savaged throughout the Muslim world and by Time, Foreign Affairs, and other media, he’s done little so far to keep his promises. Indeed, in a December interview, he was at pains to draw the usual inane distinction between “Islamist” (bad) and “Islamic” (wonderful) and to attribute jihadist terror to pretty much everything except the directives set down in the Koran.
A couple of weeks ago, Austria also walked back some bold language on Islam. Earlier, in announcing a tough new draft law that would make it easier to fight terror and close “radical mosques,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz had explained that the proposed measure was aimed at “political Islam”; in the wake of Muslim criticism, however, the Austrian Cabinet identified the target as “religiously motivated extremism.” It remains to be seen whether the watered-down language also means watered-down policy.
On to the Netherlands. In November, the imam of Amsterdam demanded that insulting Muhammed be punishable by law, and another imam collected over 125,000 signatures on a petition calling for sharia-based blasphemy laws. Unfazed by an appeals court that this year upheld his conviction for insulting Moroccans at a 2014 election rally, Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders, still the continent’s boldest critic of Islam, thundered: “Islam is the poison of our society…..How many more victims have to fall before…we realize that this terrible Islam does not belong in the Netherlands?’’ Not for the first time, he urged the Dutch government to acknowledge Islam as a violent ideology, dismantle Islamic institutions, seal the nation’s borders, and deport Muslims who threaten violence.
And what of that other Dutch party that’s critical of Islam, the Forum for Democracy (FvD)? Founded in 2016, FvD came out on top in the 2019 provincial elections. In 2020, however, media focus on stray remarks by the party founder, gadfly Thierry Baudet, have lowered party support and led to Baudet’s resignation. He’s now back in the saddle, but it’s unclear whether the party can become the viable voice against Islam that it seemed on its way to becoming.
Late in 2019, the Sweden Democrats (SD), once shunned for their criticism of Islam, became the largest party in that country’s parliament, their growth fueled by such events as the violent August riots by Muslims in Malmö and Ronneby. Though the SD is still routinely labeled “far-right” by legacy media, its refugee policies have won mainstream-party support. As of December, a parliamentary majority backs the possibility of joining NATO – a big move for a nation that has been unaligned since the Napoleonic Wars.
In Norway, the Progress Party (FrP), which gained power by gutsily taking on Islamic immigration, wimped out years ago and is bleeding voters, although it did push through a couple of minor victories this year, such as a government promise to prioritize Christian over Muslim refugees. A couple of new parties have been launched by critics of Islam, but are too puny to make a difference.
In recent years, Denmark has often seemed to confront Islam more responsibly than any other Western European country. This year saw concerted government action to shrink Muslim ghettos and a historical judicial ruling against gangs; also, as a result of savvy policies, more refugees returned to Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and Bosnia than came from there. Moreover, the five-year-old New Right, which calls for even tighter immigration controls than are currently in place, made major strides, becoming the fourth largest party.
Surveying the whole of Western Europe, however, it’s hard not to conclude that the rule of the day, on the Islam front, is inertia. The situation can seem baffling: while the majority of European infidels recognize Islam as incompatible with Western freedoms, the organized resistance to Islamization in most countries is isolated, weak, and disorganized. Meanwhile established institutions – the media, the EU, big corporations, publishers, etc. – are increasingly pro-Islam. So are most mainstream politicians, even though some are willing to back sensible, if modest, immigration moves in order to keep their jobs.
Yet for every step forward there’s a step back: governments raid terrorist-linked mosques only to permit the construction of yet more – and bigger – mosques. This way, needless to say, lies disaster. Only the nations of Eastern Europe, it seems, stand a strong chance of a free future, because they, and only they, are firmly and consistently standing up to EU tyranny by resisting mass immigration, rejecting Muslim demands, and defending their borders.