Four years after the assassination of gay Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn, his warning of the threat posed to the rights of European gays and women by intolerant, anti-assimilationist Muslim immigrants is increasingly vindicated by events.
Muslims have migrated in large numbers to Europe, have more children than ethnic Europeans, are disproportionately involved in crime, and increasingly insist on being governed not by the prevailing civil laws but by Muslim Shari'ah law. Many Muslim clerics in Europe look to the day when Europe will become a Muslim caliphate. Scholar Bat Ye'or has dubbed that future Europe ''Eurabia.'' Already, Muslim leaders in France, Britain, Denmark and Belgium have declared certain Muslim neighborhoods to be under Islamic jurisdiction.
A prime target of Fortuyn's criticism was the European establishment, a mutually reinforcing collection of political, academic and media elite who are given far more deference by the public than in America, and who are largely accountable only to themselves. A new book by gay author Bruce Bawer, While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within, describes how these elites, with their lax immigration policies, welfare subsidies, politically correct suppression of dissent and collaboration with Arab governments, have imperiled the very freedom and tolerance in whose name they deny the problem.
Bawer describes private Islamic academies, subsidized by European governments, that teach hatred of Jews and America and contempt for democracy. Muslim children are frequently sent to Qur'anic schools in their parents' home countries to cleanse them of Western ideas. Muslim girls are forced into marriages with men from the homeland, who are then allowed to immigrate, reinforcing Muslim separation from European society. Girls who date outside approved circles, stay out all night, or marry contrary to their families' wishes, are murdered in so-called honor killings, as are rape victims.
A judge of the Shari'ah Court of the UK signed a death order against Terrence McNally for depicting Jesus Christ (who is revered in Islam) as gay in his play Corpus Christi. Muslim gangs commit savage assaults on busy streets while crowds look on passively. Researchers don't dare gather statistics on the rise in gay-bashings lest they be seen as criticizing Muslims. Describing his awakening to the threat, Bawer wrote, ''Pat Robertson just wanted to deny me marriage; the imams wanted to drop a wall on me.'' If current trends continue, European imams will have the votes to do it in a few generations.
Bawer writes, ''Fortuyn's opponents claimed that he called for an end to immigration and the expulsion of Muslims from the Netherlands. What he proposed, in fact, was a firm policy of education, emancipation and integration. The Dutch government, he argued, should stop issuing residency permits to imams who preached that Dutch women are whores and gay men lower than pigs....'' For this, officials demonized Fortuyn as a fascist bigot, ignoring the majority of Dutch citizens who shared his concerns. Rather than face the danger portended by Moroccans in one Dutch town dancing in the streets on 9/11, and a mosque selling calendars showing the New York skyline on fire, Dutch officials pilloried Fortuyn as the dangerous one.
As Bawer reports on his blog (brucebawer.com), on Feb. 10 in Oslo, Velbjørn Selbekk, a magazine editor who had reprinted the Muhammad cartoons from the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, and who had withstood pressure from Muslim extremists and the Norwegian establishment for several days, suddenly appeared at a press conference beside the head of Norway's Islamic Council and abjectly apologized. In response, the Muslim leader pledged his protection, and Norway's foreign minister praised Selbekk's ''integrity and courage.'' The death threats against him and his family had apparently taken their toll. Submissive infidels are known as dhimmis, a role tacitly embraced by those Westerners who call any criticism of Muslims racist.
Fortunately, some are refusing to surrender. On March 25 in Trafalgar Square, British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, a self-described ''left-wing Green,'' joined a crowd including humanists, libertarians and liberal Muslims in a rally to defend freedom of expression. The organizers stated, ''The strength and survival of free society and the advance of human knowledge depend on the free exchange of ideas. All ideas are capable of giving offence....'' Notwithstanding such progressive aims, the rally was denounced by many on the left.
Tatchell wrote, ''Sections of the left moan that the rally is being supported [by] the right. Well, if these socialists object so strongly why don't they organize their own demo in support of free speech? The truth is that some of the left would rarely, if ever, rally to defend freedom of expression because they don't wholeheartedly believe in it. Mired in the immoral morass of cultural relativism, they no longer endorse Enlightenment values and universal human rights. Their support for free speech is now qualified by so many ifs and buts. When push comes to shove, it is more or less worthless.''
Unilateral disengagement leads not to peace but to subjugation. If the Enlightenment values that made the gay rights movement possible are to be preserved and extended, the heirs of those values need to overcome their post-colonial reluctance to fight for them. We write our own destinies. Nothing is guaranteed to us. As T.E. Lawrence said blasphemously to his Arab friends 90 years ago, ''Nothing is written.''