Friday, November 2, 2007

Book Review: While Europe Slept

Europe as we know it is slowly disappearing as radical Islam steadily spreads across the land, helped by multicultural do-gooders and socialist statists? This seems to be the premise of Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within, a polemic about the growing menace of radical Islam and how it is slowly destroying Europe and it’s liberal, freedom-loving ideals.

The way Bawer tells it, it is an apocalypse in the making. That unless radical Islam is stopped in its tracks, Europe will become Islamized and Europe, as we know, will cease to exist. Reality or just plain hysterics? I think it’s a little of both.

Bawer is not some conservative nut job, but a noted writer and critic who lives in Norway and sees first-hand what effect radical Islam is having. Radical Islamists demand Sharia be imposed, that gays be murdered (Bawer is gay, so imagine his reaction), and that democracy be dismantled. All for recreating some mythical caliphate that existed in the seventh century.

It’s not clear whom to blame: Muslims, who fail to assimilate; or Europeans, who coddle them. Bawer tends to blame the latter. Made up mostly of politicians, journalists and other elites, they are Europe’s ruling class; and they have a blind spot to the coming danger.

These elites—mostly socialists, multiculturalists, and other assorted leftists—tend to treat Muslim as some exotic ethnic group to be protected, not as an ideology. With lax immigration policies, Muslims arrive in Europe by the planeloads, where they are not integrated or assimilated in anyway, but are separated, forced to live in ghettos, encouraged to keep their culture, keep to themselves, and are discouraged from learning the language, culture, values of their adopted land. It is the kind of patronizing racism that is practiced throughout Europe.

This explains radical Islam appeal among Muslim immigrants and their offspring. Alienated by the country they live in, they are susceptible to entreaties by radical Islamists, who control many of the mosques (and funded by the government), and fed a steady diet of anti-Western rhetoric, and conditioned to hate the country they live in. It explains why crimes by Muslim youths are on the rise throughout Europe, something Bawer continually harps on. Remember the Paris riots of 2006? It was by Muslim youths. Of course, the European press tends to whitewash these stories, blaming capitalism, globalization, or some other bogeyman of the week.

But is Europe going to hell, or is it so far along that there is no going back? Bruce Bawer doesn’t say much on the subject except that Europe must get its act together less it becomes some Islamic backwater, bereft of liberty, happiness, and democracy.

Personally, I think Europe is made of sturdier stuff and will survive with its ideals intact. Opposition to radical Islam has been slow, but growing steadier by year. A new crop of politicians, which Bawer mentions, are on the rise who plan to do something about the problems at hand; helped by Muslims, who are equally repulsed by the repugnancy of some of their fellow co-religionist’s stridently anti-Western views, who want to share in Europe’s prosperity, and its idels, while practicing their faith. Bawer gives these Muslims little shrift, in my opinion.

Essentially, the central theme of this book is about multiculturalism gone arye. Bawer often compares Europe to the United States, and how the latter has done a great job of assimilating its Muslims, while the former utterly failed in assimilating theirs.