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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Hitchens on Steyn

I haven't rushed out to buy Mark Steyn's bestselling new book, America Alone, because I already listen to him on Hewitt's show, I read his columns, I watch him on CSPAN and generally think I grasp the gist of his thesis.

Christopher Hitchens, however, brings a few new elements in his review of the book:

Yet Steyn makes the same mistake as did the late Oriana Fallaci: considering European Muslim populations as one. Islam is as fissile as any other religion (as Iraq reminds us). Little binds a Somali to a Turk or an Iranian or an Algerian, and considerable friction exists among immigrant Muslim groups in many European countries. Moreover, many Muslims actually have come to Europe for the advertised purposes—seeking asylum and to build a better life. A young Afghan man, murdered in the assault on the London subway system in July 2005, had fled to England from the Taliban, which had murdered most of his family. Muslim women often demand the protection of the authorities against forced marriage and other cruelties. These are all points of difference, and also of possible resistance to Euro-sharia.

The main problem in Europe in this context is that many deracinated young Muslim men, inflamed by Internet propaganda from Chechnya or Iraq and aware of their own distance from “the struggle,” now regard the jihadist version of their religion as the “authentic” one. Compounding the problem, Europe’s multicultural authorities, many of its welfare agencies, and many of its churches treat the most militant Muslims as the minority’s “real” spokesmen.

[Emphases mine]

Steyn has, in my opinion, done yeoman's work highlighting the dangerous demographic trends of Europe. These trends are undisputed here at the Kadnine blog. But they only partially explain the problem of Islamism in the West, and Hitch has put his finger on the missing dimensions. (1) Our failure to acknowledge the fractured nature of Islam, (2) our lack of support for Islam's dissidents (those who dissent from the jihadists, that is,) and (3) a multi-culti attitude that elevates jihadists as "authentic." These are the other puzzle pieces that, along with demography, describe our dilemma.

Read it all, for it is good. You'll be intrigued by his 8 point plan at the end. I was, even though I didn't agree with them all.

Both Steyn and Hitchens recognize the long term nature of our fight, and are among the most eloquent in describing it. Hitch concludes:

The Islamist threat itself may be crude, but this is an intricate cultural and political challenge that will absorb all of our energies for the rest of our lives: we are all responsible for doing our utmost as citizens as well as for demanding more imagination from our leaders.

You want to read this.

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