By Andrew C. McCarthy, NRO
Do you remember the jihadist terror campaign that ravaged Malmo, Sweden’s third largest city? Do you recall the bombings, the suicide-hijackings, and the random assassinations that finally coerced the city to surrender to Islamization?
No? Funny, I don’t remember them either. Yet there is no question that Malmo has surrendered. Large enclaves of the city, like similar enclaves throughout Western Europe, have earned the dread label “no-go zone.” They are unsafe for non-Muslims, particularly women who do not conform to Islamist conventions of dress and social interaction. They are especially perilous for police, firefighters, and emergency-medical technicians.
Why would a community discourage the so-called first-responders? After all, the top priority of law-enforcement officers is to assist crime victims. In an Islamic enclave, a high percentage of these will be Muslims. And obviously, the fire department and the ambulances are dispatched to save lives — here, Muslim lives. Yet, the community is hostile. The police and other emergency personnel are viewed as agents of the non-Muslim state. Their presumptuousness in entering the Islamic enclave and acting under the color of Swedish law is taken as an affront to Islamic sovereignty.
An Islamic enclave in the West may as well be the West Bank, and the authorities the IDF. They are regarded no differently. That is why, as Soeren Kern of the Madrid-based Strategic Studies Group notes, “Fire and emergency workers . . . refuse to enter Malmo’s mostly Muslim Rosengaard district without police escorts.” And sensibly so: When firefighters attempted to extinguish a blaze at the city’s main mosque, local Muslims pelted them with stones.
There is a simple reason why this has happened to Malmo, and why it is happening in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, etc. The European Union forced on its member states the same approach to their swelling Muslim populations that the Obama administration is now trying to strong-arm American cities and states into adopting. It is a suicide theory, holding that the only threat to our security is “violent extremism.”
Violent extremism, the theory goes, is wanton and irrational. Therefore, it is mere coincidence that today’s violent extremists are almost uniformly Muslims. Indeed, the big thinkers settled on the antiseptic term “violent extremism” specifically to avoid the word “terrorism,” which, owing to the inconvenience that Islamic scripture adjures Muslims to “strike terror into the hearts” of their perceived enemies, would give violent extremism an Islamic connotation that is to be studiously avoided, no matter how accurate it may be.
With violent extremism as their guide, policymakers instruct security agencies that there is no need to scrutinize any strain of Islamic ideology for the purpose of divining what Islamists want. In fact, the theory continues, because violence is wanton, while Islam is peaceful, violence must perforce be anti-Islamic, and thus Islamists must be just as offended by it as anyone else. Consequently, since by some strange quirk of fate the violent extremists seem to be coming out of the Islamic community, the best strategy is to befriend Islamist leaders and consult them about how we can conduct investigations without causing offense.
Naturally, police veterans fully appreciate that this is nonsense on stilts. They know that violence is often barbaric in the execution but almost never irrational in the application. Understanding motivation is the key to solving most crimes. But, hey, if the suits want it to be “violent extremism,” then violent extremism it is.
Cops, like most of us, want to get promoted up the ranks. Today, the people deciding who gets promoted up the ranks are progressives. You may remember their visionary criminal-justice theories from the 1960s and 1970s, as well as the explosion of crime that resulted from them. Back then, it was all about excusing the savagery and punishing the police for failing to understand the root causes. Today, it is about infantilizing the savages and warning the police not to look for the root causes.
If we cared to look for the root cause of what’s happening in Europe — happening primarily without “violent extremism” — the answer is very simple: Islamist leaders have adopted a strategy of voluntary apartheid in their quest to Islamize the West.
The strategy has been championed by the Muslim Brotherhood. Its chief jurisprudent, Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, urges Muslims to relocate to Europe, Australia, and North America. There, they should live among other Muslims, conduct their affairs in accordance with sharia (the law of Islam), and pressure Western governments to accept the primacy of sharia in Muslim enclaves — enclaves that will grow and spread and connect. By convincing “Western leaders and decision-makers of our right to live according to our faith — ideologically, legislatively, and ethically,” Qaradawi reasons that Muslims would “traverse an immense barrier in our quest for an Islamic state.”
Equally adamant is the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the bloc of governments from the world’s Islamic countries. The OIC purports to speak as a sovereign on behalf of the Muslim ummah. In 2010, it released its now annual report on — what else? — Islamophobia. The report conjures an imaginary tidal wave of anti-Muslim bias while overlooking both the predominance of Muslims in global “violent extremism” and the West’s pandemic of official solicitude toward Islamic leaders. “Muslims should not be marginalized or attempted to be assimilated, but should be accommodated,” the report proclaimed. “Accommodation is the best strategy for integration.”
The best strategy for whom? Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, goes even farther, inveighing that “assimilation is a crime against humanity.” With progressives in charge and see-no-Islam in vogue, Erdogan remains the West’s favorite “moderate” Islamist, despite the fact that he rejects the term “moderate Islam” as an insult. “Islam is Islam,” he snaps, “and that’s it.” Meanwhile, he warns Germany’s leaders not to pressure their large immigrant population of Turkish Muslims to become German. The message to Muslims is clear: Integrate? Yes. Assimilate? Never.
That is the plan, and it’s making extraordinary progress with a minimum of violent extremism. As Soeren Kern elaborates, in England Islamist organizations are now pressing to turn twelve British cities into Islamic emirates: autonomous Muslim enclaves governed by sharia law, independent of the national justice system. They call one proposed emirate “Londonistan” — surely not to honor Melanie Phillips, who wrote a book by that title, but confirming nevertheless the phenomenon she so brilliantly diagnosed. In these cities, non-Muslims are serially harassed, women are threatened (and worse) for failing to don the veil, and visiting officials such as former home secretary Jon Reid are heckled, “How dare you come to a Muslim area?”
In France, the government now posts on its official website the list of 751 Zones urbaines sensibles, the Muslim enclaves considered no-go zones. Non-Muslims are on notice: Enter at your own considerable risk. The police no longer go in. The nation no longer exercises sovereignty. The same pattern is seen in Brussels, Rome, Amsterdam, and the Ruhr: As the number of Muslims increases, so does the number of enclaves. The police will not enter without police escorts, which often means the police will not enter, period. As one police chief told the German press, the governments may deny it, but everyone knows these no-go zones exist, and “even worse, in these areas crimes no longer result in charges.” The Muslims are “left to themselves. Only in the worst cases do we in the police learn anything about it. The power of the state is completely out of the picture.”
These are the wages of a myopic concentration on the physicality of violence coupled with an irrational denial that the violence — jihadism — is only is part of an ambitious plan to govern in accordance with sharia. Violent jihad is not wanton. It is part of a strategy to implement sharia as the foundation of a fundamentalist Muslim society. That is why sharia is worth studying. The idea is not to kill non-Muslims; it is to overcome resistance. Sometimes that is done by “violent extremism,” but it is just as effectively done by demoralizing the police. It is even more effectively done by infiltrating the councils of government policy.
The Obama administration has arrived at a counterterrorism policy it publicly calls “Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States.” It has its roots in the Homeland Security Department’s “Countering Violent Extremism” working group.
In 2010, the working group issued its recommendations. The group “felt” it was essential to “delink” law enforcement’s “crime reduction efforts” from studies on “radicalization” in the Islamic community. Law enforcement needs to be more “sensitive,” the working group suggested, to damaging community “perceptions” that can arise from “enforcement actions and intelligence gathering.” Nothing is more important, the group argued, than developing strong relationships between police and communities, and those relationships can be wounded if people “perceive that they are viewed as incubators of violent extremism.” Instead, police should take their lead from “members of the community” who “should be invited to provide training to government personnel.”
And who was in that working group, offering advice that is now federal policy? Among others, it included top officials of such Islamist groups as the Islamic Association of North America (an organization shown to be complicit in the Muslim Brotherhood–led conspiracy to finance Hamas, proved by the Justice Department in a 2008 prosecution), Muslim academics, the president of the Muslim Bar Association of New York, and the president of the ultra-leftist Southern Poverty Law Center.
They tried the same thing in Europe: Emphasize “violent extremism,” bleach out Islam, build strong relationships with influential Muslim leaders, and — just to prove you’re not one of those “just the facts ma’am” Cro-Magnons — let the Muslim leaders be your eyes and ears in their communities. Trust them to tell you what they think you need to know about Islamic culture. That frees you up to devote your energy to stamping out the scourge of Islamophobia.
Look how well it’s worked out.
— Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, is the author, most recently, of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.