City Journal has an interesting article on the way Western civilization is bowing to the pressures of Islamic law and jihad.
The cultural jihadists have enjoyed disturbing success. Two events in particular—the 2004 assassination in Amsterdam of Theo van Gogh in retaliation for his film about Islam’s oppression of women, and the global wave of riots, murders, and vandalism that followed a Danish newspaper’s 2005 publication of cartoons satirizing Mohammed—have had a massive ripple effect throughout the West. Motivated variously, and doubtless sometimes simultaneously, by fear, misguided sympathy, and multicultural ideology—which teaches us to belittle our freedoms and to genuflect to non-Western cultures, however repressive—people at every level of Western society, but especially elites, have allowed concerns about what fundamentalist Muslims will feel, think, or do to influence their actions and expressions. These Westerners have begun, in other words, to internalize the strictures of sharia, and thus implicitly to accept the deferential status of dhimmis—infidels living in Muslim societies.
This highlights one of the largest problems with multiculturalism, which assumes all cultures to have equal value. The truth is, many other cultures are not equal to Western civilization and its emphasis on personal, individual liberty. In our misguided attempt to show how open-minded we are, we are, instead, submitting to a level of intellectual slavery unacceptable in the West for over a century.
I'll be more blunt: Islamic civilizations as practiced in at least the last two centuries is inferior to that of Western civilizations such as those found in the United States and Great Britain. For all the talk from the Left of fascism and totalitarian rule, the U.S. provides more and better opportunities for free expression, free thought, and personal fulfillment than anywhere else on the planet. It's not jingoism to say so.
This isn't to say that there aren't people and organizations whose sole purpose seems to be to silence dissent. That's why you have groups like CAIR, who scour the media in attempts to silence those who point out the violent and anti-intellectual nature of Islam as practiced by a vocal but powerful minority of Muslims. These people don't want their theologies or philosophies debated; they want dissenters silenced.
That's why cartoons can cause riots and major media do not like to discuss the religious origins of various crimes. It's perfectly legitimate to allow Bill Maher to malign Catholicism, but don't point out that a BBC documentary neglected to inform viewers that several of its "ordinary Muslims" were actually terrorists.
My oldest daughter took a practice A.P. test this weekend and brought home the test. The test was over world history, but only world history of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. There was virtually no European history and no American references on the test. There was, however, a required essay on Islam and contributions to world culture by Muslims.
We can argue about the appropriateness and timeliness of such assignments. I do, in fact, think it's a good thing for high school students to be learning about the cultures in that part of the world, considering how important that area is to America in the 21st Century. But I don't recall being required to write essays on the contributions of imperialist Japan to world culture. In fact, my world history courses weren't particularly objective where Germany and Japan are concerned.
But that was 30 years ago, before certain people decided that America is the root of all evil in the world and that, when attacked, we deserved it.
I cannot imagine such nonsense being spoken even 30 years ago, but now we have "spiritual mentors" who unapologetically think America is the problem. It's no wonder that Western civilization is surrendering to those who demand we not offend them.