I Read The Crisis of Islam by Bernard Lewis this weekend. A marvelous read. Intelligent, erudite, and without a political axe to grind that I could see. Fair, seemingly, to both sides. He manages in the space of just a few hundred pages to frame the issues in historical context from the birth of Islam through the middle ages and into the present; the problems with European imperialism in the 19th Century and the formation of the state of Israel in the 20th. The crisis is such a stew of ingredients, such a hearty mix, that one item (such as the formation of the state of Israel) cannot be pointed at and declaimed "there is the cause!" Rather it is a far more subtle interaction of disparate elements.
I had several moments of epiphany reading the book. The chief ah-ha moment was this: the Crisis of Islam is Islam's crisis. I have been made to feel fear. Western European democracy is in danger of being supplanted by shiara law, or at the minimum, the formation of a dual society in which German Muslims, for instance, would be subject to shiara law. Theo Van Gogh was murdered in the street by a Islamic zealot because he dared criticize Islam. Thus, in two more generations, when the decendants of muslim immigrants far outnumber white European Christans, and vote down representative democracy in their final triumph--the use of democracy to destroy democracy--then their true 1000 year attempt to invade and conquer Europe, will have succeeded.
This, of course, is the dire threat painted by Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly. They see all muslims as one. This is the hallmark of the bigot. Over-generalization. Not all muslims are fanatics. This is what Bernard Lewis points out in his wonderful historical overview. Far more Islamic blood has been spilled by muslims than by Christians. Islam has no swords-to-poughshares mentality. There are no beatitudes in the Koran. Lewis says that to analogize Mohammed's relationship to the Koran would be as though the Emporer Constantine had written the Gospels. This may account for some of the belligerance expressed in some of the suras of the Koran.
But fear is fear. Western Civilization has withstoodeastern onslaught since the Battle of Thermopolyae in 480 BC. As Dr. Stephen Hawking as well as others have said, the best predictor of the future is past experience. Islam has been rebuffed from Europe and the west every time it has tried to conquer. Why? Our ideas are better.
That's why so many muslims are moving here. And that's why Hannity and O'Reilly are wrong. Muslims won't vote as a block. Many will vote to uphold and continue to enjoy the civil and human rights they came here to find. I believe so strongly in the sanctity of our Western values to trust them, even to muslims, in the privacy of voting booths.