- Published on Friday, 29 January 2010 20:37
- Written by Salim Mansur
- Hits: 1173
As the trial of Dutch MP Geert Wilders for offending Muslims unfolds in Amsterdam, I am reminded of Oriana Fallaci’s post-9/11 writings on how she saw Europe wasted from within by the alien cultural force of Islam.
Fallaci was a fearless journalist and author. And though critics faulted her for intemperate language, especially when it came to writing about Islam, Wilders’ trial might well confirm her fears about Europe and the West were not misplaced.
In 2006, Fallaci published The Force of Reason in the U.S. This was a translation from Italian of her hugely successful book La Forza della Ragione, published in 2004, which followed her previous bestseller, The Rage and the Pride, written in the aftermath of 9/11.
In The Force of Reason, Fallaci wrote: “And there is a Europe which does not know where it goes. Which has lost its identity and sold itself to the sultans, the caliphs, the viziers, the mercenaries of the new Ottoman Empire.”
Italian authorities would indict Fallaci with similar charges as brought against Wilders. She was eager to testify at her trial, to turn her indictment against the authorities. But the case never got to court before her death in 2006 at age 77.
Fallaci attributed her understanding of Europe’s fate in part to the writings of another woman of great courage. In Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide and Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, Bat Ye’or, a Jewess born in Egypt and forced into exile, documented the recent history of Europe’s partnership with Arab states.
This Euro-Arab relationship has meant increased sensitivity in European capitals and among its political-intellectual elite for Arab-Islamic politics and culture. It is this sensitivity as political correctness that is on display at the Wilders’ trial.
But this sensitivity also inhibits the political-intellectual elite in Europe and North America from discussing the outrageousness of putting on trial Wilders, or anyone else, for speaking and writing on matters that might offend Muslims.
The demand by Europe’s officialdom — Canada’s officialdom is on the same page — that “free speech” must also meet the requirements of “responsible speech” when the subject is Islam is tantamount to repudiating Europe’s history that made her the cradle of the modern world of science and democracy.
The Wilders trial is indicative of Europe’s bleak future, as Fallaci had warned. This trial amounts to appeasing official Islam, which has demanded “defamation of religions,” according to a resolution adopted in the UN General Assembly in March 2008, be prohibited.
Moreover, in trying Wilders, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal has conceded space to the Islamists by accommodating, in practical terms, their demand for acceptance of Shariah (Islamic law) within secular society.
This can only mean abandoning those Muslims, especially women, who escaped from Islamic countries seeking freedom. They will become vulnerable once again to Islamists enforcing Shariah rule inside enclaves where Muslims reside within Europe.
And a Europe that appeases official Islam, while punishing its critics, will also be uncaring about the struggle for reform inside the Arab-Muslim world as in Iran. Such a Europe, as Fallaci so passionately raged against, will be then sliding into a new dark age.
By SALIM MANSUR, QMI Agency