Timothy Garton Ash was for yearsat St. Antony's College, Oxford (the East European Centre, but the Middle East Studies Center was right there too, under Albert Hourani a diploma mill for young Arabs -- as Rashid Khalidi -- and a place where, later on, Tariq Ramadan could obtain a lectureship while waiting for various rich Arabs to create for him a special Oxford professorship). He thus learned a lot, so he fondly thinks, from Tariq Ramadan. And his friend Ian Buruma, now safely tenured at Bard College -- whew! -- is another who consistently cannot grasp the nature, and therefore the menace, of Islam. Berman has demonstrated Buruma's cruel condescension toward Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
I put up five years ago at NER a piece on Buruma (and Ash). Here it is:
Ian Buruma: "If we antagonize Europeâ€™s Muslims enough we will push more people into joining the Islamist revolution. We must do everything to encourage Europeâ€™s Muslim to become assimilated in European societies. It is our only hope."
Ian Buruma, who wrote a terrible review of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's "Infidel," who has been very slow to understand even the little about Islam he now appears to understand, still thinks that the behavior of Infidels -- their ability to "antagonize" Muslims in Europe or their presumed ability not to "antagonize" Muslims in Europe -- is what will determine Muslim behavior. He is quite wrong. In the Total System of Islam, the verdict is already in on Infidels and there is nothing they can do, as long as they insist on remaining Infidels, to win over Muslims.
When Buruma writes about Infidels putting constraints on themselves, rather than on Muslims, he is prescribing exactly the wrong medicine. Muslims, to the precise extent that they remain Muslims, cannot "assimilate" into an Infidel society, cannot support man-made, Infidel-man-made, legal and political institutions and social arrangements, cannot conceivably offer loyalty to an Infidel nation-state (they have a hard enough time with Muslim nation-states, for the loyalties of Muslims have always naturally been of two kinds: they are either personal, at the family or tribal level, or they are at the supranational level, of the world-wide Community of Believers, the umma al-islamiyya).
And then, attempting to close off all debate, because he, Ian Buruma, is too confused, too disturbed (my, the world and Islam turn out not to be what Ian Buruma thinks they both should be) he tells us the appeasement he urges "is our only hope."
He lacks sufficient knowledge, about Islam and about history. He lacks sufficient intelligence. He lacks sufficient imagination. There are many things that can be done, to render the countries of Western Europe Islam-hostile rather than Islam-friendly. An ending to Muslim migration. A cutting-off of Saudi funds that support mosques, madrasas, and targetted well-financed campaigns of Da'wa in the prisons of Europe and, outside of prisons, among the economically and psychically marginal. A cutting off of Muslim access to satellites that beam Muslim channels, and a banning, or jamming, or other interfering, in addition to constant monitoring, of Internet sites, and other means of communication. Extreme monitoring of mosques (with surreptitious taping), of madrasas, of Muslim meetings -- with the results played on national television, and with appropriate commentary. Expulsion of Muslims involved in any activities that can rightly be defined as the Jihad to spread Islam, using whatever means come to mind. Closing of mosques, permanently, when false papers (national identity cards, passports, even credit cards) and weapons and explosives and audiocassettes preaching hatred of non-Muslims are found), and permanent deportation of all those who attend that mosque.
And so on.
In the end, the example of Masaryk and Benes, those embodiments of the best of high Western civilization between the wars, who as political leaders in Czechoslovakia had to endure the Western surrender at Munich, and then the Nazi conquest of their country and the collaboration with the German soldiers of a local group of Volksdeutsche, the Sudeten Germans, and who, after the war, decided that never again should Czechoslovakia have to endure the permanent security threat of having those Sudeten Germans, who numbered more than 3 million, and who had been living in that region for hundreds of years, within the boundaries of Czechoslovakia. The result -- a result that not Masaryk, nor Benes, nor the poet Jaroslav Seifert, nor the general Ludovik Svoboda, nor any Czech then or since, including kindly Aleksandr Dubcek and fearless Pavel Kohout, right up to Vaclav Havel and today's leaders, have ever regretted (though once, on a trip to Austria, Havel deemed it prudent to find fault with some aspects of the execution of the Benes Decree of 1946).
It is undeniable that, even now, that the large-scale presence of Muslims in the countries of Western Europe has created a situation that is, for all non-Muslims, both the indigenous non-Muslims of those countries, and for the non-Muslims who are recent immigrants (Chinese, Hindus, Vietnamese Buddhists, Black Christians from the Caribbean or Africa) a situation that is far more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous than would otherwise be the case.
That is a truth that even Ian Buruma is going to have to recognize. And his dreamy belief that non-Muslims can somehow "assimilate" large numbers of these Muslims so that they forget the Qur'anic injunction to never take Christians and Jews for friends, and never to obey mere man-made authority but always the expressed will of Allah, Allah who always Knows Best, and that somehow they will be able -- how, exactly? -- to forget or overlook what is in the Qur'an, the Hadith, and the Sira, because they are geographically now in Europe and so, of course, if we are to believe the sly propagandist Tariq Ramadan (who has turned on the charm for Buruma, as he did before for Buruma's sometime collaborator on Islam-related themes, Timothy Garton Ash, who at St. Antony's College came to "learn his Islam" from Albert Hourani and those he chose to staff his fiefdom at Middle East Centre. a center cheek-by-jowl with the East European Centre with which Ash was associated (and how many Rashid Khalidis were quickly processed through, with those D.Phils., requiring no courses and little vetting, as the "theses" on "the construction of Palestinian identity" and such-like kept being churned out, and there was no Elie Kedourie or J. B. Kelly or P. J. Vatikiotis, much less a Joseph Schacht or Arthur Jeffery or even a Bernard Lewis, to maintain even a semblance of scholarly standards).
And between Ash, and Avishai Margalit (on the Israeli left), Buruma has allowed himself to retain his deep belief in the necessity for accepting as the basis for all else Tolerance, even when the tolerance is of those who are, by faith, deeply and permanently intolerant of others, a faith deeply inimical to everything that makes the West the West -- its modes of artistic expression, its free and skeptical inquiry, its emphasis on the individual, its locating of political legitimacy in the will expressed by the people, its commitment to sexual equality and autonomy, its everything.
Ian Buruma is now clinging, as best he can, to his own Articles of Faith. About Diversity. About Tolerance. About how, if you do "nothing" to offend people, then of course they will have no reason to dislike or to hate you (but what if their most sacred texts are full of passages telling them to hate you, and to subjugate, or convert, or kill you? What then, Ian Buruma?).
He's run out of ideas. He's confused. And soon, if he keeps his eyes open, he will be in despair, because what he sees does not compute with what he thinks he should be seeing.
Buruma is simply more example of someone -- there are so many -- who, faced with Islam as a Total System, and the unprecedented threat to our wellbeing and civilization that it represents, not so much through military force and terrorism (though these have their place) but through the money weapon, Da'wa, and demographic conquest -- can by mere numbers, eventually overwhelm us, and all that has been handed to us, in the West, as our civilizational legacy, by those who could never have been produced by, or lasted one minute in, lands where Islam dominated and Muslims ruled.
Mentally, and morally, Ian Buruma -- though from his now-endowed perch at Bard he will keep on churning stuff out -- is a burnt-out case. He can't make sense of things, because it would be too painful. He just can't do it.