by Robert Gear (July 2017)
I first became aware of the slow, insidious gains of creeping Sharia in 1995, sometime after I visited the public library of a large, provincial English City. The library itself was of an eye-wincing brutalist design fashionable in post-war Britain. The starkness of the facade, with its quasi-Stalinesque pretensions, was in itself perhaps symptomatic of the decline of self-confidence assumed since the collapse of Britain’s once world-encircling empire. As Truman’s Secretary of State, Dean Acheson put it in the now clichéd phrase, "Great Britain has lost an empire and has not yet found a role." True, a new optimism was ignited by the ascendency of 1960s British popular music and youth fashions, but the decline of empire also ushered in the enlargement of socialist and statist attempts to reverse the economic decline. These disastrous intrusions into the economic welfare of the country were put, at least temporarily, into remission under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.
Along with this economic decline came the long drawn-out retreat of Judeo-Christian convictions, which the historian Paul Johnson argued, "created the modern political zealot—and his crimes . . . and left a vacuum in the minds of Western intellectuals easily filled by secular superstitions." Johnson was only partially correct. Clearly, the Western world abounds now with secularist creeds, although many are still ethically underpinned by what Friedrich Nietzsche called the "fumes of Christianity." But Islam, to which intellectuals have often allied themselves, is hardly a secular superstition, and with its nose well-adjusted to sniffing out what it understands to be the rotting carcass of Western decadence, has begun its reinvigorated push towards hoped-for world domination.
At first, few noticed. To the aforementioned provincial city—the one which boasted the brutalist confection of a public library which had replaced a magnificent late-Victorian Italianate structure enthusiastically demolished in the headlong rush to complete the unfinished task of Hermann Göring’s Luftwaffe, I had moved with my parents in 1964. Exploring the city back then, we were astonished to see inner-city neighborhoods almost entirely inhabited by Asian immigrants. Not that we or any of my parents’ middle-class friends were critical of this new multicultural world. Far from it. The vibrant colors and smells and signage in forbiddingly incomprehensible scripts added a new exoticism to the relative drabness of the metal-bashing industrial metropolis. We certainly were not prejudiced.
Of course, struggling British industries now being out-performed by continental rivals had pushed governments of both stripes to import cheap Asian labor. And the continental rivals were not to be outdone in their pursuit of lower overheads. The French, for example, settled les banlieues of their great cities with North Africans, and the Germans staffed the assembly lines of their burgeoning automobile factories with gastarbeiter from Turkey and Yugoslavia.
Looking back (now in anger), few could have imagined that a significant portion of those new immigrants would not integrate into their new lands. The Mother of Parliaments and the liberties struggled for during the last several centuries meant nothing to them. And to their children and grandchildren, perhaps surprisingly, these freedoms meant even less. Of course, many did integrate, and yes, yes, of course, many Muslims make excellent citizens of the West. But we see now that those who did embrace the customs of their adopted country were mostly Asians celebrating non-Muslim belief systems, primarily Hindus and Sikhs. A significant minority of Muslims, still clutching hard to their doctrinal beliefs, stubbornly resisted acculturation.
Anyway, back to my experience at the municipal public library. I was there with my teenage daughter in the summer of 1995. Apart from short visits, I had not lived in the UK for 20 years and hence had not been reeducated into the new multiculturalist pieties, so when we sat down at a reading table adorned with a sign boasting ‘Table Reserved for Females Only,’ I ignored the proscription. What was the point of that, I wondered? I was with my daughter, after all. There was no practical necessity that I could see. Males could sit wherever they wanted, and women, too, for all I cared. After about ten minutes, a female staff member (clearly not Islamic) came over and, with pursed lips, indicated the forbidding sign. We got up obediently and moved. This was only a minor inconvenience; nothing to get upset about. Probably it was some new bureaucratic diktat whose motivations are reliably obscurantist whenever and wherever the state and its minions feel the need to expand their grip; or just conceivably radical feminists had been working themselves into a lather about male "intrusiveness" or some such thing.
It wasn’t until sometime later, with the rising tide of sharia appeasement throughout Europe that the reality truly dawned on me. By then, the Muslim population of the UK and Europe had probably trebled. The "Asian" rape gangs, the "Trojan Horse" attempts to Islamicize sections of the British state education system, the upswing of open anti-Semitism which lies at the heart of Muslim dogma, and of course, the frenzied tactics of terror and the more subtle means used by the sharia enforcers, have prodded some Europeans to awaken to the danger. The rough beast of Wahabism and the devastating consequences of Europeans’ own governments’ inaction are now transparent to all except the willfully blind. But these latter are still many in number.
The public library regulations may have merely been written to appease sharia enforcers. But another motive occurs to me; they were naively penned to signal the virtue of the authors by anticipating the expected differing needs of an immigrant population who had not yet voiced the demand for sharia compliance. In effect, they were what someone has called "creative appeasers." Let us appease now in case we have to appease later. Saves trouble and we get to feel good about ourselves!
So it is not just the headline-grabbing atrocities which could lead to civilizational collapse but the trivial almost unnoticed demographically-forced changes like that which my daughter and I experienced. As Aeschylus once wrote two and a half thousand years ago in a very different context, "From tiny seeds grow mighty trunks." Yes, indeed. Listen, America.
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Robert Gear is a temporary resident of Iowa, USA, born and brought up in the UK. He left England in 1975 to circumnavigate the globe, but after three years on the road his grandiose plan was stymied when in Mexico he met his future wife. He worked for much of the last thirty years as an English teacher in three different Gulf Arab countries, and has traveled extensively in the Muslim world from Egypt to Afghanistan and beyond. With his wife, he has coauthored several textbooks in the field of ESL.
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