BRUCE BAWER: BANNING DOGS AS PETS
This is how it happens, folks. Little by little. Law by law. The proponents of sharia get themselves elected to positions of power – and then, before too long, they start trying to subject the rest of us to it, bit by bit:
Hasan Küçük, Hague councilor for the Islam Democrats, says dogs should be banned as pets in the city, reports De Telegraaf. The Muslim party says that the animals belong in nature, not inside the house. Küçük says that keeping dogs is animal abuse and should therefore be criminalized.
Needless to say, Hasan Küçük’s concerns have nothing whatsoever to do with animal abuse – and everything to do with the fact that Islam considers dogs to be impure. Like women, Jews, and gays, dogs are on the front line of the confrontation in the West between sharia-observant Muslims and the rest of us. When you see Muslims making trouble over dogs, you can bet that it’s just the beginning of all kinds of trouble over all kinds of things that run afoul of Islamic religious law.
To be sure, Küçük’s suggestion – which came in response to a proposal by animal-rights advocates that The Hague be made more dog-friendly – was immediately shot down by other members of the city council. Küçük was undoubtedly not surprised. He knows these things don’t change in a day – they change over time, by a gradual process of wearing down. People like Küçük are exceedingly patient. And they trust in their own patience and intransigence – and in our weakness, our distraction, our readiness to give in, eventually, under steady pressure, on what may seem to us like small matters that are not worth fighting over.
Küçük’s proposal is nothing new. For years now, the Western media have featured, with some frequency, news stories about blind people with guide dogs being refused taxi rides by devout Muslims cabdrivers, being thrown off buses because of complaints by Muslim passengers, or being refused access to stores by devout Muslim shopkeepers. Daniel Pipes has been assiduous in cataloging such cases, some of them dating back to the 1990s, in places ranging from Milwaukee to Melbourne.
The Muslims in these cases invariably argue that their religion commands them not to be around dogs. But it’s not just about dogs but about pretty much every little detail of daily life. The same people who object fiercely to the presence of dogs in their shops or cabs also maintain that their religion commands them not to do, or touch, or say, or see, or be in the vicinity of a great variety of things that are commonplace in the Western world. And once they’ve gotten their way with regard to dogs, they’ll move on to another thing – and then another, and another – at which they take offense, and once again spell out exactly how they expect non-Muslims to change their behavior in order to keep the peace.
It’s the logic of conquerors. But many authorities in the West have bowed to it. In British Columbia, cab drivers whose “honest religious belief…precludes them from transporting certified guide dogs” have been exempted from having to do so. The Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport has alsoworked out a “compromise” between blind people and Muslim cabbies. In Britain, in response to Muslim complaints about “sniffer dogs” used to identify terrorists at airports, authorities limited the dogs’ activities out of “cultural sensitivity.” When sniffer dogs are taken into mosques or Muslim homes, moreover, they’re fitted with “leather bootees” to avoid giving offense.
Generally speaking, as the Muslim percentage of a city’s population climbs, the demands for appeasement grow more and more aggressive. Last year,reports Soeren Kern, Islamic groups in the Catalan city of Lérida – which is 20% Muslim – called for a ban on dogs on public transport and in certain public spaces on the grounds that their presence violates Muslims’ “religious freedom and their right to live according to Islamic principles.” The city’s refusal to introduce such a ban was succeeded by a series of dog poisonings. No surprise there: this is precisely the kind of development that one can expect after a certain point in this process, when demands and pressure haven’t turned the trick.
To treat Muslims’ complaints about dogs as if they deserve serious and respectful consideration is, of course, absurd. But over time, even the absurd becomes familiar. That’s one thing these people are counting on. They’re counting on their ability to wear the rest of us down gradually, accustoming us to ideas, beliefs, and “sensitivities” that, at first blush, strike us as ridiculous. They’re counting on our ultimate willingness to compromise our values, one by one, out of fear of conflict and a misguided ardor for social harmony. They’re counting on our readiness to tell ourselves that we’re not surrendering or being submissive but are simply being good, respectful, cooperative neighbors.
It’s precisely in this way that sharia law is being introduced, step by inexorable step, into the West. The only way to put a halt to it is to ensure that everyone in a position of power in the West is aware of exactly what the Hasan Küçüks among us are up to, and is willing to stand up to them every step of the way – knowing that it’s not about dogs, but about dogma; not about puppies, but about power.
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