DANIEL GREENFIELD: CONVERSIONS TO ISLAM
An alarming feature of our current sociocultural world is the striking frequency of conversions to Islam across the entire gamut of Western private and public life: prisoners converting to the religion of peace in record numbers; women who crave the emotional comfort and feeling of security that donning the hijab or the niqab purportedly confers; disaffected youth who find purpose and meaning in attending the mosque, often becoming radicalized in the process; African-Americans reacting against Christianity as the white man’s religion and who “associate conversion to Islam with recovering their ethnic heritage”; political figures who, whether secretly or publicly, swear by the Koran, the most conspicuous recent example being the bizarre spectacle of Arnoud Van Doorn, one of the Dutch producers of the uncompromising anti-Islam film Fitna and a former leading member of Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party, happily and gratefully converting to Islam. Even a Gitmo prison guard proved unable to resist the seduction of Islam. To read only a partial list of notable converts to Islam is chastening.
Such conversions reveal a craving for the collectivist embrace of an explanatory and consoling paradigm, and are a symptom of cultural irresponsibility. Some of these, it is true, remain more or less innocuous, but others lead to the espousal of sanctified violence. Michael Ledeen points out in an interesting article debunking the myth of the “homegrown terrorist” that such people, “motivated by strong ideological or religious beliefs,” have come to identify with foreign doctrines and ideologies that are “anything but homegrown.” The indoctrination they undergo may be learned online, though “more often than not [it] takes place at the feet of foreign teachers and trainers.” They are not to be understood as homegrown terrorists since they have “turned to non-American visions and visionaries.” Reiterating his rejection of the “homegrown” label, Ledeen calls them “converts” who “have taken leave of us to join our enemies.” Of course, the terminology we use may also be a question of semantics. Rudi Giuliani has no qualms about using the term “homegrown,” but he means the same thing as Ledeen. He goes wrong, however, in claiming that a significant number of terrorist attacks come from a “distorted Islamic extremist ideology.” Such attacks are enjoined in the Koran and validated in the Hadith and derive not from some rarefied or ultraist version of the faith but from Islam proper. There is nothing “distorted” (to echo Giuliani) or deviant about them.
“Imagine,” writes former Muslim Bosch Fawstin, “if…we used terms such as ‘Radical Nazism’…and ‘Militant Communism.’ The implication would be that there are good versions of those ideologies, which would then lead some to seek out ‘moderate’ Nazis. Those who use terms other than ‘Islam’ create the impression that it’s some variant of Islam that’s behind the enemy that we’re facing.” He continues by stressing the undeniable fact that Islam “is a political religion; the idea of a separation of Mosque and State is unheard of in the Muslim world. Islam has a doctrine of warfare, Jihad, which is fought in order to establish Islamic (‘Sharia’) Law, which is, by nature, totalitarian. Sharia Law calls for, among other things: the dehumanization of women; the flogging/stoning/killing of adulterers; and the killing of homosexuals, apostates and critics of Islam. All of this is part of orthodox Islam, not some ‘extremist’ form of it.” Many, if not most, converts appear serenely unaware of the central tenets and imperatives of their adopted faith, and never seem to ask themselves the obvious question: was Mohammed, with his program of military conquest and his many sanguinary injunctions, a “moderate Muslim” or an Islamist?
What we are dealing with is a local subset of V.S. Naipaul’s Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions among the Converted Peoples. Naipaul treats of the tragic effects of Arab imperialistic conquest of four Asian nations, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan and Indonesia. He writes: “The cruelty of Islamic fundamentalism is that it allows only one people—the Arabs, the original people of the Prophet—a past, and sacred places.” Converted peoples “have to strip themselves of their past…It is the most uncompromising kind of imperialism.” Naipaul’s stories about his travels and the people he met are often heartrending and testify to the confusion and dislocation he sees in their lives and the desertification of mind and spirit that Islam has visited on these countries—the most “retrograde force” in the world, as Winston Churchill described Islam in The River War.
Naipaul is speaking chiefly of massive, forced conversions, but the same is true, mutatis mutandis, of the inroads that the religion of peace has carved into the West where voluntary conversions seem to have attained near-epidemic proportions. Islamic supremacy operates through various complementary means: fear triggered by outright violence and the threat of violence; infiltration of administrations at the municipal, regional and national levels; the suborning of a debauched and obeisant media apparatus; the abject scrivenings of a submissive intellectual class; the pervasive compliance of the entertainment industry; and the corruption of the academy with the willing assistance of university syndics, professors and student unions—a perfect illustration of the Gramscian long march through the institutions. The evidence is pouring in from everywhere, dutifully ignored by those who have a stake in the multicultural fiction. Bruce Bawer, our point man in Norway, has abundantly chronicled the ongoing Islamic conquest of the country that proceeds with the willing complicity of media, academic and political elites. “One way to avoid warfare,” he quips, “is to surrender,” and tells of a representative youngster, a terrified native Norwegian schoolboy menaced by Muslim gangs, who “alone knows five people who have converted.” Multiply by a correlative census coefficient and the picture darkens considerably.
When all these factors are assembled, abetted by the growing phenomenon of conversion, Islam is virtually assured of subverting vast segments of Western social, cultural and political life. Indeed, as if to rub salt into the wound, Islamic speakers are increasingly hosted in our auditoriums, public venues and places of worship while those who oppose the surrender of our rights and liberties to an alien and hostile creed are vigorously repudiated.
To take only the most recent instances of such blatant ignominy, in the immediate wake of the horrific Boston Marathon bombing and the terrorist plot to blow up a VIA rail passenger train over Niagara Falls, the anti-semitic director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at SUNY-Binghamton, Ali Mazrui, is to be honored at Georgetown University, and Leila Shahid, a convicted terrorist, airline hijacker and spokesperson for the Palestinian mafia, has been invited to speak by satellite link at the University of British Columbia. At the same time, Pamela Geller’s speech at a Toronto synagogue has been cancelled, owing to police pressure and a flexible rabbi who caved before it, determined, no doubt, to retain his police chaplaincy. Geller is thus deprived of the opportunity to tell the truth about sharia, jihad, honor killing, female genital mutilation, blasphemy laws and all the other gifts showered upon us by Islamic advocacy. But Ali Mazrui and Leila Shahid will be offered the occasion and the forum to fire up sympathy for and make a few more enthusiastic converts to the religion of peace.
The longer we insist on ignoring the dromedary in the room, the sooner the acropolis of the West will be invested and despoiled. The drift toward political and cultural capitulation signaled by such callow genuflections as we have noted here is one of the most important issues of our time. The specter of conversion in particular is the sign and stamp of a successful imperial campaign. Once it acquires the force and sweep of a movement, it is too late for a biopsy. The disease has entered its final stages. It is, perhaps, only a matter of one more generation before the curtain comes down—two if we are lucky. To adapt T.S. Eliot’s famous aphorism, this is how a culture dies, not with a bang but a simper.
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