In this item from a couple of days ago, we learn that representatives of various Muslim nations have appealed to that supremely impartial and impeccably credentialed arbiter of justice, the U.N. Human Rights Council, to protest a rising tide of “Islamophobia” in Western nations.
“People of Arab origin face new forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance and experience discrimination and marginalisation,” an Egyptian delegate said, according to a U.N. summary.
And Pakistan, speaking for the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said the council’s special investigator into religious freedom should look into such racism “especially in Western societies.”
Setting aside for a moment my partisan concerns for the outcome of the current round of our ancient mortal struggle, I must say I find several things to admire in this latest thrust.
First of all, there is the sheer moxie of it. In the West there are thousands of mosques, and the millions of Muslims living in Western democracies are free to practice their religion openly. In Muslim lands Christians are harried and persecuted, subjected to second-class status as dhimmi , and denied the construction of churches or open expression of their religion. Jews are routinely and openly referred to as apes and pigs, and calls for their subjugation or extermination, and for the destruction of their homeland, are commonplace and perfectly acceptable. But here in New York, for example, a new mosque — provocatively named the Cordoba House — is slated to open at Ground Zero, on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, with the fulsome endorsement of our very own Mayor.
One can admire also the blithe unconcern with propositional coherence. “Islamophobia” refers to an attitude toward Islam — a religion and an ideology — but the complaints generally drift into accusations of racism. The West’s concern, though, is for the growing existential threat to the health of Western culture posed by the Islamic meme-virus itself, and it doesn’t matter one whit if the carrier is an Arab, a Persian, an Indonesian, or a converted Scotsman. The issue, in other words, is all about religion and ideology, and has nothing at whatsoever to do with race. But “racism” is still such a venomous accusation — despite its being used so promiscuously these days that it is becoming the Zimbabwean dollar of social criticism — that the OIC might as well fling it at us, knowing that there are plenty of exposed surfaces upon which it is likely to stick. And as for “Islamophobia”: as rational observers have pointed out thousands of times over, a “phobia” is an irrational fear. If, however, one believes on rational grounds that the spread of Islam in the West will transform and diminish Western culture in foreseeable and undesirable ways, then concern about this accelerating trend is no phobia, but sensible self-preservation.
But perhaps one perennial charge does have, at long last, a grain of validity to it, which I hope will grow as time goes by, and as we begin to come to our senses: the charge of discrimination.
Under prevailing Western social orthodoxy, of course, discrimination of any sort is all but taboo. The expanded modern liberal Western mind, stripped of reverence for its cultural heritage — and having shed, as a snake sheds an outgrown skin, the scaffolding and buttresses of traditional standards and valuations with whose support it was originally constructed — now floats, weightless, somewhere above the ground, inflated and unmoored, with no point of leverage from which to engage the massive objects moving all around it. It can only push against its internal parts, standing on one piece of itself to grapple with another; it has no longer any place to stand from which it can seize and take the measure of anything outside itself. It occupies a seductively agreeable vantage; from above the hills and valleys one can see a long way. But as it drifts away, it leaves behind on the ground below some very attractive real-estate — our ancient home and birthright — that will not lie vacant for long.