Multiculturalism: Islamic Style

“Schoolchildren banned from singing Silent Night over fears it will offend other religions.” So reads a headline in the Express. Instead of singing the lyrics which might “offend other religions,” schoolchildren in Bresciano, Italy were told to hum the tune.

If you have trouble guessing what other religion might take offense, it probably means that you’ve spent the last eight years in the Galapagos Islands studying the evolution of finches. Either that, or you work for the State Department. Those who have been paying attention know that the religion in question is Islam. The new rule, to paraphrase Robert Spencer, is “When in Muslim countries, do as the Muslims do, and when in non-Muslim countries, do as the Muslims do.”

Thus, in one Italian town, “Silent Night” can’t be sung, and in another, a priest has cancelled a traditional Nativity scene at the local cemetery out of respect for Muslim graves. Meanwhile, in Sweden, the traditional St. Lucy’s Day celebration has been cancelled by several towns and cities so as not to offend other religions. In response, Sweden’s Muslim community has decided to cancel all festivities connected to the celebration of Eid al-Fitr, out of respect for Christians.

I made up that last sentence, of course; Muslims don’t seem to worry overmuch about offending other religions or, for that matter, about offending secular sentiments. As is increasingly apparent, multiculturalism is a one-way street. Christians are expected to make concessions and yield up cultural territory while secularists (on the one hand) and Islamists (on the other) use multiculturalism as an excuse to engage in cultural land grabs.

In reality, multiculturalism is a one-way street to a monoculture. Secularists do not wish for a society with a rich diversity of thought and belief. What they are working toward—as can be seen most clearly on college campuses—is a complete uniformity of thought. To the extent that secularists are interested in other cultures, they are interested in using them to undermine the Judeo-Christian, Greco-Roman inheritance. Muslims also desire a monoculture—although a decidedly non-secular one. However, they are quite willing to take advantage of multicultural orthodoxy in order to advance their own agenda.

Islamists are willing to play the multicultural game, but occasionally their condescending attitude towards other cultures peeps through the veil of taqiyya. Consider this from Islam Question and Answer:

It is not permissible for a Muslim to eat things that the Jews and Christians make on their festivals or what they give him as a gift on their festivals, because that is cooperating with them and joining in with them in this evil…

The authors of Islam Question and Answer are not worried about offending other religions, and neither is popular Indian Islamic preacher Dr. Zakir Abdul Karim Naik. On December 24, he wrote the following on his Twitter account:

Wishing “Merry Christmas” to Christians is Worst Evil, worse than fornication or murder… Please avoid it my dear Muslim brothers and sisters… It’s a big sin…

In the West, Muslims are willing to make a nod toward the Western celebration of diversity. But in Muslim majority nations it’s a different story. To the extent that other faiths are tolerated, they are tolerated only insofar as they accept dhimmi status. The second-class status of Christians was originally set down circa 640 A.D. in the Conditions of Omar. Among other things, the rules stipulated that Christians:

  • were not to build or repair churches
  • were not to clang cymbals or bells, or display crosses on churches
  • were not to raise their voices during prayer or readings or songs in churches anywhere near Muslims
  • were not to make their religion appealing, nor attempt to proselytize.
  • must adopt a humble demeanor, and yield their seats to Muslims

The Conditions of Omar largely fell into disuse in the last century, but as Islam scholar Raymond Ibrahim points out, they are being revived:

These debilitations and humiliations which were inflicted upon the Christians of the Islamic world in the past are at this moment being inflicted upon the Christians of the Islamic world in the present, as a natural consequence of Muslims returning to the authentic teaching of Islam. Those teachings … are fundamentally hostile to non-Muslims and their religious worship.

Indeed, it is now possible to speak of a genocide against Christians in the Middle East. Much of this is the work of ISIS and other terrorist groups, but these organizations are themselves a reflection of a widespread animosity toward Christians. According to Fr. Benedict Kiely, founder of Nasarean.org:

…this isn’t just ISIS … it’s Islamic fundamentalism—extremism—attacking Christians. They just don’t want Christians around even in relatively peaceful places like Dubai… They don’t really want Christians around.

This extremist attitude was building long before ISIS came into existence. And as a result, the Christian population of the Middle East has dropped precipitously since the mid-twentieth century. For example, in 1950 the Christian population of Palestine was 15 percent; today it is 1.3 percent. The population of Bethlehem in the 1950s was 86 percent Christian; today it is 12 percent.

European Christians and secularists who think that opening their borders to millions of sharia-shaped migrants is going to result in increased diversity ought to take a lesson from the experience of Christians in the Middle East. If Muslim colonization of the West follows suit, it’s not just Christmas songs and celebrations that will be endangered, but Christianity itself.

The multicultural vision of a harmonious melding of different cultures and traditions is based on the shallow assumption that underneath the “superficial” differences, all cultures subscribe to the same decent and humane values that are taken for granted in the West. It is increasingly apparent, however, that this is a dangerous assumption to make. Groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram consider sex slavery and beheadings to be legitimate expressions of their faith and culture. And many of the refugees pouring into Europe carry that mindset with them. As their number increases, we can expect an increase in attacks on infidels—more sexual assaults on unveiled women, more attacks on churches and synagogues, and more targeting of shoppers at malls and Christmas markets. The road to the multicultural promised land is already paved with many skulls.

The Italian schoolchildren who were not allowed to sing the lyrics of Silent Night were participants in a “Winter Recital.” Formerly it was called a “Christmas Concert.” All over the U.S. and Europe, similar name changes have been offered up to the god of multicultural diversity. For instance, in Belgian school calendars, Easter Vacation is now Spring Vacation, Christmas Vacation is Winter Vacation, Lenten Vacation is Rest and Relaxation Leave, and All Saints’ Day is now referred to as Autumn Leave.

Autumn Leave? How does the song go? Oh, yes—“The falling leaves drift by the window/The autumn leaves of red and gold.” The leaves of appeasement have been drifting by our window for some time now. The thing about autumn leaves, however, is that they turn rather quickly from red and gold to a uniform dull brown. The kind of concessions that the Belgian schools, along with the Italian schools, and the Swedish communities are making are not harbingers of a bright, multicolored future, but of a grey monochrome one.

Editor’s note: Pictured above is a scene from the day after a bombing during Mass at St. Mark’s Coptic Cathedral in Alexandria, Egypt on December 10, 2016. (Photo credit: CNS photo / Amr Abdallah Dalsh, Reuters)

William Kilpatrick

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William Kilpatrick taught for many years at Boston College. He is the author of several books about cultural and religious issues, including Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right From Wrong; and Christianity, Islam and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Jihad. His articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Catholic World Report, National Catholic Register, Aleteia, Saint Austin Review, Investor’s Business Daily, and First Things. His work is supported in part by the Shillman Foundation. For more on his work and writings, visit his website, turningpointproject.com

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