Just back from a short holiday, I have just learned that Yale University Press has cancelled the scheduled publication in an academic work of 12 cartoons spoofing Mohammed that appeared in a Danish newspaper four years ago. Its decision, which also affects any future pictures of Mohammed, came after consultations with Muslim clerics, diplomats and counter-terrorism officials. (New Criterion editor Roger Kimball writes that it may also have been made out of fear of Saudi donors.) As you recall, after the initial appearance of the cartoons, which are available on the Internet, violent Muslim protests resulted in widespread riots and more than a hundred deaths.
The book, authored by Brandeis University professor and Danish native Jytte Klausen, originally was entitled The 12 Little Drawings that Shook the World: The Danish Cartoons and the Clash of Civilization. Yale University Press rejected the subtitle as being too sensational. Then it ruled that the book could not include the cartoons or even pictures of Mohammed, in deference to some Muslim clerics who rule against the practice.
That my alma mater`s gutless censoring of the book of Moslem cartoons reminds me of the recent book, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West, by Christopher Caldwell. Europe`s current Islamic immigration situation should certainly be a cautionary tale for the USA. As
European governments serially sought to propitiate the most radical Islamists by not allowing that religion to be spoofed, as are all others, in their mass media.
Now the infection has spread to America—and to my alma mater. One of Yale`s early grads was Nathan Hale, who as you recall, told his British captors in our Revolutionary War just before he was executed, "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country." Freedom is something Americans have fought and died for since our birth as a nation.
"Who were these rioters?" asks Mr. Caldwell. "Were they admirers of France`s majority culture, frustrated at not being able to join it on equal terms? Or did they simply aspire to burn to the ground a society they despised, whether for its exclusivity, its hypocrisy, or its weakness?"
Should other important media outlets buckle as Yale has done, the huge present number of legal and illegal Islamic immigrants here already might well be emboldened to take radical actions, keying off the European experience.
Noted American scholars such as the late Samuel Huntington of Harvard and Lawrence E. Harrison, the Director of the Cultural Change Institute at Fletcher School at Tufts University, have long warned us of the potentially dire cultural consequences of importing, without need or restrictions, radically alien immigrants into the US.
As Caldwell`s book explains, many of these Islamic aliens in Europe have shown no interest in the European way of life, culture, or history and in fact often come with dangerous animosities based on their extreme Islamic views.
Caldwell`s comparing Europe`s plight with the Cold War puts ice down my spine: "Imagine that the West, at the height of the Cold War, had received a mass inflow of immigrants from Communist countries who were ambivalent about which side they supported", he writes. "Something similar is taking place now."
There has been nothing, Mr. Caldwell suggests, quite like the recent influx of Muslims into Europe—he refers to it as "a rupture in its history".
"In the middle of the 20th century, there were virtually no Muslims in Western Europe", Mr. Caldwell writes. "At the turn of the 21st, there were between 15 and 17 million Muslims in Western Europe, including 5 million in France, 4 million in Germany, and 2 million in Britain."
These immigrants are further swamping Europe demographically, he adds, because of their high fertility rates. He points to small facts as well as large ones. In Brussels in 2006, the seven most common given boys` names "were Mohamed, Adam, Rayan, Ayoub, Mehdi, Amine, and Hamza."
One of my Pakistani friends advises me that numerous new born males in his country are named Osama!
The most chilling observation in Mr. Caldwell`s book may be that the debate over Muslim immigration in Europe is one that the continent can`t openly have, because anyone remotely critical of Islam is branded as Islamophobic. Europe`s citizens—as well as its leaders, its artists and, crucially, its satirists—are scared to speak because of a demonstrated willingness by Islam`s fanatics to commit violence against their perceived opponents. There exists, Mr. Caldwell writes, "a kind of `standing fatwa` against Islam`s critics."
In short, most of these European new arrivals are not assimilating, but rather dreaming of the world back home that never existed, enjoying the freedoms of the West while culturally reviling it.
Now, as our economy suffers the worst downturn in decades, we have reason to be even more careful of who comes here. If we fail to learn from the history now so clearly evolving in Europe we will have only ourselves to blame.
Maybe Yale`s glitch can serve as a wakeup call to all of us.
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.