Can it happen here?
In an earlier post, I directed your attention to the incredibly disturbing footage of Pakistani village authorities brutally whipping a teenage girl before a throng of men, because she violated Sharia norms by being seen in public with her father in law. The footage is disturbing on many levels, not the least of which is the fact that the whole spectacle has a pornographic smell to it, one that makes clear how much of Sharia law is driven by Muslims’ deep fear of female sexuality — but that’s a rumination for another day.
What I want to talk about is whether this could ever happen here. Certainly Muslims want it to happen here. Their oft stated goal is a Sharia-compliant world, with every nation having as its one and only law Sharia law. Given this goal, and given the Islamists’ willingness to steal planes and acquire bombs and lust after anthrax, it’s more than just a hypothetical possibility.
But I don’t think we need to worry right now about Sharia appearing in the West courtesy of a mushroom shaped cloud or virulent bacteria. The more immediate concern is the fact that, through political correctness, the Western world is already reading itself to deal with creeping sharia law.
Leading the way, as always, is England, which is allowing sharia courts, even though there is every indication that this will trap Muslim women in a British sharia hell; routinely banning pigs from public discourse (Oh Piglet, Piglet, wherefore art though Piglet?); slavishly redesigning innocuous packaging to avoid ruffling Muslim sensibilities (ice cream, anybody?); protecting men from being charged with dangerous traffic violations so they can speed from one wife to another; etc. The list is endless.
In America, we periodically hear stories about accommodations for Muslims who don’t want to drive people carrying alcohol (as if it could leap out of the bottle spontaneously and attack the driver); about Muslims refusing to share public university prayer spaces; about Muslims demanding special foot baths at public universities (and weren’t those high tech “required” foot baths a popular item in the vast Saudi Arabian desert in the 7th Century); or about Muslim women insisting that their driver’s license show nothing more than their eyes, rather than conceding that, if they want to practice the extreme Islamic tradition of a hijab, maybe driving is not an option.
On the whole, we in America are a solicitous people and, with our pluralist religious history, we’re willing to make reasonable accommodations. Generally, we like it that people are able to live religious lives — as long as they don’t impinge on our own lives. What’s different about the Muslim demands is the impingement that goes with them — you may not drive in our publicly licensed taxis unless you change your behavior; you may not worship in this public space unless you worship our way; you must abandon the commonly accepted public safety feature of a photo ID card so our women can be anonymous; and so on and so forth.
Each of these Islamic incursions on the public space has resulted in a hoo-ha (otherwise we wouldn’t know about them), and most, when they become known, have been reversed. The fact remains, however, that there cumulative effect from these sharia attacks on our culture that is akin to water dripping on rock. One drop has no effect. Two drops, no effect. A thousand drops, no effect. But you get enough drops and the shape of the rock — in this case, the shape of the American body social and politic — begins to change and to conform to the water’s ceaseless demands.
I have an Irish friend who firmly believes that America’s deep rooted sense of liberty cannot be so easily drip-dropped away, whether the drops fall from the Sharia cadre or from the statists in the Obama administration. He believes that a deep, long-lived history focused on individualism and independence will rebel. I wonder.
I’d like to think that, if I were that teenage girl about to get flogged, I’d fight and fight and fight. I’d be hurt anyway, but at least I wouldn’t just yield to barbarity. But even if I fought, even if I waved the flag of independence, and humanism, and freedom, would it matter if everyone stood around me and stared, as those men in the crowd watching the beating stand and stare. I’d be willing to bet that, in that crowd, many were true believers, and many were men whose stomachs churned at the horror, but who said nothing, because they were trained to accept. Whatever their reason, they stood and they stared.
In this regard, it’s worth noting that, when Hitler came to power in 1933, he did so with just barely more than 50% of the popular vote. There was never a time when the majority of Germans were members of the Nazi party. For most Germans, right through the end of the War, their crime wasn’t active complicity with Nazi atrocities, it was passive complicity. From a mixture of fear and brain washing, they just went along.
As I said, my Irish friend thinks Americans won’t just go along. But when I look at what passes for education in our public schools, I’m very worried that we’re raising a generation that will be so compliant and so lacking in a non-relativistic sense of right and wrong that, first, they’ll allow creeping sharia to become dominant sharia (so un-PC to object) and, second, once it’s dominant they, through a mixture of fear and braining washing, will just go along. And they too will stand their silently and watch when one of their school mates is flogged bloody or hanged or decapitated for having violated sharia norms.
The 2010 election matters. It matters not just because I don’t like Obama’s economic and social policies. It also matters because it is the last election in which Americans will have a chance to renew their sense of individualism and liberalism. You see, while Obama thinks he’s paving the way for a wonderful socialist state, I think he’s unwittingly grooming the population to be the passive recipients of law laid down by true believers who make Obama and his progressives look like impotent little children.
UPDATE: I was spurred to write the above post because of the video I watched showing the girl getting beaten. Turns out, though, that creeping sharia is on other people’s minds — not how we might respond to the more extreme demands, but how we are responding to the “reasonable” demands.
Cross posted at Bookworm Room