Nice review of Bruce Bawer's new book....
His new book, Surrender, is out later this month, and I urge everybody to buy a copy....
A couple of years ago Bawer published a book on a related topic, "While Europe Slept," a warning about the increasing Islamization of Europe (Bawer, a U.S. native, lives in Oslo, Norway). That book was roundly (though wrongly) vilified as being racist, and likely because of that perception the National Book Critics Circle denied it an award.
It will be interesting to see whether "Surrender" cops any awards because the alarm it sounds is, if anything, even louder. Its basic argument is that a life-and-death struggle is taking place between Western freedom, particularly freedom of speech and of religion, and the non-negotiable, totalitarian demands of Islam and sharia law - and the West is losing.
Bawer couches and documents his hundreds of examples and assertions with scrupulous care but makes no bones about his stand: "There is no such thing as a moderate or liberal Islam." There are millions of good-hearted, peaceful Muslims around the world, but their moderation, he says, is a measure of their individual character, not of the influence of any branch of Islam.
He points out that Islam divides the world into two parts: one governed by sharia, the Dar al-Islam, or House of Submission, and the Dar al-Harb, or House of War, called "war" because it, too, is destined to be governed by sharia, even if it takes violence - jihad, holy war - to bring it about.
Questions abound: Why do the media (and others) not jump all over vile, hate-filled pronouncements by imams and mullahs the way they do controversial, though far less outrageous, comments by Christian leaders such as James Dobson and Pat Robertson? Why, in short, is "Muslim extremism ... someone else's fault"?
As to hypocrisies: In the United States, a Koran flushed down the toilet is pursued as a hate crime, while a crucifix placed in urine is hailed as a work of art. In Norway, Muslim women can be kept as virtual prisoners in their homes, but a Norwegian attempting to draw attention to the condition risks being prosecuted.
"To put it briefly and nakedly," Bawer concludes, "the West is on the road to sharia." If Bawer is right and we are, then it is a road paved with wrong-headed good intentions.