CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

A review of While Europe Slept. By Bruce Bawer.

Mar 27, 2007

Doubleday, 2006.

It is no surprise that so many home burglaries take place at night. Because the home owners are asleep, the defence and protection of the home is nowhere near what it should be. Thus the image of a sleeping Europe is quite appropriate. Europe is being destroyed from within by radical Islam, and most Europeans don’t even know it is happening.

That is the thesis of this new book by an American journalist living in Europe. Of course his concerns are not unique. Many others have written about the steady collapse of Europe and the rise of Islamism. Recent books by Claire Berlinski, Mark Steyn, George Weigel, Oriana Fallaci, Melanie Phillips and Bat Ye’or have all made the case in similar fashion.

What may be distinctive about this treatment by Bawer is he is no religious right-winger. He is a secular homosexual, but shares with others a deep concern about how Europeans are sleeping through their own annihilation.

His time in Europe has helped him to gain some perspective on these issues. He has come to see how Europe’s inability to deal with the Islamist menace is threatening its very existence. And he has come to appreciate, by contrast, America’s many virtues.

A major cause of the problems in Europe stem from the fact that its growing Muslim populations have not integrated very well. Indeed, Muslims tend to remain isolated and aloof from their European hosts.

Image of While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within
While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within by Array Amazon logo

Because so many practice deliberate self-segregation, and live in isolated conclaves, integration just has not been happening. Instead, animosities and divisions increase, and the jihad mentality continues to gain strength. In Holland for example, many Muslim children attend private Islamic academies, where they are taught to hate Jews, Israel, America and the West.

While millions of Muslim parents in Europe have been able to provide prosperous and comfortable lives for their children, many of these children despise the West which has made such benefits possible. They tend to identify more with their ancestral homelands than with the countries they now reside in.

Coupled with this inability – or unwillingness – to fit in and accept European values is the demographic problem. While native Europeans are undergoing a population implosion, Muslim families are thriving. In France 12 per cent of the population is Muslim. In Switzerland it is 20 per cent.

In most of Western Europe around 18 per cent of children are Muslim, and that percentage is rising steadily. Within a few short generations many European countries will have a Muslim majority. The imams are certainly aware of this. A popular T-shirt worn by Muslim youth in Stockholm reads, “2030 – then we take over”.

And European bureaucracies are largely compounding the problems. They are so intent on promoting the politically correct line, and so fearful of being seen as Islamophobic, that they are caving in to most radical Muslim demands, while allowing European freedoms and values to be trampled on. Indeed, they are clamping down on freedom of speech instead of dealing with the real threat: radical Islam.

Much of the electorate may be tired of the Muslim incursion on their liberties, but these governing bureaucrats are holding tightly on to power, and are in effect conspiring to prevent freedom-minded movements from gaining power.

Just as there is a real lack of genuine political diversity in Europe, so too is the lack of journalistic diversity, notes Bawer. The mainstream press enjoys a monopoly status, and it runs with an editorial policy of appeasement to the Muslims. Indeed, much of the media is state-owned and operated. The wide range of political and media commentary in the US stands in marked contrast to its near absence in Europe.

While recent Muslim-based assassinations, riots and terrorist bombings have begun to arouse some Europeans out of their slumber, most seem to still be unaware of the threat in their midst. Bawer thus sees that what he formerly despised – the American religious right – is in fact a much cheerier alternative to what is found in Europe.

At least James Dobson and Jerry Falwell do not issue fatwas or counsel people to murder their daughters, says Bawer. “I was beginning to see that when Christian faith had departed, it had taken with it a sense of ultimate meaning and purpose – and left the Continent vulnerable to conquest by people with deeper faith and stronger convictions.”

While America has truly been a melting pot of cultures and ethnic mixes, Europe never has been. Immigrants to America quickly learn the host nation’s language and enter the workplace. Neither is happening in Europe, nor are such sensible steps being encouraged by the Establishment. Instead, says Bawer, “Immigrants in Europe are allowed to perpetuate even the most atrocious aspects of their cultures”. Female genital mutilation is one such practice, taking place in nearly every European country.

The consequences of this show up on many fronts. Consider crime for example. There are many areas in major European cities which are simply no-go zones. They have become hotspots of Islamic crime, and native Europeans dare not tread there, not even police or fire services.

European prison populations are overwhelmingly Muslim. In France the figure is 70 per cent. In Norway it was recently reported that 65 per cent of all rapes there were committed by “non-Western immigrant” – that is, Muslims. Some figures suggest that 90 per cent of Muslim wives are physically abused. Forced marriages, honour killings, and related issues are also huge problems. As a result, there are women’s refuges all across the Continent.

Thus this book is really about two things: the inability of Europe to deal with the most serious threat to its existence since the Second World War, and the fundamental differences between the US and Europe. Yes America has a host of faults. But it also has a host of virtues, virtues which are either ignored, played down or criticised by the European elite.

European anti-Americanism is largely irrational and misplaced, argues Bawer. America simply looks at itself and the world much differently than Europe does. Americans thrive on self-reliance, hard work and independence. They value freedom, democracy and genuine political diversity. Much of this is simply absent in Europe.

Indeed, many Europeans are “genuinely unable to comprehend a land whose people take liberty seriously enough to die for it.” Thus Americans will act to protect liberty and to withstand tyrants. “In America, we feel obliged to do something about the Milosevics of the world,” says Bawer. But Europeans are different. For them, the Milosevics of the world, “however monstrous, are also, quite simply, a fact of life. Nothing will ever end that.”

Getting rid of one tyrant just means that another one will soon come along to take his place. That has been the history of Europe. Therefore Europeans tend to be fatalistic. They tend to dislike war more than they do tyranny. America by contrast hates tyranny, and has been willing to advance freedom through armed conflict if necessary. And it of course helped to bail out Europe at great cost during WW II.

Anti-Semitism is another crucial difference between the two. Anti-Semitism is simply not a big problem in the US, but it is a large and growing problem in Europe. Bawer documents the huge increase in anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic crime in Europe. And of course much of this is carried out by Muslims residing there.

These differences explain why Europe may one day become a continent with a majority of Muslims, ruled by sharia law, while America may not. Europeans may find themselves living in a permanent state of dhimmitude, and they will have only themselves to blame.

Enough people have been sounding a warning, such as Bawer. The question is, will Europeans shake off their lethargy and indifference, and rise to meet the challenge that threatens to engulf them?

[1301 words]

3 Responses to A review of While Europe Slept. By Bruce Bawer.

  • Islam is one side of the equation; the other is the final eruption of an amalgam of Evolutionary Humanism, Secularism, Marxism etc. in Europe. This, like a cancer, is rapidly stripping out the moral fibre and conscience of Europe. Caring only about one thing – that is their standard of living – and vainly mistaking techonological advance for a more civilised society, people have lost the moral courage to fight for something greater than their own comfort. I have a suspicion that this is why Muslims, normally associated with brutality towards homosexuals, have been quiet about the Sexual Orientation Regulations. They know that these regulations, which will homosexualise society, will hasten our collapse. They only have to wait and watch.
    David Skinner

  • Switzerland is not 20% Muslim. It is more like 4.5%. Bawer was looking at the percentage of foreign born people in Switzerland, which has always been relatively high compared to other countries. Most Muslims there come from the Balkans. This is a serious numerical error which he must correct if he has not already. If he wants to make an accurate case, he must provide accurate numbers. Until he corrects his numbers, this site must take responsibility and put a footnote next to his statistics that provide the accurate numbers.

    If you do not point out the innacuracies in his statistics, then you are participating in the perpetuation of false information.

    Jim Noonan

  • Thanks Jim

    Hopefully Bruce will stand corrected on this one. But despite this lapse, the overall thrust of his book still needs to be grappled with.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

Leave a Reply