When controversies surrounding Islam emerge, whether it's terrorism or cultural/religious friction, we're often told that we must not blame Islam as such but only individuals who supposedly misinterpret or misuse it for their own selfish needs. I think this is a totally erroneous view and I want to relate my personal experience with this religion to show why I believe so.
I'm a student at one of the largest European universities with a significant Muslim student body. This university of course is a very liberal institution which stresses inclusion and tolerance for all minorities and religions. Muslims here have numerous organizations and clubs; they have their own prayer rooms and they are even allowed to construct a large replica of Kaaba (the cube-like structure containing the Black Stone) on Ramadan, right in the centre of the campus. One would think that Muslims would be satisfied with these numerous accommodations and that we would all coexist in harmony. However, that proved to be insufficient and recently they asked the university to provide them with halal food. The administration of course has acquiesced and the university's biggest restaurant has added halal products to its menu. But that was not enough. You see the restaurant, catering to all the students of course, sells alcoholic drinks. What's more, it has a dance floor where people, well, dance… when they feel like it. Apparently though Allah forbids alcohol and dancing so the Muslim students' union has asked the university to ban dancing and the sale of alcohol at the said restaurant in the name of tolerance and respect.
It's unclear how all this will play out, since these brazen demands have created a backlash among even the most liberal of students. But the moral of the story is clear. We're not dealing with extremists here. I'm sure that most of the Muslim students would condemn terrorism and that none of them would want to harm innocent people. They will graduate and find jobs. And yet they refuse to integrate culturally into the mainstream society. Why would that be? Islam is a community and a way of life; its members share common values, assumptions and moreover they are convinced that Islam is the only way since it is the God's way. Being a cohesive group, Muslims promote their interests at the expense of the rest and their efforts will only intensify as their numbers and influence grow in our society. That's why it's misleading to attempt to draw a line between the extremists and non-extremists. Their means are different, but the end result – spread of Islam – is the same even if most Muslims do not ask themselves on a daily basis what they can do to advance their cause and would not want anything to do with terrorism. What's happening at my university is a microcosm of what is taking place in Europe at large.
This brings me to another important point. Geert Wilders has done us a great service with his movie. The Muslims will likely violently overreact again like they did in the past, betraying their deep-seated insecurity, and more Europeans will start asking themselves whether they want their countries to continue mass immigration policies. This, however, is not enough. It's not enough to expose Islam; it is essential to ask why Europe is falling pray to this alien religion. The reason is that Europeans have become a hollow, hedonistic and deracinated lot, with nothing with which to oppose Islam. Wilders urges Europeans to defend their freedom. Freedom is a great value, but without positive cultural imperatives, whether religious or national, it becomes a void which is now being filled by Islam. That's why I doubt that many Europeans will rush to the ramparts to defend their freedom with which most of them do not know what do with anyways. In the final analysis then, if Europe does become Islamized we will only have ourselves to blame. European culture is the problem, not Islam. Islam is just a consequent.
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