Feb 3, 2006
By Dr. Mohamed Elmasry
Two disturbing events, one in Israel and one in Canada, occurred in the first month of the seventh year of the twenty-first century. Both carry a frightening message: "it's all right to discriminate against Muslims."
The first event was a quotation in a Jerusalem Post article saying, "Islam could soon be the dominant force in Europe." It was attributed to an American professor who Herouxville has a population of 1,300 and is home to only one immigrant family; the rest of its citizens are white, French-speaking and Catholic.
If you read the declaration, which first attracted notice on the town's website, you can't help wondering, "are these people real?"
Included in the declaration are the following items: women should be able to show their faces in public (aside from costumes worn on Halloween); women should be permitted to drive cars and write cheques; and women should not be publicly beaten to death or burned alive.
As a rule, new immigrants to Canada do not go out of their way to settle in
small towns where unemployment is high and jobs prospects are low. So the likelihood that any immigrant would wish to live in Herouxville is almost zero.
Yet town councilor Andre Drouin defended the declaration, saying he has received some 2,000 e-mails of support -- 700 more than Herouxville's population! Good for Drouin -- as if racists needed the support of other racists.
"We have just published a small document saying who we are and what's our standard," Drouin told a Canadian TV reporter.
Now I doubt if any citizens of Herouxville actually read the xenophobic Jerusalem Post statements by Prof. Lewis. But the irony is that most of their ancestors -- including perhaps even Drouin's own -- probably suffered under British rule in early Canada just because they were French. Similarly, it would not be surprising that some of Prof. Lewis's Jewish ancestors also suffered in Europe, just because they were Jews.
Yet the Jerusalem Post cited Lewis as saying, "Europeans are losing their own loyalties and their own self-confidence. They have no respect for their own culture." Furthermore, he continued, Europeans have "surrendered" on every issue with regard to Islam, in a mood of "self-abasement," "political correctness" and "multi-culturalism." The Post identified Lewis as having been born "in London to middle-class Jewish parents but has long lived in the United States."
Back in Canada, Montréal radio commentator Stephane Gendron has also taken a hard line against religious groups, publicly criticizing acts like darkening windows at one of the city's gyms to satisfy neighboring Orthodox Jews; allowing Sikhs to carry ceremonial daggers; and providing Muslims with their own prayer rooms in schools and other institutions.
"We should have zero tolerance for that," said Gendron. "You're just a regular citizen. Religion at home is fine. Otherwise, it's too much."
Can you see the parallels between Herouxville councilor Drouin, radio personality Gendron, and Lewis?
But Lewis is not a Gendron or a Drouin. He is a high-profile senior academic with many books and research papers to his credit. Should he know better?
Lewis stopped short of listing exactly what Europe should do to control its Muslim populations. He warned instead that the Islamizing of Europe will be assisted by "immigration and democracy." Instead of fighting the threat, he complained, "Europeans [have] given up."
Lewis knows that Europe, with its steadily declining birth-rate, urgently needs immigrants and that there is no pool of cheap immigrant labour or qualified professionals left in the developing world -- except in Muslim countries.
And Lewis also knows damn well that democracy will allow Muslims to catch up with Jews in their level of political influence. This trend may well affect Europe’s blind support of Israel. It could even mean that Israel actually achieves peace with the long-oppressed Palestinians.
Thus Lewis is really telling Europeans:
1. If Muslim immigrants are necessary to your economic prosperity, let them in; but for your own good, don't give them citizenship or allow them to practice their democratic rights.
2. As for those European Muslims who already live among you, don't give them the vote; instead, gather them in protected areas (i.e. concentration camps); or, even better, follow the infamous historic blueprint of what the Nazis did to the Jews.
Perhaps Drouin, Gendron and Lewis are not that far apart after all. And that is both sad and frightening.
Dr. Mohamed Elmasry is national president of the Canadian Islamic Congress. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.