Steven LaTulippe’s article today, “Let’s Sit Out World War IV,” has much to recommend it, and I doubt that anyone associated with Taki’s Top Drawer is likely to disagree with LaTulippe’s call for the United States to take advantage of the fact that we are “not forced by geography into a conflict with Dar-al Islam.” Yes, withdrawing from the Middle East is in the American interest, and so is sitting out most (though not all) of Islam’s civilizational wars.
Some of LaTulippe’s policy recommendations, however, are marred by faulty analysis, excessive optimism, and even a lack of charity toward our fellow Christians remaining in Europe—and toward those trapped in the darkness of Islam. Rather than write a single response that would rival his article for length, I will, over the next couple days, write a series of posts, each discussing a particular point where Mr. LaTulippe is (I believe) in error.
Let’s start with one of the most frequent mistakes made by those who haven’t really examined the status of Muslim populations in the United States:
”[America] has a statistically insignificant Muslim population that is better assimilated than that of any other Western nation.”
What, exactly, does this mean? By what yardstick are we measuring “assimilation”? Mr. LaTulippe gives us a clue a few paragraphs earlier:
“Europe permitted the mass immigration of impoverished Muslims during the decades after World War II. These immigrant populations, who probably can not be peacefully assimilated . . . “
Muslims in America are assimilated; Muslims in Europe “probably can not be,” because they are “impoverished.” In other words, Mr. LaTulippe, like so many others who wish to dismiss any potential problem with Muslim populations in the United States, subscribes to what I like to call the “Willie Nelson Theory of Assimilation”: “Let ‘em be doctors and lawyers and such.” In this naive accounting, any Muslim in a professional occupation, or even those who have simply reached middle-class status, has “assimilated.” The business of America is business, after all.
Yet the Willie Nelson Theory of Assimilation does not—cannot—explain the fact that, in the United States, where only two percent more of the Muslim population (compared to the non-Muslim population) is low income, native-born Muslims are (according to a recent Pew Research Center study) less likely than foreign-born Muslims to have an unfavorable view of Al Qaeda. Sixty percent of Muslims in America under the age of 30 think of themselves as Muslims first, rather than Americans; while 26 percent of those young Muslims believe that suicide bombing in defense of Islam is often or sometimes justified.
Only 40 percent of Muslims in America believe that September 11 was carried out by Arab Muslims. (The Pew Study did not go on to ask how many approved of the attacks.)
Nor does the Willie Nelson Theory of Assimilation explain such men as Dr. Khalid Siddiqui, the president of the mosque in Rockford, Illinois, and the chairman of the Islamic school here. When I interviewed Dr. Siddiqui in February 2002, he was the assistant director of neonatology at the largest hospital in Rockford. Yet he had no qualms about going on the record with his admiration for Osama bin Laden—five months after September 11. He explained that he had once been less fervent, until he had children. Then, he wanted them to grow up to be “better Muslims” than he and his wife had been. He saw no conflict whatsoever between his high income and his resurgent—and radical—Muslim faith.
The children at the school sang Muslim raps for me, glorifying jihad and declaring their desire to be mujahideen. The mosque, which is in the same building as the school, is the mosque that Derrick Shareef worshiped at. Shareef is the American-born convert to Islam who was plotting to wage “violent jihad” against Christmas shoppers at the largest mall in the Rockford area last December, when he was arrested by federal agents.
If this is assimilation, I shudder to think what might happen if Muslims were less well assimilated.
There’s a broader point as well. As I’ve discussed in a number of articles in Chronicles over the past ten years, except for very short periods of time during which mass immigration was greatly restricted, assimilation never really occurred in the United States—and we’re talking about European immigrants, who would have an easier time of assimilating than Arab Muslims. Chilton Williamson, Jr., has examined this phenomenon at greater length in his book The Immigration Mystique: America’s False Conscience, as have such diverse writers as John Lukacs, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Michael Novak (in his one good book, The Unmeltable Ethnics).
Along with the withdrawal from the Middle East that Mr. LaTulippe rightly recommends, we need to learn the lesson of Islamic immigration to Europe. Muslims in the United States are not assimilating; they will not assimilate; younger Muslims are more radical than their parents. We need to end Islamic immigration to the United States, or the civilizational struggle with Islam will eventually take place within our own borders.
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