The New York Times pish-tushes European fears

On its face, it looks like an article in the New York Times that points out something we have figured out already; namely, that the Europeans have been nursing a viper to their bosom:

Europe appears to be crossing an invisible line regarding its Muslim minorities: more people in the political mainstream are arguing that Islam cannot be reconciled with European values.

“You saw what happened with the pope,” said Patrick Gonman, 43, the owner of Raga, a funky wine bar in downtown Antwerp, 25 miles from here. “He said Islam is an aggressive religion. And the next day they kill a nun somewhere and make his point.

“Rationality is gone.”

Mr. Gonman is hardly an extremist. In fact, he organized a protest last week in which 20 bars and restaurants closed on the night when a far-right party with an anti-Muslim message held a rally nearby.

His worry is shared by centrists across Europe angry at terror attacks in the name of religion on a continent that has largely abandoned it, and disturbed that any criticism of Islam or Muslim immigration provokes threats of violence.

For years those who raised their voices were mostly on the far right. Now those normally seen as moderates — ordinary people as well as politicians — are asking whether once unquestioned values of tolerance and multiculturalism should have limits.

This is the New York Times, though, and we’re quickly made to understand that this is all a tempest in a teapot, and that the Muslims are the real victims here.  Thus, after an ever so brief summary of the more recent European episodes in which Muslims have gone non-violently berserk when two pesky Dhimmis (the Pope and Jack Straw, etc.) dared to express opinions that touched upon matters Muslim, the article makes sure we understand the real extremism, which is all anti-Muslim in tone:

The line between open criticism of another group or religion and bigotry can be a thin one, and many Muslims worry that it is being crossed more and more.

Whatever the motivations, “the reality is that views on both sides are becoming more extreme,” said Imam Wahid Pedersen, a prominent Dane who is a convert to Islam. “It has become politically correct to attack Islam, and this is making it hard for moderates on both sides to remain reasonable.” Mr. Pedersen fears that onetime moderates are baiting Muslims, the very people they say should integrate into Europe.

The worries about extremism are real. The Belgian far-right party, Vlaams Belang, took 20.5 percent of the vote in city elections last Sunday, five percentage points higher than in 2000. In Antwerp, its base, though, its performance improved barely, suggesting to some experts that its power might be peaking.

In Austria this month, right-wing parties also polled well, on a campaign promise that had rarely been made openly: that Austria should start to deport its immigrants. Vlaams Belang, too, has suggested “repatriation” for immigrants who do not made greater efforts to integrate.

The idea is unthinkable to mainstream leaders, but many Muslims still fear that the day — or at least a debate on the topic — may be a terror attack away.

“I think the time will come,” said Amir Shafe, 34, a Pakistani who earns a good living selling clothes at a market in Antwerp. He deplores terrorism and said he himself did not sense hostility in Belgium. But he said, “We are now thinking of going back to our country, before that time comes.”

The article explains that this wacky European behavior goes back to those damn Crusades 800 years ago.  Apparently, Europeans have a long memory and, while they’ve forgotten the lessons of World War II, they still remain true to their distant Crusader roots!  Funnily enough, the article is silent on the subject of the more recent Jihadist bombings and beheadings around the world, perhaps because it isn’t those nasty Crusader descendants lighting the fuse or swinging the axe.  It’s so much easier to explain geopolitics if you look to 800 year old Christian based causes, than to today’s news about Islamic threats and terrorism.

You can read the whole article here, but prepared to be unimpressed by this pathetic exercise in apologetics.