The Myth of the Muslim Tide
Doug Saunders (Knopf Canada 2012, hardcover) 199 pages, indexed $24.95 cover price
We should remember that a tide is something that sweeps away, but it is also something that arrives periodically, stirs up the currents and recedes, leaving a fresher version of the same landscape. -- Doug Saunders
Stealth jihadis use political, cultural, societal, religious, intellectual tools; violent jihadis use violence. But in fact they’re both engaged in jihad, and they’re both seeking to impose the same end state, which is to replace Western civilization with a radical imposition of Sharia.” -- former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich
By Hubert O’Hearn, Literary Editor THUNDER BAY (Herald de Paris) — We all have a certain image of ourselves and usually a complimentary one. Oh, we might be aware of our faults – without them whatever would we resolve each and every New Year’s? – yet in general we think we’re quite good at being us. As to myself, I like to think that I am a genial host, tolerant and indeed curious about opposing political views, and completely uninterested in any argument based on organized religion.
Well so much for all that. There is an elder woman of my acquaintance, university educated if you can believe it, who is no longer allowed into my home. As she is related to loved ones in my family, this makes for some awkward maneuverings during seasonal observances, but no matter. If there are two things a man should always have in his repertoire it is the ability to choose a good wine and a set of principles to stand by. With the wine, you can get help from a sommelier. With principles, you’re on your own pal.
So what line did this ignoramus go bouncing across? It is her firmly held belief that Muslim immigration to the West should be stopped at all costs because ‘they’ are hell-bent to destroy ‘our’ culture and impose an Islamic way of life on ‘us’.
I bit my tongue for quite a long while when faced with this rank bigotry. At first I would change the subject – as a Canadian, observations on the weather are always popular choices – or I would make a few historical observations. Observations such as it was the Sultan of Constantinople and that city’s caliphate who provided refuge to the Jews during the Inquisition; or that it was the Muslim Arabs who fought the Desert Campaign during World War One and were royally screwed afterwards by the Balfour Declaration; or that of the thousands of Sikhs who died across Asian and European battlefields during both World Wars. Yes well, came the reply, that was then, this is now and ‘they’ are evil. Ah. Allow me to show you the door, don’t let it hit you on your way out.
My only regret in all this is that Doug Saunders had not written this book two years’ earlier. I will be sending a copy of The Myth of the Muslim Tide to the lady in question as a Christmas present. I know; I’m naughty. Saunders knocks down all the arguments of an Islamic wave destroying the Western democratic paradise (cough) with the ease of Roger Federer smashing away badly aimed lobs.
Far be it from me to give away the contents of Saunders’ book, but a few statistical examples should whet the appetite. For instance, in this brilliantly detailed and statistically unarguable piece of journalism, Saunders notes that far from becoming an overwhelming immigrant force, Muslims will likely form less than 10% of the population in any of the Western European or North American nations by 2050. Furthermore, although birth rates are high upon arrival (one supposes that release from totalitarianism in Iraq, Libya or Iran leads to sexual release) by the time the second generation gets to adulthood, the rates drop close to the replenishment level of 2.1 per fertile female. Tide? Barely a wave.
Beyond that, Muslims are more likely to identify with their nation (Britain, France, Germany, etc.) as a first priority than their religion. And even should they be so addled – in my opinion of any organized religion – as to put church ahead of flag, what of it? Here’s another quote from The Myth of the Muslim Tide:
Their families segregated themselves from the native-born population, adhered to religious and cultural beliefs that were at odds with the dominant culture, kept customs and traditions that seemed centuries behind the times, and expanded their numbers at an astonishing rate. At that point they were using the neighborhood as a base to plot a wave of terrorist attacks that, by the end of the 1880s, had killed more people and caused more political alarm than the jihadist attacks began the twenty-first century would.
We’ll ignore the dangling participle. So who were these insidious bastards, bent on destruction 150 years ago? Grab the pitchforks! Heat the oil! Light the torches! Let’s get ‘em!
Um, he’s referring to Irish Catholics. Oh. You know, John F. Kennedy, William Butler Yeats, Flann O’Connor and other openly seditious types. Oops.
And this is at the nut of Saunders’ argument, for his book is much more than a statistical battery aimed at absurd opinions. There is the implied message of self-fulfilling prophecy. If one truly expects that the Muslim minority will become a nation-hating subsection of society, the surest way of that happening is to treat them as such, with fear and suspicion. Supposedly serious-minded men such as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum should feel utter shame at propagating fear and loathing at the expense of peace and acceptance. They should. They won’t. But you can.
Be seeing you.