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News Analysis

Multiculturalism: Europe Begins to Pay the Price

Thu, February 7, 2013

Abigail R. Esman

She’s so sorry, the woman from Morocco who now lives in the Netherlands.  She didn’t mean to beat her 16-year-old daughter Mirjam to death. She only wanted to teach her right from wrong.  The girl was too Western. She had a boyfriend. Worse, he wasn’t even Muslim.  It was her own fault, really.

It wasn’t, of course.  We know that.  But while Mirjam wasn’t to blame, neither, entirely, is her mother. Much of the responsibility for this horrific crime, which took place earlier this month, lies with the Dutch themselves- - and in larger terms, with all of Europe.

Because you have to ask yourself, first, what kind of woman beats her daughter so brutally, so severely, impervious to the child’s cries of pain, the spilling of her blood, the cracking of her bones, that the girl dies from the blows? 

And then you have to wonder: What society makes it possible for an immigrant mother to murder her child for assimilating into the culture she, the mother, brought her to be raised in? 

To answer this is to name the culprit exactly for what it is: Multiculturalism – that tenet that declares all cultures equally valid, and therefore encourages the co-mingling of even anti-Western societies, anti-democratic communities, with the democratic enlightenment culture of the West.  It is the principle that allows us to say “let them live by their own rules and values,” and then look shocked – shocked – when they do.

And it is how many Muslims are gradually changing Europe – for the worse.

For why did no one explain to this 42-year-old woman what is and is not acceptable behavior for a 16-year-old girl living in the West, and – more – what is and is not permitted of her parents?  This was not the first time Mirjam and her mother fought brutally over Mirjam’s “un-Islamic” ways.  Why did no one intervene long ago?

An equally gruesome case in the UK offers a hint.  A British judge recently offered sympathy and a suspended sentence to 18-year-old Adil Rashid, a Birmingham native who abused and possibly raped a 13-year-old girl he’d met on Facebook. (That they had sex is undisputed; what is not clear is whether the girl was or was not willing.)  “He didn’t know it was illegal,” explained the Nottingham Court judge, Michael Stokes, who replaced the standard seven-year prison sentence with a “two year probation supervision order” and nine weeks in youth custody, suspended for two years.

Ignoring, for the moment, the universal legal principle that ignorance of the law is no excuse, you have to ask yourself: He didn’t know? This 18-year-old, British-born young man did not know there was anything wrong with having sex with a 13-year-old girl?

Little information is available about the girl and her own willingness – or lack thereof – to have sex with Rashid – other than Rashid’s own claims that he’d succumbed to the girl’s seduction (despite having brought a condom with him to the hotel room where he’d arranged to meet her) But what is known about Rashid – and the basis for the judge’s pardon, as it were – is that he attends a local madrassa where, he said, he was taught that “women are no more worthy than a lollipop that has been dropped on the ground.”

Seriously. They teach this – assuming Rashid was telling the truth – in British Islamic schools, and the state either doesn’t know (why don’t they?) or doesn’t care.  Equally important is the message Stokes has sent to Rashid’s contemporaries: That, in his words, “comparing women to lollipops is a very curious way of teaching young men about sex.”

That’s it.  That’s all he could say about the matter: That it’s “curious.” If the British government has since intervened and ordered a review of the kind of education boys like Rashid are receiving at his school and similar ones throughout the UK, I haven’t heard about it.

The thing is, there are dozens more stories like this – from the mayor of Malmo, Sweden, who blamed the city’s Jews  for the rash of anti-Semitic violence that crescendoed into the firebombing of a Jewish center last fall to the recent determination by Germany’s intelligence agency, as reported by Soeren Kern, to monitor German Web sites with the possibility of prosecuting those who criticize Muslims in Europe for “fomenting hate.”

In Belgium, Muslim anti-Semitism has grown so vicious that Jews are leaving the country en masse, according to various reports since 2010, and Brussel’s oldest Jewish school is closing.  Little has been done by way of intervention – only a collective shrug and comments from (non-Muslim) Belgians online, who make useful remarks like “Bye.”  

[ad] And back in the Netherlands, a recent study showed that boys from Moroccan and Turkish families are more likely to think that girls who dress “immodestly” (whatever that means) are “asking for it” – and are themselves to blame for any sexual abuse they experience.

The good news is that, according to Dutch daily Trouw, that attitude dwindles with education, and schools with larger Muslim student populations in Amsterdam are working on exactly that.

Unfortunately for Mirjam, however, her mother missed that lesson; and in that fact lies another lesson all of Europe needs to learn – and soon.

Abigail R. Esman, an award-winning writer based in New York and the Netherlands, is the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West
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