At the beginning of the film In Bruges, a gangster speaks with his tongue slightly in cheek: “What have the Belgians ever given us? Nothing but child abuse and chocolates. And they only use the chocolates to get at the kids.”
This wasn’t supposed to be serious analysis, yet the analytical methodology behind it can boast divine endorsement: “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”
Applying this proven way of thought to Belgium, one has to admit that she isn’t among the most accomplished of European nations. Still, from van Eyck, Memling and Rubens to Franck, Magritte and Maeterlinck, Belgium has more to offer than just chocolates and their possible illicit uses.
Flemish urban architecture doesn’t have much to apologise for either, with Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp generally believed to be among Europe’s most beautiful cities.
Admittedly Brussels is justly believed to be among Europe’s ugliest cities, but that makes it an ideal capital of the European Union. I mean, would you rather have Paris or Rome befouled by thousands of denationalised bureaucrats on fat expense accounts?
All in all, Belgium wouldn’t be my first choice of a place to live, but then it wouldn’t be the last one either. Not with so many Muslim countries around.
Applying the same methodology to assessing Islamic civilisation, one has to acknowledge that the fruits it has borne have mostly been either poisonous or nonexistent.
In its earlier days of violent expansion, some scholars bearing quills travelled the world in the wake of riders brandishing swords. Just as the riders bridged Asia and Europe with their conquests, so did the scholars act as conduits of knowledge flowing back and forth.
Thus the Arabs brought to Europe algebra and Aristotle, the former from India the latter from Greece. But, unlike the Indians and the Greeks, they made few indigenous contributions to the world.
These days the Muslims criticise the West for its decadence, and much of their criticism is justified. What isn’t justified is their right to offer such criticism.
One should suggest they use the critical methodology that came from the same source as the analytical methodology I mentioned earlier: “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
Much is being made these days of the violent advances made by Muslim fanatics in the Middle East, along with the seemingly peaceful demographic advances made by so-called moderate Muslims in Europe.
The target of these two prongs is clearly and with laudable honesty enunciated by Muslim leaders: the creation of an Islamic caliphate destined to rule or at least to dominate the whole world.
My imagination isn’t vivid enough to see the resulting world order in my mind’s eye. But, judging by the Muslims’ record in the countries they already possess, this prospect isn’t much to look forward to with eager anticipation.
The world’s scientists number only one per cent of Muslims in their ranks, with Israel alone having more scientists than all Islamic countries combined.
This is hardly surprising for Arab countries’ collective investment in scientific research is but one-seventh of the world’s average.
Only 300 foreign books are translated in Arab lands every year – one fifth of the number translated in Greece.
Twenty per cent of the world’s population live in Muslim countries, yet their combined GDP is smaller than that of France, although this may change if François Hollande sticks around for a while.
Add to this the rich contribution that Muslims make to Europe’s crime rate, and one would think our governments would do all they can to limit, or better still reverse, the spread of Islamism.
One would hope they’d see the existential menace provided by the implantation of an alien and historically hostile civilisation into an admittedly decadent but still residually western Europe.
Such hopes would be forlorn. Waving the false flag of liberalism in the air, while keeping the dagger of destruction for political gain up their sleeves, European governments seem to be competing with one another as to which one can cede the most ground to Islam the fastest.
As is increasingly becoming the norm, governments and societies no longer see eye to eye on most issues, and this one especially.
People care less and less about which party is going to be in office after the next election – witness the growing apathy of the electorate across Europe and the unprecedented uncertainty of outcome in most precincts.
But they care more and more about their national identity, which they increasingly see as under threat from alien implants. In response European governments, emphatically including ours, foster the tyrannical spread of liberal cant increasingly backed up by the force of the law.
When people express even the mildest of resentments against their own countries being yanked out from underneath their feet, they are declared to be neolithic racists and troglodyte xenophobes. When their resentment goes one notch above mildest, they are routinely charged with ‘hate crimes’.
This newfangled legal category may include not only physical attacks on Muslims but even some publicly expressed dismay over, say, the number of mosques in Britain having grown from 60 to 1,600 in the last 50 years.
European governments and people are clearly at cross-purposes, and so far the governments have had the upper hand. Yet there are indications that this situation is being reversed.
Even our sham democracies can’t afford to ignore the swell of public opinion for ever, and the opinion is indeed swelling. It’s slowly becoming possible to voice a concern about uncontrolled immigration in general and Muslim immigration in particular without being equated to Hitler.
But slowly is the operative word, while the burgeoning of Islam in Europe is anything but slow. Feeling impotent to do anything about it by appealing to their representatives, people are beginning to act in the only way still open to them: taking to the streets.
If in the past such actions were the preserve of various extremist groups, today’s political mainstream is beginning to swing that way too.
Witness the tens of thousands who took part in yesterday’s protests against the creeping Islamisation of Germany. Most of the participants in the rallies indeed came from rather radical groups, but only because the action had been poorly organised.
A poll conducted by Germany’s impeccably liberal Stern magazine shows that one in eight Germans would join an anti-Islam march if it were organised close to home. How long before one in eight becomes one in three?
The British tend to trail behind the continentals in the ardour of political activism. But this side of The Guardian pages and HMG press releases, one hardly hears anything other than anger about the continuing Islamisation of our country.
The people of Europe clearly don’t want their countries to become branches of an Islamic caliphate, and they are prepared to confront their governments over this issue.
I can’t say I blame them. Who’d want to live in an Islamic or even quasi-Islamic country? To paraphrase W.C. Fields, all in all I’d rather be in Belgium.