In country after European country, the post-modern charade of the bliss of multiculturalism -- the idea that all cultures are equal and can coexist peacefully side-by-side in any given country, and that Muslim immigrants should be allowed to keep their cultural traditions rather than integrate into wider European society -- is unravelling.
Consider just a few of the following Islam-related controversies that jolted Europe during March 2012, a month that not only exposed the deadly consequences of decades of politically correct multiculturalism, but also brought into stark relief the moral confusion that now reigns supreme among much of Europe's political class.
In France, a 23-year-old Islamic jihadist named Mohamed Merah confirmed the threat of homegrown Muslim terrorism. Merah, a French citizen of Algerian origin, killed three French paratroopers, three Jewish schoolchildren and a rabbi with close-range shots to the head. He filmed himself carrying out the attacks that began on March 11 to "verify" the deaths. Merah later died in a hail of gunfire on March 22 after a 32-hour standoff with police at his apartment in the southern French city of Toulouse.
In an extraordinary display of moral callousness, an indifferent Catherine Ashton, the European Union's 'Foreign Minister' and member of the British Labour Party, declared that "what happened in Toulouse," -- the deliberate murder of the Jewish children -- was morally equivalent to the accidental war deaths of Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip. Then, in a clumsy effort to blunt the outrage engendered by Ashton's spectacle, her spin doctors released a statement to "clarify" her remarks by amending the official transcript of her speech.
Ashton made her contentious comments at none other than a pro-Palestinian activists' conference in Brussels, the self-styled "Capital of Europe" and also the most Islamic city in Europe. She hosted the event, entitled "Palestine Refugees in the Changing Middle East," in an attempt to convince the world that the European Union is an "honest broker" in the Middle East. Not surprisingly, the Hamas terrorist group applauded Ashton, saying "she deserves thanks, appreciation, and support in the face of Zionist attempts to terrorize and pressure her."
Meanwhile, in Geneva, Switzerland, the United Nations Human Rights Council on March 19 extended an invitation to Hamas's very own Ismail al-Ashqar to speak to the 19th regular session of the body. The UN reluctantly rescinded al-Ashqar's invitation at the last minute on fears that his appearance might further undermine its own credibility.
True to form, the Human Rights Council considered five resolutions on Israel and the Palestinians, including four resolutions submitted by Palestine, even though no such state exists. One resolution called for the council to appoint an international fact-finding committee to investigate Israeli "settlements" on the West Bank and their impact on Palestinian life.
The measure was adopted by a vote of 36 in favor, 1 against and 10 abstentions. Voting in favor were: Austria, Belgium, Norway and Switzerland. Not surprisingly, no European country opposed the measure (the United States cast the only 'no' vote).
In Germany, Sigmar Gabriel, the head of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD) and a possible candidate for German chancellor, on March 14 described Israel as an "apartheid regime." Posting on his Facebook site, Gabriel wrote: "I was just in Hebron [under the Palestinian Authority's control, not Israel's, at the Palestinian Authority's request - the editors]. That is a lawless territory there for Palestinians. This is an apartheid regime, for which there is no justification."
Gabriel's remarks triggered a wave of criticism from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union Party (CDU), which issued a statement saying: "The fact that a German politician is using the term 'Apartheid' in connection with Israeli society is shameful. This is out of turn and reveals Mr. Gabriel's ignorance in foreign policy matters, especially when it comes to such complex issues such as the Middle East conflict."
Gabriel, a former environmental minister, was unrepentant. He later sought to meet with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, despite Germany's official policy not to recognize the terror group. Gabriel also said he welcomed the inclusion of Hamas as political partner in the Middle East.
In Sweden, Ilmar Reepalu, the leftwing mayor of Malmö, accused Jews in the country of teaming up with an anti-immigrant party to "spread hate" toward Muslims.
Reepalu, who has turned a blind eye to the growing problem of anti-Semitism in Malmö during the more than 15 years he has been mayor, believes that Jews are responsible for anti-Semitism because of their support for Israeli policies in the Middle East.
Muslims now comprise between 20% and 25% of Malmö's total population of around 300,000; much of the increase in anti-Jewish violence in recent years is being attributed to shiftless Muslim immigrant youth. In recent months, the only synagogue serving Malmö's 700-strong Jewish community has been the focus of repeated attacks. The synagogue, which has previously been set on fire and been the target of bomb threats, now has guards stationed around it, while the Jewish kindergarten can only be reached through reinforced steel security doors.
In January 2010, for example, Reepalu marked Holocaust Memorial Day by declaring that Zionism is racism. In an interview with the daily newspaper Skånska Dagbladet, he also said: "I would wish for the Jewish community to denounce Israeli violations against the civilian population in Gaza. Instead it decides to hold a [pro-Israeli] demonstration in the Grand Square [of Malmö], which could send the wrong signals."
Reepalu was referring to an incident in January 2009, during Israel's brief war in Gaza, when a small demonstration in favor of Israel was attacked by a screaming mob of Muslims and Swedish leftists, who threw bottles and firecrackers as the police looked on.
In July 2011, after a Hollywood film production company cancelled plans to shoot a movie in Skåne in southern Sweden due to concerns over anti-Semitism in Malmö, Reepalu cast his rage at the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center for advising Jews to avoid traveling to the region.
Reepalu, in an interview with the newspaper Sydsvenskan, said: "I have a feeling that the Simon Wiesenthal Center is not really looking for what is happening in Malmö but they want to hang the people who dare to criticize the state of Israel. Are they once again saying I should be silenced? I will never compromise my morals."
In a March 22 interview with the magazine NEO about the rise of anti-Semitism in Sweden, Reepalu said the Jewish community has been "infiltrated" by the conservative Sweden Democrats party to promote their mutual disdain for Muslims. Reepalu's comments triggered outrage but he is unlikely to give ground.
Jewish cemeteries in Sweden also have been desecrated; Jewish worshippers have been abused on their way home from prayer; and Jews have been taunted in the streets by masked men chanting phrases such as "Hitler, Hitler" and "Dirty Jew."
Some Jews in Sweden have stopped attending prayer services altogether out of fear for their safety and 15 Jewish families have left the city altogether because of harassment and threats.
In Britain, Baroness Cox, one of the most outspoken campaigners against the spread of Islamic Sharia law there, told a House of Lords symposium on March 19 that a growing number of British Muslims are shunning the official court system in favor of Sharia councils to settle legal disputes. She warned that if Sharia law is allowed to thrive, brutal punishments like stoning, whipping and amputations could become widespread in Britain.
Islamic jurisprudence is, in fact, spreading throughout Britain at an astonishing rate. At least 85 Islamic Sharia courts are now operating there, almost 20 times as many as previously believed.
A recent think tank study entitled "Sharia Law or One Law for All" found that scores of unofficial tribunals and councils regularly apply Islamic law to resolve domestic, marital and business disputes, many operating in mosques; and warns of a "creeping" acceptance of Sharia principles in British law.
In London, Ashton's Labour Party colleague Ken Livingstone, who is campaigning to become its next mayor, said he wants to turn the capital city into a "beacon" of Islam. According to a recent Ipsos MORI poll conducted for the BBC, Livingstone's main rival, the incumbent mayor Boris Johnson, holds a slight lead but is in a statistical dead heat. With an estimated one million Muslims living in London, Livingstone's appeal to Islam may, on May 3, propel him into the mayor's office.
Speaking to Muslim worshippers on March 16 at the North London Central Mosque, one of the most hardline anti-Western mosques in Europe, Livingstone pledged that if elected, he would "educate the mass of Londoners" about Islam.
Livingstone, a self-described socialist who previously served as the mayor of London from 2000 to 2008, declared: "I want to spend the next four years making sure that every non-Muslim in London knows and understands [Mohammed's] words and message. That will help to cement our city as a beacon that demonstrates the meaning of the words of the Prophet."
In the Netherlands, the Dutch public broadcaster VPRO has been offering its viewers a downloadable board game called "The Settlers of the West Bank" featuring Israeli "settlers" who use "Jewish stinginess," "Wailing Wall," and "Anne Frank" cards to "colonize" the West Bank. The aim of the game is to build as many "settlements" as possible on so-called Palestinian territory. VPRO, describing the game as "thought-provoking satire," reluctantly removed it from its website following accusations of anti-Semitism.
Frits Bolkestein, a veteran Dutch politician, said that Jews have no future in the Netherlands and he has recommended that they emigrate to Israel or the United States for their own safety. In an interview with the Dutch magazine Elsevier, Bolkestein said: "I see no future for recognizable Jews [those who wear skullcaps or sidecurls], in particular because of anti-Semitism, specifically in Dutch Moroccans, who continue to grow in number."
Dutch politician Geert Wilders was quick to refute Bolkestein by saying that "Jews should not emigrate, anti-Semitic Moroccans should." But the writing is on the wall; Europe's Islamic future has arrived.
Soeren Kern is Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.