Sunday, November 26, 2006

More Islamophobia from Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn's column today is about Muslims, who, Steyn says, are outbreeding Christians and other white European-American Westerners (all the same thing, to Steyn) so fast that soon, he fears, the Muslims will have control of the entire world. Steyn bases his entire argument on a contrast he creates between Fatma an-Najar, a 64-year-old Muslim woman who has 41 grandchildren; and Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Bishop of the Episcopal church in the United States:

An-Najar gave birth to her first child at the age of 12. She had eight others. She had 41 grandchildren. Keep that family tree in mind. By contrast, in Spain, a 64-year old woman will have maybe one grandchild. That's four grandparents, one grandchild: a family tree with no branches.

Which brings me to our second Jill: the new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman to run a national division of the Anglican Communion. Bishop Kate gave an interview to the New York Times revealing what passes for orthodoxy in this most flexible of faiths. She was asked a simple enough question: "How many members of the Episcopal Church are there?"

"About 2.2 million," replied the presiding bishop. "It used to be larger percentage-wise, but Episcopalians tend to be better educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than other denominations."

This was a bit of a jaw-dropper even for a New York Times hackette, so, with vague memories of God saying something about going forth and multiplying floating around the back of her head, a bewildered Deborah Solomon said: "Episcopalians aren't interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?"

"No," agreed Bishop Kate. "It's probably the opposite. We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion."

Steyn has a bone to pick with Condoleezza Rice as well:

"The great majority of Palestinian people," said the secretary of state to Cal Thomas the other day, "they just want a better life. This is an educated population. I mean, they have a kind of culture of education and a culture of civil society. I just don't believe mothers want their children to grow up to be suicide bombers. I think the mothers want their children to grow up to go to university. And if you can create the right conditions, that's what people are going to do."

Cal Thomas asked a sharp follow-up: "Do you think this or do you know this?"

"Well, I think I know it," said Dr. Rice.

"You think you know it?"

"I think I know it."

So many of our present woes are due to thinking we know things. To our four Jills in the jeep, let's add one Jim, apparently back at the steering wheel in the current war: James Baker, renowned foreign policy "realist" and the man Beltway wags are currently referring to as "the acting secretary of state." The "realists" think that "containment" and "stability" are wise strategies. In fact, they're the absence of strategy. The fertility rate in the Gaza Strip is one of the highest on earth. If you measure the births of the Muslim world against the dearth of Bishop Kate's Episcopalians, you have the perfect snapshot of why there is no "stability": With every passing month, there are more Muslims and fewer Episcopalians, and the Muslims export their manpower to Europe and other depopulating outposts of the West. It's the intersection of demography and Islamism that makes time a luxury we can't afford.

Let's call this what it is: unvarnished racism. Muslims are not a different species. Muslims are human beings. And Islam is a religion that can be twisted to evil purposes no more and no less than Christianity or Judaism or any other religion. Condoleezza Rice is 100 percent correct when she says Palestinians are not inherently violent and want the same things for their families as anyone else on earth does (although the policies she has supported in the Middle East certainly don't reflect that idea). In fact, just to say that Palestinians are not inherently violent is insulting. One might just as accurately say that Israelis are not inherently violent; or that Americans are not inherently violent. Bombs that come out of the bellies of airplanes are just as deadly as explosives that are strapped around the waists of suicide bombers.

One thing that Steyn wrote bears repeating, however: "So many of our present woes are due to thinking we know things."

I couldn't agree more.

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