The story of the week wasn't Gen. David Petraeus' testimony on Iraq, although it dominated the headlines. The story of the week wasn't the sixth return of Sept. 11 since the jihad atrocity of 2001, although it inspired many public statements and ceremonies. The week's biggest story garnered little press and few comments. But, in a significant way, this overlooked story — an outrageous display of police force in Brussels on Sept. 11, 2007 — symbolizes the missing link in our flawed comprehension of both Iraq and Sept. 11.
There, in the so-called capital of Europe, 200 people marked the day with a protest against the Islamization of Europe — a civilizational shift which, as Europe increasingly accommodates Shariah (Islamic law), is shockingly advanced. Indeed, Middle East expert Bernard Lewis has already predicted Europe will become Islamic by century's end. Absent a reversal of Islamization (which remains possible) I'm guessing sooner than that.
The assembly, sponsored by Stop the Islamization of Europe (SIOE), was wholly peaceful — at least until Belgian police showed up. With a chopper above, water cannon nearby, they didn't break heads, exactly — nothing so kind as that. In a photo that should be titled The New Face of Fascism (see it at www.brusselsjournal.com/node/2441), we see black-clad Belgian policemen brutalizing a man in a light-colored suit and tie. His hands are cuffed behind his back, his right elbow is clasped in what is known as an arm-bar hold, and he is also being subjected to a genital hold — a vicious grip that, a retired cop friend of mine tells me, would get any American policeman thrown off the force.
The man under arrest was Frank Vanhecke, president of the Flemish secessionist party Vlaams Belang and a member of European Parliament. Also arrested and beaten was Filip Dewinter, who, as the leading politician of Vlaams Belang, Belgium's largest opposition party, has personally garnered 25 percent of the electorate. (You can find a picture of Belgian police forcing Dewinter to the ground online at kleinverzet.blogspot.com.)
These men are invariably described as "far-right" politicians, as though "far-right"-ness alone (whatever that means when totalitarian police tactics are considered tolerant left) is rationale enough for harsh treatment. I've met both men and know them as free-market, small-government conservatives who deeply believe Western civilization is worth defending against the Islamization that occurs with the entrenchment of Shariah. Indeed, they are bravely trying to prevent Europe's Islamization, practically by themselves. I say "bravely" because in Europe these days, as we know from the Islam-motivated murders of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh, such beliefs can get you killed.
Maybe so, a reader might say. But what does protesting Shariah in Europe have to do with either American policy in Iraq or Sept. 11?
The answer is everything. What were the attacks of Sept. 11 all about? Al Qaeda's terrorist plot was designed not only to strike at the United States, but also to advance the cause of establishing an Islamic caliphate — a world government ruled according to Shariah, which, among other things, forbids criticism of Islam. Polls indicate that sizable numbers of Muslims (solid majorities in key countries), regardless of their opinion of Al Qaeda, share this same goal of a Shariat-based, Islamic caliphate. This is a highly significant overlap between the goals of Islamic terrorism and what we think of as mainstream Islam.
Meanwhile, though, in our childish, PC wisdom (accepted across the political spectrum), we have let Islam off the hook when it comes to terrorism, sticking to the story that our whole problem is with a Tiny Band of Extremists That Hijacked Islam, not the jihadist teachings of Islam itself. To make the story stick, we also seem to ignore the impetus behind Islamic terrorism — the imposition of Shariah, what with its ultimate institutional denigrations of non-Muslims and women, and its denial of freedom of conscience and expression.
This blinkered view of Islam explains how even in our commemorations of Sept. 11 we ignore the ongoing threat to liberty posed by the spread of Shariah across the West, which the SIOE was trying to protest. It even helps explain our confusion over Iraq, where, ignoring the formative influence of Shariah on the native culture, we are stumped by our failures to remake Iraq in our own Western image.
There is another consequence of our blindness: a terrible indifference to cultural allies in Europe who are fighting its Islamization — a cataclysm for the liberty-based West.
We ignore them at our peril.
Diana West is a columnist for The Washington Times. She is the author of "The Death of the Grown-up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization." She can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.