Several days ago, in Arizona, a young woman named Noor Almaleki died in hospital from injuries sustained by a motor vehicle. She and and another woman had been hit and run over by 48 year old Faleh Hassan Almaleki - her father. The reason? By the man's own admission, it was a deliberate act: an 'honour killing' to expunge the 'shame' which Noor had brought on her father and family. What had Noor done to justify this execution? According to her father, she was becoming “too Westernized”.
Also several days ago was the fifth anniversary of the murder of Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh by a Muslim fanatic. His assassin, born in the Netherlands but of Muslim descent, shot and stabbed the film maker on an Amsterdam street because Van Gogh had apparently insulted Islam in his films.
What is the link between these two otherwise disparate events?
It is five letters long, starts with an "I", and ends with "Slam" - which must describe the thought's of Noor's father as he hit her with his car - "I slam my car into my daughter!".
Yesterday, the European Court of Islamic - sorry, Human - Rights (ECHR) ruled that crucifixes must be removed from Italian classrooms, after a parent complained that having these on display violated her child's right to freedom from religion. This has caused a wave of anger throughout Italy, a country profoundly linked with Catholicism, where the cross is just as much a cultural symbol as a religious icon.
Meanwhile, I await with interest what the ECHR has to say about Cambridge University's recent decision to allow female Muslim students to graudate in a burkha. To me it is one thing or another - either you can have religious or cultural symbols on display, or you cannot. If we end up having one rule for Muslims and another for non-Muslims, we might as well just adopt sharia law and be done with it.
What many of the liberal woolly headed brigade do not realise is that the majority of Muslim immigrants to the West, until the 1960s or so at any rate, were coming to escape the persecution and tyranny of their theocratic governments at home. They were, for the most part, moderates who sought the liberty and freedom of Western civilisation and democracy.
In recent decades, the loose immigration and asylum qualifications, along with 'family reunification' policies and 'fetching marriages' has led to an explosion of more hardline Islamists ending up in the West. Throughout Europe, the state has essentially paid these migrants to remain seperate - they have subsidised housing in 'estates', their own schools, their own mosques, and their own community centres, all paid for by European taxes. Many are also receiving state benefits; in Germany, for example, the number of foreign residents (primarily of Muslim origin but also from Eastern Europe) increased from 3 million in 1970 to 7.5 million in 2000, yet the number of foreign residents in work did not change over this period.
In 1950, the number of Muslims living in Europe was negligible. Today, it is somewhere between 15-17 million. By 2050, it is estimated, many European nations will have Muslim majorities - France is expected by some people to be in this position within the next decade! This change is exacerbated by several factors - the continuing tide of immigration, the high birth rates amongst the immigrant Muslim population, and the declining birthrate of the native population; already almost 25% of Europeans are over the age of 60, and this will continue to rise in years to come.
The problem is, of course, that the West, with its declining birth rates and aging population, needs immigration. To simply shut the gates and through non-nationals over the fence is short sighted and misguided. But, in Europe in particular, very little has been done to integrate immigrants into society. Mad mullahs and insane imams have been given carte blanche to peddle their litany of lies and hatred, and because various 'social-democratic' governments have bent over backwards to allow immigrants, especially those of an Islamic background, to keep to themselves, this outpouring of quasi-religious drivel has been lapped up by people with no access to any other perspective, and no education in the liberal-democratic values of our civilisation.
It may already be too late for Europe. I see a future of European "Christian" enclaves scattered throughout the continent, confined to the countryside, as Muslim majorities establish sharia law in the cities and then spread out into the rural localities. I see Beirut and Lebanon on a Continental scale, and the destruction of some of Europe's most historic sites for the simple reason that the radical theocratic leaders dominatiing Islamic society say that they are offensive to Allah.
Where is the moderate Muslim majority? Where are the ones who have successfully integrated, who have adapted, who have learned to fit their faith into the values of the society in which they now live? Sadly, they are silent. They, their parents or grandparents may have fled this madness, but it has followed them to their new homes.
We, those of us in transplanted Europe - in Canada, the USA, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, and New Zealand - must learn from the mistakes of our mother countries. We must impose strict conditions on immigration and assimilation. We must ensure that those people who come to our country accept, and live by, the ideals and values which we hold most sacred and important. After all, they have plenty of other places to go. Those who believe in liberal democracy have few havens left...