Written by Kathy Shaidle
A more mundane version of that scenario played itself out in real life this week, when three new stories appeared within 24 hours, all documenting a worldwide phenomenon that has come to be known as “sharia creep.”
In Australia, Muslim students (mostly Saudi citizens) asked Melbourne universities to adjust class times to fit in with their daily prayers. They also requested female-only recreational areas on campus.
One institution rejected their demands outright. "That would seriously inconvenience other people at the college and it is not institutionally viable," La Trobe University’s Martin Van Run told The Australian. "We are a secular institution ... and we need to have a structured timetable."
In a surprise reaction, the Saudi Government unveiled a plan to curb radicalization among its students in Australia by ensuring they make up only one percent of the student body at any given campus.
The idea is to prevent radical students from reaching critical mass, and thereby encouraging all Saudi-born students to mingle with non-Muslims.
“The move is a marked turnaround from past initiatives by the Saudi Government,” reported The Australian, “including allegedly bankrolling hard line Muslim clerics, such as Canberra-based Mohammed Swaiti who openly praised jihadists; and pumping an estimated $120 million into the local Islamic community since the 1970s to influence its ideological bent.”
Meanwhile, on February 26, local officials in Zwolle, Holland decided to lift a ban on Muslim women wearing so-called “burkinis” in public swimming pools. The garment, also known as a hijood, leaves only the wearer’s face, hands and feet exposed.
But the next day, a different municipality pledged to retain the burkini ban, because the garment doesn’t meet regulations and “might scare off” other swimmers. However, the same Hanzebad public pool has already offered female Muslim swimmers separate hours for several years.
The Dutch TV newsmagazine Netwerk sent a reporter wearing a burkini to various public pools. According to one report, “the fiercest reaction shown was by a Muslim man, who said the burkini was an example of oppression of women and tolerating it an example of the influence that orthodox Islam is gaining in the Netherlands.”
Closer to home, Harvard University announced new women-only access times at the student gym, to “accommodate religious customs that make it difficult for some students to work out in the presence of men.”
This decision came one month after men were banned from the athletic center during certain times, following successful petitions from the Harvard Islamic Society as well as the Women’s Center.
Harvard Islamic Society's Islamic Knowledge Committee officer Ola Aljawhary said she does not consider the women-only gym hours discriminatory against male students or a “case of minority rights trumping majority preference.”
"We live together in one community, it only makes sense for everyone to compromise slightly in order for everyone to live happily," she said.
As one blogger observed, “I also like how minorities have ‘rights’ while the majority has a ‘preference.’ And here I was thinking we all had exactly the same rights. How silly of me.”
News stories like these have multiplied exponentially during the past few years. Hardly a day goes by without similar reports, such as Muslim nurses in the UK refusing to roll up their sleeves to scrub up before surgery, claiming that sharia modesty rules trump concerns about contamination.
“It’s all part of the campaign of soft jihad,” wrote Roger Kimball, editor of The New Criterion. “Traditional jihad is waged with scimitars and their contemporary equivalents, e.g., stolen Boeing 767s, which make handy instruments of mass homicide. Soft jihad is a quieter affair: it uses and abuses the language and the principles of democratic liberalism not to secure the institutions and attitudes that make freedom possible but, on the contrary, to undermine that freedom and pave the way for self-righteous, theocratic intolerance.”
Western countries do not always go along with the plan, however. Witness the public outcry back in 2003, when some Muslims in the province of Ontario, Canada demanded they be allowed to set up sharia courts, ostensibly to arbitrate domestic disputes in the manner of pre-existing Catholic and Jewish tribunals.
Public protests in Canada, as well as abroad, led Premier Dalton McGuinty, who’d initially voiced tentative support for the new courts, to rule against the move. Unfortunately, that meant that those long established Catholic and Jewish tribunals throughout the province had to be shut down too, in the interest of “equality.”
Author and expert on radical Islam Robert Spencer has been sounding the alarm about “sharia creep” for years at his website DhimmiWatch. In an exclusive interview with FrontPageMag.com, Spencer reflected on whether or not his efforts to warn the public were paying off:
I think we may be getting through to a very small number of people, but Muslim Brotherhood front organizations in the U.S. are still making tremendous headway by portraying these Sharia-creep initiatives as simple matters of civil rights, and playing on fears among public officials, and the public at large, of being seen as racist and bigoted.
It is getting worse, because there is a concerted effort by the MSA's on various campuses and other groups to push Muslim accommodation issues aggressively, but this effort is relatively new. We didn't see it on this scale ten or even five years ago. I think it is a natural outgrowth of the post-9/11 anxiety on the part of government and media not to appear ‘Islamophobic.’ As long as that continues to be a matter for concern, there will be continued accommodation of Muslim practices and Islamic distinctiveness, which only aids and abets the Islamic supremacist agenda.
At the same time, Spencer sees “an increasingly discussion of the creeping Sharia/stealth jihad issue by an increasing number of writers.” Writers like Daniel Pipes and Diana West have devoted recent columns to the domestic front on the War on Terror. But despite the work they and others do, the “level of awareness right now is so abysmal,” continued Robert Spencer, “that I think the main thing people can do is try to call attention, via letters to the editor, contacts to their elected officials, the blogsophere, etc., to the explicit campaign being undertaken here. The idea would be to awaken as many people as possible to what is going on here -- who the groups are that are pursuing this agenda, and what the agenda really is, behind all the talk of ‘hate speech’ and accommodation of cultural practices in the name of multiculturalism and diversity.”
And that agenda seems to be everywhere – from the big issues right down to British fish and chips. When it was revealed in late February that a popular British snack food contained traces of alcohol, a Muslim Council of Britain spokesman declared, “Certainly we would find it very offensive to have eaten food with alcohol.”
In turn, Richard Kimball voiced “a modest proposal, which I offer to British Food and Beverage industry free and for nothing: start putting a bit of alcohol in everything edible or potable.”
“It’s only a start, Kimball continued, “but from a tiny acorn the mighty oak does grow.”
A blogger since 2000, Kathy Shaidle runs FiveFeetOfFury.com. Her new e-book Acoustic Ladyland has been called a "must read" by Mark Steyn.