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Mark Steyn

Steyn on the World

The Incoming Roar

Last week was a fairly typical one in 21st century headlines:

~On Monday, 14 victims were killed in an Islamic terrorist attack on the St Petersburg Metro;

~On Friday, four victims were killed in an Islamic terrorist attack by a homicidal truck driver on Queen Street in Stockholm;

~On Palm Sunday, at least 45 victims were killed in an Islamic terrorist attack on two Coptic churches in Egypt.

In other news, the United States bombed Syria after a chemical-weapons attack, and UK, Canadian and other newspapers reported on the treatment a Berlin schoolboy received after revealing to his Muslim classmates that he's Jewish. Meanwhile, Giulio Meotti wrote for the Gatestone Institute on the closure of 500 churches in London, and the opening of 423 mosques.

The US bombing raid got the most headlines - because, after eight years of Obama, it was unusual. It's also the simplest, cleanest act: Identify a military target and fire missiles at it. What do you do about the others? In column inches (or whatever unit of measure now applies), the attention they commanded followed the cynical formula of old-time editors: One dead American equals ten dead Europeans equals one hundred dead Russians equals one thousand dead Africans.

And so it proved. Nevertheless, the Palm Sunday bombings were the most significant event of the week. They demonstrate that hardcore Islam is serious about expunging the remnants of Christianity from the region in which it was born. This is not a small thing.

It was a clever attack. The first suicide bomber hit St George's Church in Tanta. The second struck northwest, at St Mark's Cathedral in Alexandria, seat of the Coptic papacy. Pope Tawadros II had just left the cathedral after hearing about the Tanta attack. Nevertheless, ISIS and its affiliates came within minutes of killing the Coptic patriarch - at worship on Palm Sunday.

As I said, not a small thing. But it doesn't seem to make a lot of news. Other Christian leaders, friom Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury on down, seem to have more to say about potential, hypothetical upticks in "Islamophobia" than about the sustained attempt to eradicate the oldest adherents of their own faith. Western politicians don't seem to have much to say about it, either, perhaps out of shame: On America's watch, public expression of Christianity was obliterated in Iraq, and the last Christian church in Afghanistan razed to the ground. Almost exactly two years ago, when 148 students were slaughtered at a school in Kenya, President Obama could not bring himself to identify them as Christian, even though their killers had gone to great pains to separate their captives according to their faith, releasing the Muslims and killing the Christians. As I remarked somewhat mordantly, apparently black lives don't matter when they're Christian.

The Islamic supremacists' assault on Christianity is not confined to the Holy Land and the more benighted parts of the developing world. Monday's subway bloodbath in St Petersburg was also celebrated by Isis as making "a metro to Hell for worshipers of the Cross". It's doubtful that most of the victims, who included many students, would have seen themselves as such. But that's the point: you might not think of yourself as a "worshiper of the Cross", but that's how the guys who want to kill you see you.

And so it went in Stockholm also. As in Egypt, it was a symbolic target: the flagship Åhléns department store. I bought some socks there last summer. Good times. The owners announced after the bloodbath that they'd be selling off at bargain-basement prices all the merchandise damaged when the truck came crashing through the window. For prices you can't beat, look for the tire tracks on our cashmere sweaters! For one incredible sale only, our prices have fallen lower than our run-over customers! Eventually, someone explained to the store that this was not in the best of taste, and the sale was canceled before this savvy marketing opportunity could spread elsewhere on the Continent. (Galeries Lafayette in Rouen: We've cut our prices like the neck of a Catholic priest!)

But the secular, consumerist utopia attracts the ire of the Islamic imperialists, too. The killer in Stockholm was, like his comrade in St Petersburg, an ethnic Uzbek. But what he was principally was a Muslim, and one who divided the world into two groups, believers and non-believers. Among the dead was Chris Bevington, an Englishman who worked in Sweden for the music-streaming service Spotify. The people who create such billion-dollar boutique diversions assure us that they are the future, and that the likes of the Stockholm jihadist are momentary aberrations, freakish eruptions in the otherwise smooth progress to a world in which the seductive siren of the unending song can be piped directly into your cerebral cortex 24 hours a day. The killers of Stockholm, Petersburg and Alexandria are betting otherwise.

In a too pat symbolism, the Westminster Bridge attack claimed among its victims the window cleaner of Churchill's country home, Chartwell. More tellingly freighted, the toll of the dead in Stockholm numbered MaĂŻlys Dereymaeker, the young mother of an 18-month-old baby: She'd worked as a psychologist at several Belgian migrant centers helping "refugees" whose asylum bids had been turned down. Her killer could have used her assistance: Rakhmat Akilov had had his application for Swedish asylum rejected last year, but the authorities couldn't be bothered to rouse themselves to deport him. She was, in a certain sense, on his side. But he killed her anyway, because that's not how he saw it.

The Jewish schoolboy in Berlin isn't really news, is he? That's just daily life in many European cities in the 21st century:

The 14-year-old, who cannot be named under child protection laws, was beaten, kicked and threatened with a replica gun after he revealed to fellow pupils that he was Jewish.

He endured a campaign of intimidation by Muslim pupils who told him "Muslims hate Jews. All Jews are murderers."

Why put the boy in such a school? Ah, well. The mother believed the Official Propaganda:

Emma said she and her husband had originally been attracted to the school, Friedenauer Gemeinschaftsschule, which has a large proportion of Arab and Turkish children, by the fact it was so multicultural.

Yes, it's so multicultural, they all hate the Jews.

When there are no Jews left, who will they hate? In London, the churches close. But that's not really news, either, not this deep into Matthew Arnold's long, withdrawing roar:

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar...

Almost right. The churches close and the mosques open, and it happens so gradually you don't notice that the melancholy, long, withdrawing, roar is now in fact the triumphant incoming roar of what comes after. CNBC paraphrased London Mayor Sadiq Khan's reaction to the Westminster attacks this way:

Terrorists Can't Stand London's Thriving Multiculturalism

On the contrary, they understand very well that it's not "thriving", that "multiculturalism" is merely an interim phase, and that what comes after will be more unicultural.

The Coptic cathedral attacked in Egypt stands in Alexandria, a city I've visited from time to time. Woody Allen said years ago that he spent much of his time in his own preferred metropolis looking for "Cole Porter's New York". Because I'd read his quartet of novels as an impressionable lad, I wander around Egypt's great port city looking for Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria. But it no longer exists. As I write in The [Un]documented Mark Steyn:

[Durrell's] cast of characters would be entirely bewildering to contemporary Alexandrians: an English writer (of course), a Greek good-time girl, a homosexual Jew, a wealthy Copt. In the old days, Alexandria bustled with Britons, Italians, and lots and lots of Greeks. All gone. So are the Jews, homo- and hetero-, from a community 50,000 strong down to some four dozen greybeards keeping their heads down. I got an e-mail a year or so back from the great-grandson of Joseph Cattaui, a Jew and Egypt's finance minister back in the Twenties: These days, the family lives in France — because it's not just that in Egypt a Jew can no longer be finance minister, but that in Egypt a Jew can no longer be. Now, in the absence of any other demographic groups to cleanse, it's the Copts' turn to head for the exits — as in Tripoli and Benghazi it's the blacks'. In the once-cosmopolitan cities of the Arab world, the minority communities are confined to the old graveyards, like the rubbish-strewn Jewish cemetery of broken headstones, squawking chickens, and hanging laundry I wandered through in Tangiers a while back. Islam is king on a field of corpses.

In western cities, the field of corpses is already quite high - with Belgian psychologists who devoted their lives to helping "refugees", and French priests who gave Catholic property to their Muslim neighbors to worship on, and daughters of EU bigwigs who ask that in their murdered child's memory donations be given to migrant-assistance charities. Until they abandon their illusions, they are on the same "metro to Hell" as Alexandria and the other post-diversity cities of the Muslim world.

~Today Mark joins Elizabeth MacDonald live on Fox Business at 5pm Eastern/2pm Pacific.

from Steyn on the World, April 11, 2017

 

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