Even in the midst of my travels, this Tweet from Tarek Fatah caught my eye:
When @MarkSteynOnline wrote "Future Belongs to Islam", I scoffed at it, but 10 yrs later I believe him. Facing Islamism are cowardly wimps.
By "cowardly wimps", I suppose Mr Fatah has in mind chaps like David Cameron, whose instant, reflexive need, whenever one of his fellow Britons get decapitated, to hail Islam as "a religion of peace" is beginning to come across like a bad case of multiculti Tourette's. Or perhaps he's thinking of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's characteristically hamfisted endorsement of a Muslim "anti-radicalization" guide that, predictably enough, turned out to be all too radical.
Tarek Fatah wasn't kidding when he said he "scoffed" at "The Future Belongs To Islam". The Maclean's cover story was excerpted from my bestseller America Alone (personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available from the SteynOnline bookstore, he pleads pitifully). Mr Fatah dismissed it, as did many others, as "alarmist" - and in my own magazine, too. (The Maclean's archive is impenetrable, but you can find the Fatah piece here). On the other hand, he sportingly conceded:
Mark Steyn Has A Right To Be Wrong
Which is more generous than the Canadian Islamic Congress, who sued over the piece in three jurisdictions in an attempt to get a lifetime publication ban imposed on me in my own country. Come to think of it, it's more generous than the climate-change control freaks, one of whose dismal number is sternly demanding an eminent scientist publicly apologize for favoriting a Tweet he disapproves of.
Tarek Fatah also has a right to be wrong, which he is quite often. But that's actually one of the more interesting things about him. Most so-called "moderate Muslims" turn out on not so close inspection to be people who want to head in the same direction as the non-moderate Muslims, although perhaps not going quite so far, or quite so fast. But Mr Fatah has a contrarian streak that wouldn't be unusual in, say, the Fleet Street of Christopher Hitchens but which is extremely rare in the Muslim world. And, at the risk of damning with faint praise, he has a personal courage far beyond anything Cameron & Co can muster.
And in this case he happens to be, belatedly, right. America Alone is not "alarmist": If anything, it was insufficiently alarmist. What's underway is happening far faster than I suggested eight years ago. The other day, for example, The Daily Mail reported that Birmingham, England (where I chanced to be recently, and where Cameron's Tories have just wrapped up their party conference) now has more Muslim than Christian children. That means that, absent any countervailing dynamic, its future is Muslim. This is not a small thing: Birmingham is Britain's second city, and, in a democratic age, its structures will reflect its people. The constabulary, the school system, the hospitals will have a de facto sharia-compliant character. If you're a Muslim girl, the authorities will systematically turn a blind eye to forced marriages and honor violence, and, if you're a lower-class infidel girl, to "grooming". If you're boorish enough to draw attention to such unpleasantness, you'll be committing a hate crime, and Cameron's even squishier successors will explain why there's "no right to shout fire in a crowded theatre", which is a polite way of saying we can't afford this freedom-of-expression stuff, but will be an even more impenetrable metaphor by then, because a Muslim city won't have theatres, or a music scene. And, when they hold the party conference there next decade, bibulous Tories will notice they have to travel somewhat further than they used to to find a pub. Almost every restaurant will be halal, and good luck getting a bacon butty. If you've a dog or an under-dressed dolly bird or a six-pack of beer, forget about getting a cab, or even a bus. Every employer in the city, from the Bull Ring to Aston Villa, will have prayer rooms, and, if you're one of the few who don't go, you'll begin to feel increasingly uncomfortable about it. Forty-five years ago, had a researcher for Wolverhampton MP Enoch Powell suggested that in his "rivers of blood" speech he might like to predict that by 2014 Birmingham would have more Muslim children than Christian, Powell would have suspected it was a set-up to make him appear ridiculous. And yet here we are.
It's a bit dispiriting to write a wake-up call only to find everyone you wrote it for simply doubles the strength of their sleeping pills. After my own recent travels, I hope to write a longer piece on this theme. But for now let me draw your attention to two fine commentators, David Solway and Daniel Greenfield. Mr Solway focuses on some small but poignant details: the death of social norms in a bicultural society in which one side is both self-segregating and boundlessly aggressive in its appropriation of the public space. Danel Greenfield, by contrast, focuses on the big picture, and the peculiar psychosis afflicting western elites. It's hard to disagree with his conclusions. London, for example, is full of wealthy Russians, and indeed Kazakhs, and fellows from the dodgier -stans. But it's possible to foresee a moment when the British Government concludes that the Slavic and Central Asian dosh isn't worth the trouble, and erects severe obstacles to any more of their ilk settling in the United Kingdom. Likewise, with Eastern European plumbers et al. The political class has no psychological investment in them. But they will never attempt to turn back Islam's ceaseless tide, because Islam has become the ne plus ultra of the multicultural delusion. To entertain the faint, furtive thought that becoming 15, 20, 30 per cent Muslim might not be a good idea would be less a rebuke to Islam than to the animating spirit of post-war western elites. And so they will never allow themselves to think it.
And so Birmingham will be Muslim. And then where? England will cease to exist as anything other than as a geographic designation. David Cameron can still get miffed about beheadings, but, when a society has opted for assisted suicide, that's a difference only of degree.
~Noting my ongoing absence from the United States, a few American readers have wondered whether, what with the upcoming Mann vs Steyn trial of the century, I've fled jurisdiction. Not yet. I'll be back in the land of the free-ish for An Evening With Mark Steyn, presented by the Center of the American Experiment, live at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis on October 9th. For more info and tickets, see here.
And, after a couple of weeks of that, it'll be time to start plugging the ol' Christmas CD.
So no, I've no plans to flee jurisdiction till Boxing Day. Alert the ports and air terminals.