- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Last week, the Italian interior minister, Giuliano Amato, hosted a conference in Rome on “Islam and Integration.” Italy, one of Europe’s southern border states, has 1 million Muslims out of a population of 58 million people. Illegal immigrants arrive in Italy in huge numbers. According to a recent survey, the country could count almost 7 million Muslims by the end of the next decade.

The Italians, however, have a way of dealing with illegal immigrants. They regularly transform them into legal residents by granting them official papers. Since 1988 Italy has organized six amnesties for illegal aliens — the last one in 2006, when 500,000 people were given permission to stay. Most of them leave Italy shortly afterward. Since Italy belongs to the European Union and since the EU adheres to the principle of the free movement of persons, an amnesty gives immigrants the right to freely enter all EU member states. Italy allows the immigrants in so that they move out, to EU nations with more generous welfare systems.

Mr. Amato, a former prime minister of Italy as well as the former vice president of the EU’s Constitutional Convention, boasts that his country has few problems with Muslims. They are well integrated in Italian society, he told the conference. The Socialist politician downplayed phenomena such as violence toward women by Muslim immigrants. Mr. Amato said wife beating is also customary among indigenous Italians in Sicily — a comment which infuriated Sicilian politicians.

One of those attending last week’s conference was the Dutch integration minister, Ella Vogelaar. Like Italy, the Netherlands has a population of about 1 million Muslims (of a total 16.5 million people). Upon her return home, Mrs. Vogelaar gave an interview to Trouw, a Dutch Protestant newspaper. She said that Muslim immigrants must feel appreciated. According to the minister, the Dutch have to help “Islam take root in the Netherlands.”

Mrs. Vogelaar, a member of the Dutch Labor Party, told Trouw that the Netherlands, while so far a country of Judeo-Christian traditions, is gradually becoming a “Judeo-Christiano-Islamic” society. She clearly considers this process beneficial, although, she added, it “may still take a couple of centuries” before it is fully achieved. Mrs. Vogelaar is saying nothing new. Every visitor to major West European cities can see that the continent’s urban areas are rapidly turning Islamic — a dramatic process, which, if not stopped, will take only decades, not centuries, to achieve.

Mrs. Vogelaar’s dishonesty lies in her feigned appreciation for the Judeo-Christian roots of Dutch society, to which she would now add a third religious component. The Dutch Socialists played a prominent role in transforming the Netherlands into a radically secularist society, from which God is absent and where people who are reluctant to perform same-sex “marriages” cannot find jobs in the civil service.

The Dutch Labor Party did everything in its power to undermine Judeo-Christian religions, but it is today the vehicle of the most radical Islamization. This has nothing to do with appreciation for yet another religion, but rather with the fact that, like secularism, Islamism is an enemy of Judeo-Christian values.

The European left appreciates Islamism not because it is a religion, but because it is a totalitarian political ideology. The Dutch Labor Party is catering to Islamist extremists even to the point of silencing party members like the Muslim apostate Ehsan Jami.

The same hypocrisy is displayed by Mr. Amato. He says that Europe will benefit from what religious Muslims can offer. However, Mr. Amato was the vice president of the European Convention, which vetoed any reference to God in the preamble to the EU Constitution. Sadly, there are more politicians like Mr. Amato and Mrs. Vogelaar. Take Patrick Janssens, the Socialist mayor of Antwerp, a city just south of the Dutch border. His administration sacks civil servants who warn about a takeover of Antwerp’s mosques by Islamist groups, and has them replaced by members of these very Islamist groups. Last week, Mr. Janssens welcomed international homosexual activists to Antwerp, which he likes to style the “gay capital of Europe.”

Does it make sense to cater simultaneously to radical homosexuals and Islamists? It does not, unless Europe’s Christian heritage is your enemy.

Meanwhile, a German appeals court convicted a man for calling abortion “murder.” Klaus Gunter Annen, a father of two, runs a Web site where he asks people to pray for “doctors planning an abortion murder.” On a separate Web page he lists German gynecologists who perform abortions. Last Thursday, the the court stated that since abortionists do nothing illegal, no one is allowed — not even in an indirect way — to call them murderers.

It is often argued that Adolf Hitler was only able to grab power in Germany in 1933 because freedom and democracy were already dead. Soon, the secularist totalitarianism in contemporary Europe will be replaced by an Islamist totalitarianism. The Islamists will not need to kill freedom and democracy. The latter have already been murdered.

Paul Belien is editor of the Brussels Journal and an adjunct fellow of the Hudson Institute.