On May 22, an Islamic suicide bomber detonated himself outside a pop concert
in Manchester, England, killing and wounding dozens, many of them young
The terrorist was a 22-year-old named Salman Abedi. A few days after the attack, I was reading an article about the mosque he attended—the Didsbury
Mosque. “That’s funny,” I thought looking at the accompanying photo, “that doesn’t look like a mosque, it looks like a church.”
Sure enough, as I discovered, the Didsbury Mosque was once the Albert Park Methodist Chapel. It had been bought by the local Syrian Muslim community
and transformed into a Muslim place of worship.
Similar transformations have been taking place in other parts of the UK. St. Mark’s Church in London is now the New Peckham Mosque, St. Peter’s Church
in Cobridge, sold to the Madina Mosque. The Brick Lane Mosque in London was
originally a Methodist church. But church-to-mosque conversions are only
part of a larger story. There are now 423 mosques in London, and the number
is expected to grow. Meanwhile, 500 London churches have closed since 2001,
and in all of England 10,000 churches have closed since 1960.
The transformation of the Albert Park Methodist Church to the Didsbury
Mosque is emblematic of one of the most significant shifts in history: the
transformation of Europe from a largely Christian continent to a largely
Islamic one. The transformation is far from complete, and there’s an outside
chance the process can be reversed, but time and demographics favor Islam.
In several of Europe’s cities, the Muslim population now hovers around the
thirty percent mark. In ten years’ time, that will be forty percent. Of
course that doesn’t mean 40 percent of highly committed Muslims facing 60
percent of deeply devout Christians. Both faiths have their share of
half-hearted “nominals” for whom religion is more a cultural inheritance
than a deeply held conviction. Still, the “nominal” problem is a much
greater problem for European Christians than for European Muslims. In many
European countries, Sunday church attendance is the 5-10 percent range
whereas mosque attendance is very high in relation to the size of the Muslim
population. In England, there are already more Muslims attending Friday
prayers than there are Christians attending Anglican services on Sundays. A
study by Christian Research predicts that by 2020 the number of Muslims
attending prayer service in England and Wales will exceed the number of
Catholics attending weekly Mass.
It’s also noteworthy that the expanding Muslim population in Europe is
relatively young, whereas the declining “Christian” population is an aging
one. Sixty-forty seems like good odds until you realize that the average age
of the 60 percenters will be around 55 while the average age of the 40
percenters will be around 25.
You may object that if there is any fighting to be done, most of the
fighting on the “Christian” side will be done by the army, not by citizens
in walkers and wheelchairs. But keep in mind that the military draws its
recruits from the ranks of the young. As the population of the people that
Islamists refer to as “crusaders” ages, European governments will be forced
to draw more of their new recruits from the Muslim population. The same goes
for the police forces. Many Muslims will serve their country or their city
faithfully, but many will have divided loyalties, and some will have signed
up in the first place with mutiny in mind.
Most likely, however, the transformation will be effected without major
battles. It won’t be a matter of numbers or of military strength, but of
strength of belief. Those with the strongest beliefs will prevail. Those who
are not sure what to believe will submit without a fight.
Will Europe Defend its “Values”?
That’s the theme of Michel Houellebecq’s Submission, a novel about the
gradual Islamization of France. The protagonist, a middle-aged professor,
has a number of qualms about the Islamic takeover of the university system,
but nothing sufficient to resist it. The things he values most—literature,
good food, and sex—are, in the end, no impediment to accepting Islam. True,
he is offered several inducements to convert—career advancement, plenty of
money, and several “wives”—but one gets the impression that, even without
these incentives, he would still eventually convert. At one point prior to
his submission, he thinks about joining a monastic order as his literary
hero, J.K. Huysmans, had done, but he soon realizes that he lacks the
necessary Christian conviction. Indeed, he has no strong convictions.
His plight is the plight of contemporary Europe in a nutshell. Many
Europeans see no sense in resisting Islamization because they have nothing
worth defending. To be sure, European leaders still talk about “our values,”
but they can’t seem to specify what those values are, beyond appeals to
“diversity” and “pluralism.” For example, after the Manchester massacre,
British Prime Minister Theresa May stated that “our values—the liberal,
pluralistic values of Britain—will always prevail over the hateful ideology
of the terrorists.”
I’m not so sure of that. In an earlier era, Brits would have connected their
values to God, country, family, and honor. In other words, things worth
fighting for. But “liberal, pluralistic values”? That’s not very solid
ground on which to take your stand. Who wants to die for diversity? Indeed,
it can be argued that the worship of diversity for its own sake is what
allowed terrorists to get a foothold in England in the first place. No one
wanted to question all those diverse preachers spreading their diverse
message about Jews, infidels, and homosexuals. The trouble is, unless there
are higher values than diversity, there’s no way of judging between good
diversities and bad diversities—between, say, honoring your wife and
honor-killing her if she displeases you.
The same is true of freedom. Freedom is a fundamental right, but what you do
with your freedom is also important. There has to be some higher objective
value that directs our choices to good ends rather than bad ones. Otherwise,
freedom becomes a license to do anything one pleases.
An Attack on Childhood.
Here we touch on a very touchy subject. I would not like to be in Theresa
May’s shoes when, after a horrifying attack, she has to come up with just
the right words. But one thing she said struck me as not quite right. She
said: “We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a
room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish, but as an
opportunity for carnage.”
It’s possible to fully agree with May’s sentiments while, at the same time,
noting that there once was a time when a room full of children watching an
Ariana Grande concert would not be considered “a scene to cherish.” “Her
dress, dancing, and song lyrics,” wrote one columnist, “are deliberately
decadent and immodest.” And, after watching some YouTube clips of her
performances, I would have to agree. I’m pretty sure that most of the
parents I know would not want their children to attend one of her concerts.
While the world was justly outraged at Salman Abedi’s attack on innocent
children, no one seems to notice the attack on childhood innocence that the
typical pop concert represents. The two “attacks” should not be equated, of
course. The producers of pop concerts are not the moral equivalents of a
suicide bomber. Still, the fact that so many parents saw nothing wrong with
dropping their children off at the Manchester concert suggests a great deal
of moral confusion in the West.
Unfortunately, such moral confusion leaves people vulnerable to those who
are absolutely certain about their beliefs. The moral relativism of the West
is one of the chief reasons why the Islamic cultural jihad has been so
successful. People who can’t see that the soft-porn style of Lady Gaga,
Miley Cyrus, and Ariana Grande is not good for children will have difficulty
seeing the problem with polygamy, child marriage, and other aspects of
sharia law. In a relativistic society, the safest default position is “who’s
Relativism Leads to Islamic Dominance
Earlier I said that Europe is being transformed from a Christian culture to
an Islamic culture, but that’s not quite accurate because it’s actually a
three-stage transformation. Much of Europe has already transitioned out of
its Christian stage and into a post-Christian or secular stage. There are
still many Christians in Europe, but Europe’s Christian consciousness has
been largely lost. The next stage is the transition from secularism to
Islam. That’s not inevitable, but it’s likely because without a framework of
Judeo-Christian beliefs, secularism becomes relativism and relativism can’t
offer much resistance to determined true believers.
Back in 2014, Theresa May said “we celebrate different ways of life, we
value diversity, and we cherish our freedom to lead our lives as we choose.”
But if your culture stands for nothing more than the freedom to shop for
different lifestyles, it won’t last long. The contemporary Western
fascination with pop culture highlights the problem. Pop culture is by its
very nature a transient phenomenon. What is pop today won’t be pop tomorrow.
Indeed, the popular culture of tomorrow may very well favor burqas, multiple
wives, and male supremacy. There may still be a place for singer-dancers
like Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus, but that place would most likely be as a
harem dancer in a Sultan’s palace or as entertainment for a Saudi prince who
has bought up a country estate in Oxfordshire.
It’s hard to beat transcendent values with transient values. That’s
especially the case when the transcendent crowd are willing to die (and kill
you in the process) for their values. Most Brits, on the other hand, are not
willing to lay down their lives for the sake of keeping bacon on the menu or
porn on the telly.
Christianity vs. Two Forms of Totalitarianism
When I use the word “transcendent,” I refer only to a belief in an eternal
life beyond this worldly existence. Quite obviously, as in the case of
Salman Abedi, transcendent values can be twisted. The idea that God will
reward you for murdering innocent young women in Manchester by furnishing
you with virginal young women in paradise is a truly twisted concept. But
apparently it is widely shared in the Muslim world. When, during a World Cup
qualifier in Australia, a minute of silence was called to commemorate the
London terror victims, the whole Saudi soccer team refused to observe it. As
Sheik Mohammad Tawhidi later explained:
In their eyes the attackers are martyrs who are going to paradise. And if
they stand for a minute of silence they are against their Muslim brothers
who fought for jihad and fought the infidels.
As twisted as these values may be, it’s beginning to look as though secular
values aren’t up to the job of opposing them. The trouble with secular
values when they are cut off from their Judeo-Christian roots is that they
are arbitrary. Autonomy? Dignity? Equality? Says who?
“If there is no God,” wrote Dostoevsky, “everything is permitted.”
Secularism has no God and, therefore, no ultimate standard of judgment. The
end result is that each man becomes his own god and does his own thing—even
if that “thing” involves the exploitation of childhood innocence. Islam, on
the other hand, does believe in God, but not the God Dostoevsky had in mind.
The God of Islam is an arbitrary despot whose commands are not rooted in
reason, love, or justice.
So we have two arbitrary systems vying for control of the West—the soft
totalitarianism of secularism and the hard totalitarianism of Islam. Both
are really forms of slavery. Muslims are slaves of a tyrannical God, and
secular man becomes the slave of his own desires and addictions. It may seem
unthinkable that the West will ever submit to Islam, but many Western
citizens are already in submission mode. Submission to their desires has put
them in a bad spot. As a result, they are looking for something bigger to
submit to—something outside and above their own fragile selves. Some have
already turned to Islam. Many more will unless…
Unless, that is, there is a recovery of the Judeo-Christian belief that God
is a God of love, justice, reason, and goodness—and that we are made in his
image (a concept which does not exist in Islam). In the context of that
vision, belief in human dignity and the rights of man is thoroughly
People who believe that they and their neighbor are made in the image of God
will generally have a strong sense of their responsibility to act
accordingly. Such people will be far from perfect, but they will at least
realize that it is wrong to submit both to Islam’s warped image of God and
to secularism’s degraded image of man.
In the end, the choice for the West is not between Islam and pluralistic
secularism. A rootless secularism will almost certainly submit to Islam. The
only real hope for the West is the recovery of the faith that once inspired
Christians to build a beautiful church near Albert Park in West Didsbury,