Getting Pretty Tired of Extremist Violence in Europe

Posted on February 16, 2015


Don’t like the local culture? Peacefully use democratic mechanisms in place, or LEAVE. Your hurt feelings don’t justify murder and mayhem.


Decades ago, when I was in college, we had a European student in our class.   He didn’t seem to have much good to say about America; there was always some pointed observation criticizing our culture, our crime rates, or our strange half-repressed, half-libertine sexual morals. There was actually a lot of truth in what he said, but we found it offensive, and said so. “Why are you here, then?” “Well, my country doesn’t have a university that offers the degree I want.” “OK, then. Shut up.”

Well, turnabout is fair play. I spent much of my adult life overseas, living for extended periods in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Central and South Asia, the Far East. I saw a lot of things that were very different from what I was used to in the good ol’ USA. Some of it, I thought was smarter or cooler than the way we do things. And some of it, I didn’t much care for. But then – keeping my old classmate in mind – I kept my mouth shut about it. Not my country, not my business. I wasn’t there to “enlighten” my foreign hosts about the greatness of the American Way of Doing Things.

This is why it galls me to no end that Muslim extremists have yet again attacked a cartoonist in Denmark, firing on a free-speech debate at a cafe. If I’m tired of this crap, how much more can the people who actually live there put up with it?  This is not about freedom of speech, not really.  It’s about being held hostage to the violent, murderous tantrums of a minority, about having to walk on eggshells in your own country lest some “offended” religious extremist murder you for something you might not have even known was an offense… something which, at home in your own country, is perfectly legal and not even very remarkable.

First of all, I want to tell these extremists: God does not need your protection from anything. It is not your place to personally decide what offends God, nor is it your place to slaughter innocents alongside those to whom you have so self-righteously assigned guilt. Killing innocents is, in fact, un-Islamic. I also want to ask: if the European way of life offends you so much, why are you there at all?

Is it because Europe gives you something you didn’t have in your country of origin… security, perhaps, or economic opportunity?   Well, then shut up and be grateful for what you have, instead of murdering your hosts.

Is it because you were born in modern secular / traditionally Christian Europe to a Muslim minority, and now European ways offend you so much that you have to commit murder and mayhem rather than just peacefully protesting, writing editorials, or casting your vote like any other citizen? Fine. Leave. Plenty of young, violent idiots seem able to find their way to Syria these days. I’m sure you can find your own way out of Europe if it’s so awful for you.

The worst thing about extremist violence in Europe is that it paints all Muslims with the same bloody brush, and is turning more and more otherwise reasonable people against Islam and Muslims in general. What is anyone to think, when time and again we have violent Muslim attacks on ordinary Europeans for doing ordinary, acceptable, legal things in their own home countries? What are we to think, when Muslims call for Europeans to change their free-speech laws to accommodate Muslim sensitivities?

I have to remind myself, again and again… more and more often lately… that when I was in Saudi Arabia, thanks to the people there, I really had a great time (other than the war-related stuff). As I have written previously, the Arabs were great hosts and I took away only good experiences from meeting their families, dining with them, socializing with them, and learning more about their customs. I was genuinely interested. That way of life was clearly not for me, but I respected them and their ways in their country.

And again I remind myself, and again. But against the mounting onslaught of violent Muslim attacks on the West, in the West – it’s getting harder and harder for me to keep my own sense of perspective.