Cultural symbols matter and what they now suggest is that the West is in retreat. This is a retreat in every aspect of life, from religion to popular culture. “Out of respect” for the Iranian president, who presumably would be offended by nudity, the Italian government had museum officials in Rome’s Capitoline place boxes over several nude statues – including one of Venus created in the second century BC – during Hassan Rouhani’s state visit.
It is often said that western ethnocentrism makes it difficult for leaders to understand Islamic culture. Rarely, however, does the reverse hold. Do Iranian imams attempt to embrace our culture? What Islamists do know is that the weakness in the West is palpable. From Scandinavia to Italy, governments are bending over backwards to accommodate minority Muslim populations for fear of violence and because there is a loss in civilizational confidence. President Obama, for example, is more likely to pay emotional tribute to Islam than the Judeo Christian culture he represents.
Sharia – the Islamic way of life including Islamic law – has penetrated the European court system. Several states in the U.S recently considered the application of Islamic legal precedents in American jurisprudence. Minnesota congressman, Keith Ellison, has proposed a sharia compliant transaction tax. When Mr. Ellison took the oath of office he swore his allegiance on a Koran rather than a Bible. Al-Waleed bin Talal has used his Saudi royal family fortune to invest in the West and make sizable philanthropic gifts as well. He is Citigroup’s largest individual shareholder, the second largest voting shareholders of 21st Century Fox and the owner of Paris’ Hotel George V. The Center of Islamic Studies at Cambridge bears his name, as does the Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University. His footprint is large and in critical areas of the culture. What Western officials and businessman smell is the money, but the scent of Islamism is overlooked.
This too is another sign of weakness. Rather…
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