The small town of Richmond, Maine, offers a key to understanding why we need be concerned, not only about building a mosque at Ground Zero in New York City, but anywhere.
Richmond’s history goes back to the mid-1600s. During World War II, it became the epicenter of the largest Russian-speaking settlement in the U.S. with people emigrating from the Ukraine, Russia and Poland.
Among Richmond’s residents in the late 1950s were my mother’s Russian aunt and uncle. As a child, I visited them there, experiencing the culture of that very large ethnic community. Russian influence was obvious everywhere. My visits to Richmond ended in 1975 after my great-uncle died and my great-aunt came to live with us.
Thirty years later, I visited Richmond again—but was shocked to see the change occurring after only a generation and a half. Little Russian influence remained. The children and grandchildren of the original immigrants either moved away or became Americanized to the point they no longer held tightly to their Russian cultural heritage. Over time, like many towns in the U.S. where immigrants of particular nationalities settled, Richmond had blended the cultural identity of its immigrant community into America’s “melting pot.”
Immigrants have been coming to America for more than two centuries, looking to escape the yoke of tyranny. They have sought to use their God-given talents to attain a lifestyle limited by constraints within their birth nation. But they understand doing so and becoming U.S. citizens requires allegiance to a new country—and an obligation to abide by its laws. As waves of immigrants have come to our shores, none have ever sought to bring their own laws with them to trump ours—until now.
America’s greatness has been enhanced for 235 years by immigrants possessing a good work ethic only in need of a level playing field to be nurtured. Embracing what their new country stands for, they have ultimately assimilated, coming to understand success for all is based on equality for all.
Assimilation is the process by which one group takes on cultural and other traits of a larger group “to become part of something greater.” It is a process that has served America well in maintaining the core values to which our Constitution is anchored. But, it is a process anathema to Islam.
During a visit to Cologne, Germany, in 2008, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to a group of 20,000 Turks living in Europe. He told them, “I understand very well that you are against assimilation. One cannot expect you to assimilate. Assimilation is a crime against humanity.”
It is Muslim opposition to assimilation, coupled with Muslim populations growing at faster rates than native host populations, that raises concerns over the “Islamization” of Western Europe. Non-assimilation has generated “no-go” zones in some European cities—areas local law enforcement refuse to go because Muslim residents do not tolerate entry by non-believers.
Denmark dropped its very liberal immigration policy once the government recognized the dangers of failed Muslim assimilation within its borders. Comprising 5% of the population, Danish Muslims settled in no-go zones, while consuming 40% of welfare benefits.
American philosopher Francis Fukuyama suggests the conversion of Islamic nations to democracy is in our national security interests. He also cautions that just as dangerous to us as the threat of Islamism from outside our borders is the threat of Islamism from within. It is the latter threat to which we are exposed because of failed assimilation.
Why does Erdogan call assimilation “a crime against humanity?” It is because the “humanity” he embraces includes only Islam’s believers—i.e., non-believers are unworthy of inclusion. Thus, believers in foreign lands are instructed to isolate themselves—for the sake of purity—from non-believers.
What many people fail to understand about Islam and Muslims’ failure to assimilate “to become part of something greater” is that Muslims are embracing “reverse assimilation.” This is the process by which the influence of the host population is eventually marginalized due to the disproportionately high growth of an immigrant population which then seeks to impose its beliefs on the host. Simply put, it is the guest who comes to a host’s home, grows his family until it outnumbers the host’s family and then takes over that home.
What we fail to understand is that, to Muslims, becoming “part of something greater” means the natives surrender their individual identity and way of life to Muslims.
In 1948, the world community unanimously agreed to a UN declaration that human rights are universal. In 1981, Muslim countries distanced themselves from this, claiming Sharia law was controlling, thus limiting such rights primarily to Muslim men. That same Sharia law is now being applied in host countries—including the U.S.—under pressure from growing unassimilated Muslim populations.
Muslim supporters of the Ground Zero mosque raise the Constitution with one hand to claim religious freedom protects its construction. But, hidden in the other hand, is Sharia law—with its standard of human inequality—which they seek to impose, trumping the same Constitution they use against non-supporters. Mosque supporters need to understand they cannot have it both ways. We need to understand that as well.