Welcome to fantasyland! No, I’m not talking about Disney World. I’m referring to American society circa 2018. It seems that social elites have divorced themselves from reality and are demanding that the rest of us do likewise.
You’re no doubt familiar with the most egregious examples of “let’s pretend:”
- Let’s pretend that unborn babies aren’t really human beings.
- Let’s pretend that same-sex “marriage” is a real marriage.
- Let’s pretend that girls can become boys and vice versa.
- Let’s pretend that there are far more than two genders and you can choose whichever one you like.
All these “let’s pretends” have the force of law behind them, and you can get in trouble if you don’t go along with the pretense. For example, in New York City a heavy fines awaits those who fail to address a co-worker by their preferred pronoun—even though the pronoun has no connection with reality. In short you can be fined for refusing to tell a lie.
But reality eventually bites back. Outside the world of children’s play, indulging in fantasy can have dangerous consequences. The social elite’s fantasy-based experiments with gender, marriage, and family have already wreaked havoc on family life. But much worse may be in store. That’s because the “make-believe” germ has now infected our understanding of culture, religion, politics, and international affairs.
The most glaring example of dangerous wishful thinking is the Western willingness to play let’s pretend about Islam. Here are some instances.
Let’s pretend that adults are adolescents. In Sweden, a dental hygienist was fired, lost his apartment, and stands to have his entire family’s property confiscated because he reported that up to 80 percent of Muslim child refugees were actually adults, and thus subject to possible deportation. His report also threatened to undermine a related pretense—the pretense that the majority of refugees and migrants coming into Sweden are women and children. In Sweden, as in New York City, you can be fined (and worse) for telling the truth.
Let’s pretend that girls are not really being raped in Rotherham. Over a 15 year period, more than 1,400 English girls in the city of Rotherham, England were raped by Pakistani gangs. The city council, the police, and child protection agencies knew what was happening, but decided to look the other way lest they be thought of as racists or Islamophobes. A similar pretense occurred in the wake of the 1,200 sexual assaults outside the main train station in Cologne, Germany on New Years Eve in 2016. It was only after the incident went viral on social media that the media and city officials belatedly acknowledged the mass assault two days later.
Let’s pretend that the hijab is a sign of empowerment for women. One of the key figures in the women’s movement in America is, believe it or not, a hijabed Muslim woman who is a strong advocate of sharia law and the right to wear the hijab. Meanwhile, students in universities across the country don hijabs to celebrate International Hijab Day and to show their solidarity with their Muslim sisters. This is done not out of sympathy for women who live under the harsh rule of sharia, but rather to ensure a woman’s right to wear the hijab.
Meanwhile, advertisers in Europe and the U.S. are using pictures of hijabed women to sell everything from shampoo to candy, to clothing lines. In the fantasy world of the West, hijabs are a cool marketing symbol—meant to show that one is hip and cutting edge. In the Muslim world, however, the hijab is a symbol of a woman’s inferior status. In many Muslim countries wearing the hijab is mandatory. And women who fail to wear it can be jailed—or worse. Both in the Muslim world and in the West, women who don’t wear hijabs can be beaten, raped, tortured, mutilated, and even killed, and in many if not most cases the punishment is administered by family members.
Let’s pretend that Islam is an important part of the Western heritage. The new head of the Swedish National Heritage Board is Qaisar Mahmood, a Muslim born in Pakistan. Mahmood admits that he knows next to nothing about Swedish heritage and history, but that’s no problem. It appears that his real role is not to celebrate Sweden’s heritage but, in his own words, to “create the narrative [that will make Muslim migrants] part of something.” Most Swedes aren’t too happy with mass Muslim migration and the ensuing crime wave. Apparently, Swedish authorities believe that if Swedes can be convinced that Islam has always been a part of Sweden, they will be more willing to accept Muslim migration.
This falsification of history is not confined to Sweden. There have already been attempts in the U.S. to rewrite history in order to give Muslims a bigger role. By one account the Iftar dinner (that breaks the Ramadan fast) is a White House tradition that goes back to Jefferson. According to others, Muslims discovered America before Columbus. All of this is preposterous, of course. But, as Goebbels observed, if you repeat a lie often enough, people will eventually come to believe it.
Let’s pretend that all Muslims are victims. It’s true that Muslims are persecuted in many parts of the world. But for the most part they are persecuted by other Muslims: Sunni Muslims against Shia Muslims, Shia against Sunni, Sunni and Shia against Ahmadiyya Muslims, and fundamentalist Muslims against moderate Muslims. Rather than call attention to this internecine persecution or to the persecution of 215 million Christians worldwide (mostly by Muslims), Western media has chosen, instead, to focus on “Islamophobia” and hate crimes against Muslims. The trouble is, there is very little evidence of a hate crime epidemic against Muslims. The incidence of hate crimes against Muslims in the West is about the same as it is for other ethnic/religious groups, and it doesn’t come close to the incidence of hate crimes against Jews. Moreover, a good many of the outrageous hate crime stories highlighted by the media turn out to be outrageous lies.
Take the case of Yasmin Seweid, a Muslim college student who claimed that three men assaulted her on a New York City subway, shouted anti-Muslim threats at her and tried to rip off her hijab. Her story was on the front page for several days in New York and it also made the national news. Yet, as Seweid later admitted to the police, it was all a lie. She had concocted the story to explain to her strict parents why she hadn’t come home on time. Her case is typical. Dozens upon dozens of “hate crimes” against Muslims turn out to be hoaxes manufactured by the supposed victims. Yet the newspapers rarely carry retractions of their stories, and the fake crimes keep showing up in hate crime statistics compiled by various advocacy groups. In short, Muslims pretend to be a victim class, and the rest of us pretend to believe that they are. The situation has all the elements of farce, except that this fake victimization narrative has become a handy way of distracting our attention from the millions of real victims of Muslim persecution and oppression.
Let’s pretend that Muslims and Christians share much in common. Christians are not immune to the “let’s pretend” syndrome. Perhaps the main pretense is that Muslims and Christians share similar values. There are, of course, some similarities, but there are also vast differences—much greater than most Westerner’s assume. For example, the rape and strangulation of an eight year old Muslim girl in Pakistan sparked mass outage in that country recently. Yet, according to an article by Raymond Ibrahim, the frequent rape and murder of young Christian girls in Pakistan is met with “deafening silence.” That’s because Christians in Pakistan are widely seen as untouchables, fit only for menial work, and regularly “treated like animals.”
“Outside the victims’ family and surrounding Christian community,” observes Ibrahim, “virtually no one else in the 99 % Muslim-majority nation cares when Christians and their children are savaged and murdered.” Indeed, police and other officials, including imams often side with the perpetrators of the crimes. This attitude toward non-Muslims is widespread in the Muslim world. That’s because in Islamic scripture and law books the life of non-Muslims is considered relatively unimportant. According to one widely consulted law book the life of a Christian or Jew is worth only one third the value of a Muslim life. Thus, according to Pakistani Christians, “Christian girls are considered goods to be damaged at leisure. Abusing them is a right. According to the [Muslim] community’s mentality it is not even a crime. Muslims regard them as spoils of war.”
Since Muslim mistreatment of non-Muslim women is now spreading into Europe, it will become increasingly difficult to maintain the pretense that Islamic values are just like Christian values. Nevertheless, many will continue to persist in this and other pretenses about Islam. But one wonders how much longer they can pretend. The information is easily accessible to anyone with a minimal amount of curiosity. Indeed, one almost has to make a conscious effort to avoid it. In this age of instant communication, those who don’t know about the dark side of Islam are those who don’t want to know.
In a report on the inhumane conditions at a local slaughterhouse, Tolstoy wrote “We cannot pretend that we do not know this. We are not ostriches, and cannot believe that if we refuse to look at what we do not wish to see, it will not exist.” The Book of Proverbs also comments on our tendency to pretend ignorance:
If you say, ‘But we know nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done? (Pro 24:12).
If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!