Indonesia’s government has declared that there is “no room” for gays in the country. This isn’t a surprise. It’s a Muslim country, and gays are starting to realize that they aren’t safe in Muslim societies.
It’s not just gays either. Atheists, Christians, Jews, feminists, and any woman with a skirt higher than her ankles have reason to be afraid in societies dominated by Islam. In Indonesia, Christian Chinese citizens face regular persecution. The country is secular, but they’ve given part of their country to the crazies. Sharia Courts hold sway in the Aceh Region, where only this year a 60-year old Christian woman was caned for selling alcohol.
Indonesia is the largest Muslim country on earth. More than 200 million Muslims live there, representing 87% of the population. That’s an even higher percentage of Muslims than France!
Europeans should read about the demographic changes in Indonesia, and be afraid. The Wikipedia entry on internal migration in the country sounds like a beta test for Europe, where gays are now at risk too.
Internal migration has altered the demographic makeup of the country over the past three decades. It has increased the percentage of Muslims in formerly predominantly Christian eastern parts of the country. By the early 1990s, Christians became a minority for the first time in some areas of the Maluku Islands. While government-sponsored transmigration from heavily populated Java and Madura to less populated areas contributed to the increase in the Muslim population in the resettlement areas, no evidence suggests that the Government intended to create a Muslim majority in Christian areas, and most Muslim migration seemed spontaneous. Regardless of its intent, the economic and political consequences of the transmigration policy contributed to religious conflicts in Maluku, Central Sulawesi, and to a lesser extent in Papua.
The Muslim nations of southeast Asia have an unexamined reputation for moderation, but Indonesia requires further examination.
The west has grappled with an intolerant, globe-spanning ideology before: communism. It was a utopian ideology, no less totalitarian than radical Islam. Its adherents’ efforts to erase the past and replace it with a cultural “Year Zero” was remarkably similar to radical Muslim attempts to destroy any historic monument that isn’t connected to their religion (in other words, most of them).
You might also be reminded at this point of campus activists, motivated by gender conspiracy theories or black grievance culture, who want to tear down statues of famous historical figures on vague, silly pretexts. Exactly the same thing is happening: political authoritarianss don’t like people to remember that culture existed before they arrived.
Radical Islam, like communism, is an idea. Luckily, the fall of communism gives us a guide on how to fight it — and win.
There are still communists in the west, of course. But voting for Jeremy Corbyn and, bizarrely, supporting the European Union, isn’t quite the same as joining the Baader-Meinhof. Aside from a few isolated pockets around the world, the few remaining fragments of communism are docile and declining. So how did we do it?
Don’t get excited, neocons — it wasn’t with open military combat. Sure, there were proxy wars around the world, but they weren’t at the root of communism’s failure. Communism failed when its citizens lost faith in the governing ideology, grew fed up with its tyranny, and rose up to overthrow the Red Tsars.
Much of this was down to communism’s own structural failings, particularly in the realm of economics. Ordinary citizens in the Warsaw pact grew sick of driving Trabants, waiting in line at the supermarket for food, and not being able to listen to rock music.
Not all Muslim countries are prosperous either — and they could be made less so if America were less favourable to countries like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. So why, you may ask, hasn’t it been done already?
Unfortunately, there’s a good reason. Too often, when young Muslims grow dissatisfied with their current regimes, their answer is usually more radicalization, not less. This was the case in the Arab Spring, where the Muslim Brotherhood replaced a secular dictator in Egypt, and where ISIS rushed in to fill the void in Syria.
The one inescapable argument for preserving brutal theocracies like Saudi Arabia is that whatever replaced them would likely be even more radical. If we want to roll back the current strain of radical Islam, we must place our hope in the next generation, not this current one.
But alas, progressives, it’s going to take more than wishing and hoping if we want the next generation to be less radical than the last. It was no accident that the Berlin Wall collapsed at the end of the 1980s. It was the end of a decade when America and, to a lesser extent, Britain had shaken off the malaise of the 1970s and recovered their national sense of self-confidence. Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan proudly walked the world stage, aggressively asserting the superiority, and, well, the greatness of their respective nations. In the increasingly backwards, increasingly poor Warsaw pact, the choice between the west and communism quickly became a no-brainer.
At the same time, western governments poured money into programs designed to undermine the idea of communism. With state funding, Radio Free Europe and Voice Of America ceaselessly broadcast news of anti-communist activities — as well as jazz and rock music — across the Iron Curtain. The propaganda campaign was so successful that KGB memos asserted that up to 80 percent of Soviet youth were listening to western radio broadcasts.
Western radio broadcasts offered tantalising glimpses of life and culture in the west.
That’s a long way from western leaders’ attitudes to radical Islam, isn’t it? They’re wearing headscarves, bowing to Saudi monarchs, and grinning stupidly in mosques. In the Cold War, there were some western leaders who advocated peaceful coexistence with the Soviet bloc, sure, but I don’t think any of them ever donned Mao suits or sang The Internationale.
Instead of drawing attention to the problems with the radical Islam way of life, our leaders harp on about “the religion of peace,” seeking to downplay the increasing violence against gays, nonbelievers, and women.
The Islamic State may be on the back foot, but it represents a world view that is attracting swathes of young people. Young radical Muslims have come to view muftis as their rock stars and mosques as their concert halls.
It’s theoretically possible to peacefully coexist with Muslims, much like it’s possible to coexist with a Christian bakery that refuses to bake cakes for gay weddings. Too many of the current generation, regardless of whether they’re Indonesian, Pashtun, or Arab, insist on imposing their way of life on everyone else — or killing us, if we refuse.
Like communism, we are dealing with a viral meme that needs to be fought head-on.
When America landed on the moon, the Cold War essentially ended. Russia gave up and ended its space program. We can’t yet know what the West vs radical Islam version of the Moon landings will be, but it is moments in culture like Neil Armstrong’s first steps which turn the tide of history and create the conditions for popular rebellion. Radical Islam has to be made uncool.
They also need to champion the greatness of western culture – Shakespeare, Picasso, Mozart, and Nietzsche.
This is a war of culture as much as it is a war of politics or faith, and we have to start fighting it now, in music, books, journalism, art and with every other means of creativity at our disposal, demonstrating as we do so what is possible with the free expression we so cherish in the west and which made America the greatest country in the history of human civilization.
But more than that — and this is what they really don’t want to do — our leaders need to talk about the repressive aspects of Islamic societies such as Indonesia.
The column has been amended since it was first posted.
Allum Bokhari is a reporter for Breitbart. He can be followed on Twitter at@LibertarianBlue. Milo Yiannopoulos is a senior editor for Breitbart. He can be followed at @Nero. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com