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    Tuesday, November 21, 2006

    The power of people who are different



    People who are different, and will always remain different, for religious
    reasons are scary to the established culture.

    Christian now Post-Christian Europe, Jews, the old Mahotmet wars, an old old
    story of struggle to maintain the 'we'.

    When I was young, the teachers put the fact that America was proudly a
    'melting pot' of cultures on the civics test. Over a generation or 2, the
    American immigrants lost their stark difference and blended in to the new stew.
    Economic power gain and survival made the rules of the game safe to
    understand.

    When the rules are based on something eternal like religion, it's a different
    unchanging game. One particularly hard for non-religious, non-baby-making
    Europeans to tolerate.

    There are so many echos of the past to listen to. I really have no idea how
    this current mash of cultures in Europe will play out. It is probably on a 20
    year timeline before it settles down into something new and as for now,
    unpredictable.

    link

    LONDON: Muslims are being singled out for demonisation on a par with the victimisation of Jews during the last century, the Mayor of London said on Monday.

    Unveiling new research indicating that 75 per cent of those polled in the capital support the right of Muslims, and those of other faiths, to dress "in accordance with their religious beliefs," Ken Livingstone criticised the "barrage" of attacks as an assault on freedom of religious and cultural expression.

    Mr Livingstone said: "Over recent weeks we have seen a demonisation of Muslims only comparable to the demonisation of Jews from the end of the 19th century. As at that time, the attack on Muslims in reality threatens freedoms for all of us, which took hundreds of years to win -- freedom of conscience and freedom of cultural expression. Every person who values their right to follow the religion of their choice or none should stand with the Muslim communities today."

    Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, said: "Freedom of conscience and religion, like freedom of speech, is essential to any democratic society. We must keep our heads and unite around democratic values, applying them to others as we want them applied to ourselves. We must all be able to think, wear and say what we like, subject only to personal ethics and restrictions truly necessary for the protection of others."

    As I am sure many others have observed, a continent's values "subject only to
    personal ethics and restrictions truly necessary for the protection of others"
    is a poor defense against people with a deep religious conviction.

    The cold war was ended by a combination of the superior spiritual
    power of the Pope, military power of the USA, and political power of
    European Thatcher.

    In this struggle, Europe still holds the military and political might to
    prevail, but not the spiritual. If the weakness of a fluid democracy wipes
    out the political advantage, the tables may turn as only military power is left
    for the final stand. It is not likely to be pretty.

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