"Hvis frihed overhovedet betyder noget, så betyder det retten til at fortælle folk det, de ikke vil høre"

George Orwell

The Cartoon Jihad and the Coming of Parallel Societies

By Lars Hedegaard

It appears that the Muslim community has a unique gift for catching the nation's attention and setting its agenda. There seems to exist a de facto symbiotic relationship between the outspoken extremists and their more moderate opponents within the Muslim community

Several circumstances surrounding the Danish Muhammed affair – undoubtedly the most serious foreign policy crisis that has hit this tiny country since the end of the Second World War – indicate that this is not exclusively and perhaps not even primarily about 12 cartoons in a newspaper. When some time has elapsed, the affair will undoubtedly come to be viewed as one skirmish in a clash of civilisations that is only going to be intensified over the coming years and which is every bit as fundamental as the struggle against Nazism and communism in the last century.

We will come to view the Cartoon Affair in the same way as historians and intellectuals of good will have interpreted the Rushdie Affair that hit the Western world with is full force in 1989. Not as a sudden eruption of inexplicable or unforeseeable anger or hurt feelings, but as one incident in a whole pattern of thinking and behaviour that was inextricably linked to the Khomeiny revolution in Iran ten years before – and before that to the malaise of contemporary Islam whose antecedents can be traced back hundreds of years. Precisely the same must be said of the two murders here in Holland that have horrified civilised people – the callous killings of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh.

The essence of the anti-Danish and increasingly anti-European and anti-Western hysteria that was triggered – not caused – by the Danish national daily Jyllands-Posten's publication of 12 Muhammed cartoons on September 30, 2005, is a Muslim struggle for ideological and political supremacy over the Western world. A clash of civilisations, to quote Samuel Huntington.

It is, secondly, a struggle for ideological hegemony within the Muslim umma – both in countries with a Muslim majority and within the Muslim diaspora. It is a struggle between strictly orthodox imams, ulema and politico-religious organisations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the Wahhabites of Saudi-Arabia and extremist forces in Iran, on one side, and other Muslims who may be devout but who tend to regard religion as a personal matter that should not be allowed to dictate the organisation of the state or the character of its jurisprudence.

These latter forces, which may be labelled "liberal Muslims" – and which should not in my view be confused with the basically illiberal, so-called "European Islam", that is being bandied about by primarily Tariq Ramadan – have been on the defensive for several decades. And we have not heard much from them in connection with Muhammed row. I take this to be a result of fear that the imams and their strongmen may come after them. And not as a sign that they do not exist.

Finally, the events over the past months show very clearly that a fierce battle is raging for the soul of Europe. It is a battle between those who are determined to preserve Europe's Judeo-Christian heritage and the freedoms that generations of Europeans have fought to obtain and keep: democracy, equality before the law, equality between the sexes, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom not to have any religion, freedom to change religion and freedom to criticise and ridicule religion. On the other hand we have those who are willing to put this entire heritage aside for the sake of the pipedream of a multicultural Europe and are even prepared to adopt the Islamicist positions as their own if that will secure "peace in our time" – to quote a famous politician who tried the same approach to dictators and totalitarianism in the last century.

Unfortunate reactions

As our experience in Denmark has shown since the cartoons first became an issue, the divide between the defenders of the Western tradition and the appeasers go right through most political parties and almost any other organisation or grouping in the country. Generally it may be said that the Danish left has favoured concessions to Islam whereas the centre-right has stood firmer. But that is only a general picture. Even among adherents of the governing centre-right parties there have been distinct voices calling for capitulation in the face of demands that we curb free speech so as to accommodate Muslim sensibilities. One very surprising spokesman for the latter position is former Foreign Minister Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, who used to be the chairman of current Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's Liberals.

But then again, Neville Chamberlain did belong to the same party as Winston Churchill.

Not that I would compare the position of the current Danish government to the steadfastness of Churchill in the face of totalitarianism. Our Prime Minister's first decision to not meet with 11 ambassadors from Muslim countries, who wanted him to put pressure on Jyllands-Posten to apologise for having printed the cartoons and who also indicated that they wanted to discuss the entire "tone" of the Danish debate on immigration and integration, was certainly the right one.

To have acquiesced to meeting 11 ambassadors from largely dictatorial states that respect few if any human rights in these circumstances would have been a travesty and a de facto confirmation that the Danish voters are not permitted to determine their own affairs.

Unfortunately, our Prime Minister has since then seen fit to distance himself from the cartoons – though that should be none of his business as the leader of the government. In his 2006 New Year's speech to the nation, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen chose to condemn statements that cause offence to religious or other minorities. That sounded uncomfortably like a climb down from his previous principled stance. Particularly in view of the fact that Denmark has had a long tradition for offending members of various religious communities and in particular adherents of the majority Lutheran faith. Denmark does have a provision on the books forbidding blasphemy but that has not been used for many decades. Thus we have a solid tradition for making fun of Christians, Jesus, the Bible and many other holy texts. Why should we all of a sudden make an exception for Muslims?

But there is no doubt that the Danish government came under heavy pressure as the anger rose throughout the Muslim world – and particularly in view of the fact that it took a very long time for our supposed allies in Europe and across the Atlantic to come to our defence. Some of them never did. And in most cases, this late backing was accompanied by politically correct statements to the effect that whereas free speech is inviolable, it should not be used in a way that offends Muslims. Not in so many words perhaps, but – to borrow a German expression – "man merkt die Absicht und wird verstimmt".

Even Jyllands-Posten felt obliged to first express its regret and later to apologise – not for printing the cartoons – but for the mental anguish this act might have caused the world's Muslims. As if the paper were responsible for the manner in which Muslims chose to react. This is also pretty much the position the Danish government has landed on. Regrets – even apologies – for the effects of the drawings but not for the drawings themselves. This means that Denmark has not officially given up its constitutionally guaranteed right of free speech, but it comes close. It is also a worrying sign that Jyllands-Posten's chief editor Carsten Juste has concluded from the entire affair that it was a mistake to print the cartoons and that he does not think anything similar will be repeated in the Danish press.

Violence, threats and intimidation certainly work.

An atmosphere of intimidation and violence

In view of the serious repercussions from the cartoons – and in view of the fact that even Danish critics of Jyllands-Posten such as the former foreign minister, 22 former Danish diplomats, and several other notables have condemned the paper's act as "childish" and needlessly provocative – we would do well to remember what led up to the paper's decision to commission the cartoons.

The Danish battle over free speech did not start with the cartoons, as one might gather from the international press. Among the antecedents was an incident that took place in late 2004 when a university lecturer of Moroccan-Jewish descent was kidnapped in broad daylight in the centre of Copenhagen and brutally beaten by three Muslim youths for having recited from the Koran in connection with a class he was teaching at the university. Nothing similar has happened during Copenhagen University's more than 500 year long history. Fear of a similar fate was cited by one Danish artist when he declined to illustrate a children's book on Muhammed – which was the incident that led Jyllands-Posten to test how wide-spread this self-censorship had become.

I also wonder if the world around us is aware that our supposedly xenophobic country – as it is widely portrayed in the European press – has already bowed to Muslim demands so that only halal meat is served in Copenhagen's public schools. Do foreigners know that our public school system is more and more sexually segregated and that increasingly boys and girls cannot share the same swimming pool? That our shelters for battered women are filled with Muslim women who are systematically brutalised by their own families? That Muslim immigrants or their descendants are vastly overrepresented when it comes to rape and other violent crimes?

Is it known that Jewish children are advised not to attend certain public schools for fear that their presence might cause offence to pupils of Arab or Muslim descent? Or that Denmark's only Jewish school has to be protected by a double ring of barbed wire and elaborate electronic surveillance?

One of Denmark's most visible and popular parliamentarians, Naser Khader, who is a Muslim born in Syria, needs police protection around the clock because he has given his daughter a Christian first name and because he has advocated a democratic and secular state and considers religion to be a strictly private matter. During his Friday prayer on February 10, 2006, the leading Danish imam Ahmed Abu Laban – one the instigators of the anti-Danish riots in the Muslim world and a leader of the Muslim Faith Community in Copenhagen – referred to Mr. Khader and his Muslim supporters as "rats in a hole". That was after the MP had distanced himself from the hysteria that was being whipped up by imams and had come out in defence of free speech.

With his Arab background Naser Khader was in no doubt that rhetoric like that was an expression of a violent intent – and was seen by other Muslims as such. He therefore asked the Minister for Church Affairs, Bertel Haarder, if Abu Laban's threatening behaviour was commensurate with his congregation's standing as an officially recognised faith community. But no action was taken against Abu Laban.

If a non-Muslim Dane had called a Muslim a "rat in a hole", he would surely have received court summons.

Abu Laban's veiled threat was by no means a unique occurrence in the troubled history of Danish-Islamic relations.

A few years before, the well-known actor and political commentator Farshad Kholghi, who was born into an Iranian Bahai family that fled to Denmark in the 1980s, was threatened into moving out of his home in central Copenhagen for having made fun of Islam. "I fled from the fundamentalists in Iran, now I'm fleeing again," he commented.

On February 12, 2006 the Danish division of the international extremist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir held a meeting in the Copenhagen neighbourhood of Nørrebro, which it largely controls. At the meeting the party's leaders made no bones about their desire to conduct armed jihad against the Danish "kuffar". Their chief spokesman, Fadi Abdullatif, had previously received a sentence of 60 days' imprisonment for threatening to kill Jews. At the February meeting he pointed his finger at the Danish Queen Margrethe 2, whom he accused of collusion with among others Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Jyllands-Posten and Prime Minister Fogh Rasmussen in an attempt to harm Islam. This less than a veiled threat against the Danish sovereign was not reported in the press, and no action was taken against Mr. Abdullatif.

The Danish constitution determines that organisations that seek to further their aims by means of violence are to be dissolved by the courts. However, the state prosecutor has decided that this paragraph cannot be used against the likes of Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Ruling the streets

A particularly worrisome aspect of the February 2006 Hizb ut-Tahrir gathering was the fact that it was attended by a fair number of Danish converts. In some cases people who used to belong to the far left have switched to Islamo-Fascism as a more promising way to abolish the capitalist system.

The far Left-Islamicist alliance has subsequently become even more pronounced. On July 21, 2006 revolutionary socialists and Muslim extremists demonstrated together in the streets of Copenhagen against America and the "Zionists". A separate demonstration by Hizb ut-Tahrir was marred by violent attacks against a photographer working for the webzine Sappho.dk and later against a counter-demonstrator displaying a Danish and Israeli flag.

On July 28, 2006 socialists again demonstrated in front of Parliament together with Muslims displaying Hizbollah flags. Among the speakers railing against the Danish government and its "vilification of Muslims" were Ahmed Abu Laban and the prominent Muslim extremist Asmaa Abdol-Hamid, notorious for her evasive stance on the death penalty, her advocacy of Muslim-style polygamy and her refusal to shake hands with men. The tightly veiled Ms. Abdol-Hamid, who has been caught in blatant lies about her personal history, has subsequently been chosen as a parliamentary candidate by the ostensibly secular and socialist Unity List, which is already represented in the legislature and is usually allied with the Social Democratic opposition party. In late July 2007 Asmaa Abdol-Hamid openly advocated the killing of Danish soldiers in Iraq and characterised them as an occupation force.

This modern-day socialist had already revealed her attitude to free speech in October 2005 when she acted as spokesperson for a number of Muslim organisations that had reported Jyllands-Posten to the police for blasphemy and racial discrimination due to its publication of the Muhammed cartoons. However, the public prosecutor determined that the paper had violated no law.

In recognition of the Far Left's Islamic turn, one of the most influential Danish imams, the convert Abdul Wahid Pedersen – who has refused to distance himself from any part of sharia law, including the stoning of women and the death penalty for Muslim apostates – has encouraged Danish Muslims to cast their votes for the Unity List.

Despite the methods of intimidation that the imams and the Islamist organisations have regularly employed, a number of Muslims have risen to defend democracy, secularism and free speech. A group of immigrants of Iranian and Iraqi background collected 500 signatures among fellow immigrants in support of Jyllands-Posten's right to publish the Muhammed cartoons. That takes courage in today's Denmark, where most of the national media and a depressing number of writers, artists, intellectuals and politicians would rather limit our freedom of expression than stand up to the religious fanatics.

The rise and fall of the Democratic Muslims

A potentially more significant development was set in motion in early February 2006 when MP Naser Khader and a group of democratically minded co-religionists set up a new organisation named "Democratic Muslims". Its aim was to speak for the supposedly sizeable segment of Danish Muslims who wanted to live peacefully under Danish laws, participate in Danish democracy and respect free speech. Under the chairmanship of Naser Khader the new organisation quickly attracted hundreds of Muslim members in addition to thousands of non-Muslim sympathisers and considerable financial support in the wider community.

It soon became clear, however, that the Muslim members represented a diversity of agendas, and that some of the organisation's activists quickly reverted to the old Muslim habit of blaming non-Muslim Danes for their real or imagined plight. What started out as a protest against the ideological sway of the imams soon degenerated into the usual complaints about the "tone" of Danish public discourse, accompanied by appeals to the Prime Minister to correct this intolerable state of affairs.

A few months later it was all over. On June 6, 2006 the Copenhagen daily Berlingske Tidende reported that Naser Khader's organisation was out of breath. Its membership stood at just 1,137 and an opinion poll among the approximately 200,000 Danish Muslims indicated that no more than 14 pct. felt represented by Democratic Muslims. It was little consolation that even fewer thought the imams spoke on their behalf. In September that year Naser Khader left the post of chairman and within a span of a few weeks the organisation withered.

Naser Khader's subsequent political exploits have been equally absorbing. On May 7, 2007, after months of criticism of his party's left-leaning policies, Khader broke with the Social Liberals to set up a new party, the New Alliance, which he hoped would command the political centre and thus exert a decisive influence on coming governments. As the occasion for his move, he gave a stunt performed by one of his parliamentary colleagues, the fellow Social Liberal Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen. On April 26 she had decided to pose in full Islamic headdress in front of cameras in central Copenhagen – purportedly in support of free speech for Muslim women and to demonstrate the beauty of a multicultural society. Naser Khader was "aghast" and livid with rage at what he saw as an aid to Islamists who would now be able to exploit this public demonstration to force more Muslim women to don the headscarf. (Jyllands-Posten, May 2, 2007).

Strangely, however, this point of departure was all but forgotten a few days later when the new party presented itself at a well attended press conference. A spokeswoman for the New Alliance, the former Conservative member of the European Parliament Gitte Seeberg, now let it be known that the new party's main objective was to eliminate the influence of the Danish People's Party from national politics. Ms. Seeberg also declared that the new party favoured of a more "decent" immigration and asylum policy, which is usually understood as a euphemism for a reversal to the pre-2001 policies of almost unrestricted Muslim immigration, although she denied that this was her intention. (Politiken, May 8, 2007). Since the election of 2001, the Danish People's Party had formed the parliamentary basis of Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's Liberal-Conservative government and had been in the forefront of the cultural struggle against the growing influence of Islam in Denmark, including the wearing of the headscarf.

More mystery was added when Naser Khader expressed his enthusiastic support for the Prime Minister, who had come out in favour of the Islamic veiling of women in a speech on Constitution Day, June 5, 2007. The Prime Minister saw no reason why a few headscarves should make people so exercised. "Let them. Let the well-known Danish liberal-mindedness secure [people's] right to dress as they please – also in the public sphere." (Jyllands-Posten, June 6, 2007). "It seems as if he has been inspired by us," commented Naser Khader, who appeared to have forgotten all about his criticism of Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen just one month before. (Ibid.).

The Danish People's Party now appeared completely isolated in its struggle against the country's cultural Islamisation. The President of the Supreme Court, Torben Melchior, quickly captured the new spirit in the country. He now announced that he could find nothing wrong with female judges donning the hijab although he did believe that a burkha would present some "practical problems". (Jyllands-Posten, June 6, 2007).

There can be little doubt that this official acceptance of the veil represents the most important and far-reaching concession which the imams and the militant Muslim organisations have obtained since Islam's arrival in the country during the late 1960s. It is a far more significant development than anything that happened during the cartoon crisis. The pronouncement by the Supreme Court President all but guarantees that in the not too distant future Danes will have to face judges whose attire testifies that they adhere to a judicial system (the sharia) that has no basis in Danish law.

In any event, open criticism of Islam may soon become a very dangerous undertaking.

Islamisation and its fellow travellers

It appears that the Muslim community – which constitutes no more than 4 per cent of the population – has a unique gift for catching the nation's attention and setting its agenda. There seems to exist a de facto symbiotic relationship between the outspoken extremists and their more moderate opponents within the Muslim community. The extremists create rifts in the country's social, political and ideological fabric, which the ostensible moderates can use to present their own demands on the majority. After listening to wild and crazy imams and their calls for the full implementation of sharia law, it is nice to hear moderate voices that only demand respect for innocent Muslim customs such as the veiling of women and who only want to introduce moderate rules to regulate what may be said about Islam and Muslims.

This de facto symbiosis between various factions within the umma means that the price Danes have to pay for avoiding the full sharia is sharia lite or creeping sharia. The basic question that is completely forgotten is why the government and the entire political system should pay special attention to a noisy minority whose main contribution to the nation has been the production of endless trouble. The Prime Minister never meets with representatives of Danish Catholics, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists or other religious or anti-religious communities – and that is for the simple reason that they never make any trouble. They are far too well integrated into Danish society for anyone to pay any attention to them.

The constant attention that is paid to Muslims is gradually forcing the Danes to think of their society in an entirely new way that is diametrically opposed to the letter and spirit of our constitution. We are gradually and almost imperceptibly getting used to thinking of our society as something that has to be negotiated between Muslims and non-Muslims. Without saying so openly, we are coming to accept a state of affairs where self-appointed spokesmen for Muslims are accorded a de facto extra-constitutional right to intercede in the democratic process.

A crucial player in this entire process of creeping Islamisation has turned out to be the Danish Security Intelligence Service or as it is abbreviated in Danish, the PET.

No sooner had the first shock following the burning of Danish flags and representative offices in the Middle East, the killings, the boycotts and the demonstrations abated, than the Chief Criminal Inspector of the PET, Hans Jørgen Bonnichsen, saw fit to praise the imams for their invaluable contribution to the order and stability on the home front. On March 25, 2006 Mr. Bonnichsen had this to say to Jyllands-Posten: "It is my evaluation that they [he was referring to a large group of imams] have helped to increase our inner security and to maintain calm." He went on to express his regret that the imams had been "demonised".

However deep felt Inspector Bonnichsen's sentiments may have been, his timing left a lot to be desired.

Two days before Jyllands-Posten's interview with Mr. Bonnichsen, i.e. on March 23, 2006, the Danish TV channel TV2 and the French France 2 had aired a documentary by the French journalist Mohamed Sifaoui who used a hidden camera to expose at least one of the PET's friends among the imams, namely Ahmed Akkari, who had also been a member of the rabble-rousing delegation of imams to the Middle East. He was caught saying that if MP Naser Khader became minister of integration – a desire he had just announced – then perhaps "two men will emerge and blow him and his ministry up."

The documentary had several other good bits such as a comment from the imam, "sheikh" Raed Hlayhel from the notorious Grimhøjvej Mosque on the western outskirts of Aarhus and another participant in the Middle Eastern expedition: "I think the pressure must be kept up in order to ensure a hate effect against the paper [Jyllands-Posten, ed.].“ A spokesman for the Islamic Faith Community – obviously believing that he was talking to a sympathiser –confirmed that "we are salafists".

Another example of imams' calming influence came less than two months later when the spokesman for the Islamic Faith Community Kasem Ahmad had the following to say to the daily Ekstra Bladet (May 12, 2006): "In future it will be much easier to recruit terrorists for actions in Denmark. It will be your own fault. You will have to live with terror. ... There is a poisonous attitude towards Muslims in Denmark. Consequently, it will not be hard to find Danish Muslims who will quite voluntarily sacrifice themselves in acts of terror in this country. I am certain that many will volunteer for the task." The statement came as a reaction to imam Abu Laban's "threat" to leave the country – which most Danes saw as a great opportunity to get rid of this troublesome cleric.

As it turned out, Abu Laban had no intention of leaving. He died in Denmark in February 2007 of natural causes.

A clear indication that the attitude of the Security Intelligence Service was being appreciated among radical Islamists was given by Raed Hlayhel during a Friday prayer on March 31, 2006. The radical salafist Hlayhel was generally seen as the main initiator behind the delegation of imams that went to the Middle East in the wake of Jyllands-Posten's cartoons. Speaking of the imams' work in the prisons he noted that "The Danes know that I and other scholars are invited to prisons to calm down troublemakers. Therefore it is about time to leave this squabble behind and the others must stop lying. It is about time to say, as the PET chief has courageously said: 'the imams have been very co-operative.' That must be said even though Danish society will not like the fact that the imams have played a positive role in ruling the situation in Denmark. That is why we must emphasise such words in order to show our rights."

Commenting on these rather cryptic words, Tina Magaard, a researcher on Islam at Aarhus University, offered this interpretation in Jyllands-Posten (May 21, 2006): Certain actors in Danish society have learned to behave in accordance with Islamic law. "Just like Muhammed concluded the Medina Pact with some of Medina's original tribes, Raed Hlayhel has now concluded a Denmark Pact with the tribes Arla [a dairy company with vast exporting interests in the Middle East and quick to praise Islamic tolerance in advertisements in Arabic newspapers] and the PET. The Medina Pact implies that Muhammed, who is a newcomer to Medina, rules the situation on par with his allies, just like Raed Hlayhel describes the relations between the imams and the PET. He considers himself the PET's equal. But the PET and Arla should not get their hopes up. They may well have entered into a pact, but co-operation will only last as long as it is to the Muslims' advantage. That was the way it was in Medina, and I believe that the same has been the case in Denmark. One would do well to remind the PET how terribly wrong things went for Muhammed's allies later on." (They were butchered after Muhammed had decided to violate the pact in 624 – two years after it had been concluded, ed.).

There can be little doubt that Raed Hlayhel regarded the Muhammed Affair as a turning point. But he may have overplayed his hand – to the effect that he became a nuisance to Muslims in Aarhus and to the other imams and Muslim organisations, who proved unwilling to follow Hlayhel to the brink of open confrontation with the Danish authorities inside Denmark itself.

According to the normally well informed journalist Pernille Ammitzbøll writing in Jyllands-Posten on February 4, 2007, imam Hlayhel had been voted down by the other members of the Muslim campaign committee directing the cartoon offensive in February 2006. Hlayhel wanted to step up the confrontation whereas the others thought they had got as much out of the situation as could be achieved for the time being.

On top of that the salafist leader had made a bad impression on the Danes by openly accusing women of being Satan's instrument against men and claiming that women with makeup could not enter paradise.

In one of his last Friday prayers in Denmark he openly flirted with the kind of death cult that characterises al-Qaeda ideology. As an orthodox salafist he had also antagonised many Muslims by condemning Hizbollah as heretics in the midst of its war with Israel in the Summer of 2006.

In November that year Raed Hlayhel left Denmark to settle in Tripoli, Lebanon.

A balance sheet

In one is to draw up a balance sheet of winners and losers a year and a half after the climax of the cartoon crisis, it will have to be mixed.

Neither the Danish government nor Jyllands-Posten proved quite as steadfast in their determination to stand up to the forces of religious reaction as one might have hoped. Perhaps one could not have expected more given Denmark's isolation in its struggle to defend free speech. One would be hard pressed to point to a single Western government that stood unequivocally by Denmark's side. The so-called "brotherly nations" of Sweden and Norway overwhelmingly sided with the imams and the "1.6 billion aggrieved Muslims". Many other players on the Danish scene proved quite willing to cave in to any demand raised by self-appointed representatives of the umma.

Opinion polls, however, have largely proved that the Danish people has stood firm. An poll conducted in November 2005 showed that 56 pct. of the population believed that free speech must always take precedence over religious sensibilities. 33 pct. thought it depended on the circumstances, whereas 6 pct. were of the opinion that free speech must never take precedence over religious rules and traditions. A majority of 54 pct. thought that Jyllands-Posten was justified in publishing the cartoons as opposed to 25 pct. who thought it was wrong to have done so. These numbers did not change significantly in the following months.

An opinion poll published in Jyllands-Posten on January 12, 2006, showed that 57 pct. still supported the publication of the cartoons and that 31 pct. were opposed. Significantly, however, there were big age differences. 61 pct. of the 18-25 year olds thought the paper was right, whereas the number fell to 47 pct. for respondents over 65.

The Danes were asked again on the first anniversary of the publication – and on the background of several months of world-wide trouble, killings, threats and boycotts. 47 pct. still supported the cartoons, whereas the opponents had grown to 38 pct. 15 pct, did not know what to think (as reported by several papers September 29, 2006).

In an article marking the anniversary, the British Guardian thought it strange that the proponents of the cartoons had not recanted despite the deaths of more than 139 people across the Muslim world – as if the Danish adherents of free speech were in some way responsible for the actions of Muslim fanatics.

Since Denmark's current centre-right government came into power in 2001, it has tightened access to the country, particularly by interfering with the so-called chain immigration in the shape of arranged marriages between Danish Muslims and their cousins abroad, who would then settle in the country and whose children would in turn be married off to other relatives from the old country.

This has stemmed the influx of unassimilated foreigners to some extent. Still the Muslim community is growing much faster than the indigenous population. Even with the current legislation in place, it is estimated that Muslims will make up the majority of the total population before the end of the century.

In view of the fact that integration has largely failed despite the enormous sums that have been expended for that purpose, there is no reason to expect that it will be easier to integrate millions of Muslims when we have been unable to integrate 200,000. At the same time the influence of the imams has been strengthened, making integration even more unlikely.

Characteristically, many of Jyllands-Posten's detractors and advocates of appeasing Arab and Muslim demands have been bitterly opposed to the parliamentary majority's tightening of immigration controls and have done their utmost to mobilise foreign support to circumvent the popular will by appealing to international bodies and placing stories about Danish "racism" and "xenophobia" in the foreign press.

Thus the battle over freedom of expression – however important it is in its own right – is but an aspect of a deeper clash within the Danish, and may I say Western, society between an elite bent on the dissolution of national cohesion and popular forces that are trying to defend their culture and accustomed rights.

In conclusion, let me briefly sketch where I think this entire process will lead.

I do not think that all Europeans will passively accept a future as dhimmies in their own countries. And I remain convinced that the majority of the Danes will not give in without a fight. Denmark is after all the land that refused to hand over its Jewish population to the Nazi butchers during the German occupation. We may appear peaceful even docile at times. We do not like to pick fights. We try our utmost to compromise and to understand where our opponents are coming from. But if you press us against a wall, we will fight. The same may apply to other countries.

For that reason I do not think that a Muslim take-over of all of Europe is possible. Some countries around Denmark – notably Sweden and Norway – are far advanced in a process of self-dhimmification that seems to be picking up speed by the day. But resistance among the Danes has proved too determined for that to happen in a smooth fashion here.

It is far more likely that countries like Denmark will split into parallel societies, geographically, politically, legally, economically, militarily, ideologically and culturally. There will be enclaves inhabited and dominated by Danes and their non-Muslim allies. And there will be enclaves inhabited by Muslims and Danish converts that will be ruled according to sharia law.

The old institutions, such as the courts, the universities, the police, the armed forces etc., will be forced to choose whose side they are on.

It will be like in Bosnia, Lebanon or Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

As will be evident to anyone with eyes to see, this coming state of affairs will bear no resemblance to the multicultural utopia promised by the advocates of a co-existence of civilisations.

To those who might say that my vision for the future is far too pessimistic and that the Muslim umma will gradually adapt to Western norms, democracy, free speech and free thinking, I will simply say that I do not know of a single example that this has happened.

The article is a heavily revised and updated version of a presentation at the 2006 Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference on Islam, The Hague, February 16-19. It is to be published in Dutch in 2008.