WASHINGTON -- For years now, Europe has endured attacks from one fanatical Muslim after another -- from the bombs on the London subways to the "war" in France over women wearing the burqa to assassination of critics of Islam in the Netherlands.
But the attacks in Norway last week, with 76 dead, may well represent, for the first time, something very different in the annals of terrorism.
The question is being asked, and not only in peaceable Norway with its barely 5 million people, as to whether disturbed white Europeans will now begin a new era of "confronting and combating Islam" through terrible violence against their own people. Is Islamic terrorism claiming its own children, in a new age in terrorism?
Anders Behring Breivik, the blond and blue-eyed Norwegian who is charged with the mass murders, would seem at first glance to be one of those many dedicated Norwegians devoted to feeding children or constructing women's shelters. He confuses us. He wrote about "using terror as a method for waking up the masses." And the day before the two attacks in Oslo and at a Labor Party island retreat, he posted online a 1,500-page "manifesto" titled "2083: A European Declaration of Independence," which indicts European cultural elites for bringing, or allowing to come into the country, too many Muslims who do not play by the rules.
As Bruce Bawer, a writer and thinker about European Islam, writes in The Wall Street Journal: "Norway, like the rest of Europe, is in serious trouble. Millions of European Muslims live in rigidly patriarchal families in rapidly growing enclaves where women are second-class citizens, and where non-Muslims dare not venture. Surveys show that an unsettling percentage of Muslims in Europe reject Western values, despise the countries they live in, support the execution of homosexuals, and want to replace democracy with Shariah law. (According to a poll conducted by the Telegraph, 40 percent of British Muslims want Shariah implemented in predominantly Muslim parts of the United Kingdom.)
"Muslim gay-bashing is driving gays out of Amsterdam. Muslim Jew-bashing is driving Jews out of Gothenburg, Sweden ... fear of Muslim wrath is squelching the freedom of speech of those who dare to criticize Islam."
In short, Muslim wrath is causing many European societies to close in upon themselves, ironically awakening prejudices within the European Union that the E.U. was formed to extinguish, step-by-step, after World War II. Indeed, the influx of Muslims across Europe and their very public refusal to assimilate are now causing Europeans to reconsider one of the very bases of the E.U. -- the Schengen Agreement (1985), in which all the countries in the E.U. have pledged to wipe out borders between them.
It is fine to think idealistically about the lion lying down with the lamb and all the peoples of the world living together cheek-by-jowl and singing songs of peace, but in reality the ending can be like July 22 on the island, with young people jumping into frigid water in a desperate attempt to escape the madman.
Christopher Caldwell writes in The New York Times: "The issue has been simmering for years, but unrest in the Middle East and North Africa and fears of a new wave of migrants have brought it to a boil. Of course, closing off Europe to newcomers violates the cosmopolitan vision on which the European Union was built, and doing so could kill the project altogether. But as the continent's leaders are now learning, it's also possible to kill Europe by opening its doors wider than its citizens will tolerate."
These kinds of responses are now becoming common in Europe. The presidents of France and Italy are calling for limiting Schengen. Denmark's prime minister is calling for refortifying the country's borders with Germany and Sweden. People are beginning to learn that there is nothing wrong or "racist" in attempting to bring in only so many foreigners as can or will play by the rules of the new country.
After the massacre in Norway, there are bound to be more calls for reconsidering Schengen, rational and historically sensitive, one would hope. This is in no way to gratify the madman who killed so many last Friday because he hated multiculturalism. That, it must be remembered, is dire criminal action. But it is to say that Europe has to think hard about its open immigration and what tricks it plays on nativist brains.
It is no longer too much to say that mass, unrestricted immigration from societies that do not share our beliefs and principles is only asking for trouble.