Skip to comments.Mark Steyn: I say monger away, baby
Posted on 09/27/2002 11:22:13 AM PDT by Pokey78
On September 6th, the National Post published a letter from Eric Tam of Yale University's Department of Political Science:
"Mr Steyn's commentary on multiculturalism and Denmark contained at least one troubling statement, which he cites as 'evidence,' made by a member of Denmark's governing coalition. Mr. Skaarup states that 'Three-quarters of rapes are carried out by non-Danes ...'
"In 1998, 17 of the 73 convicted Danish rapists were of foreign origin, and in 2000, 25 out of 70 convicted Danish rapists were of foreign origin, which is 23% and 35% respectively. This information would not have been difficult for Mr. Steyn to obtain, had he desired to do so.
"Mr. Steyn should know better than to spread such incendiary falsehoods about vulnerable social groups."
A couple of points:
First, and for reasons unknown to me, the National Post's editors published a rather bowdlerized version of Mr. Tam's letter. The copy that was forwarded to me accused Peter Skaarup, of the Danish People's Party, of telling "an out-and-out lie." And Mr. Tam concluded by saying "We have a name for a person who knowingly spreads such incendiary falsehoods about vulnerable social groups and we should use it to describe Steyn: hatemonger."
I don't see why the National Post should be so protective of its wee little columnists' sensitivities. If Mr. Tam thinks I'm a "hatemonger," he should certainly be free to say so. If he wants to be a "hatemonger"-monger, I say monger away, baby. To refuse Mr. Tam the right to monger about my flagrant hate crime is surely in itself a further hate crime. I hope by now he's filed a complaint with some or all of Canada's many Human Rights Commissions, since I could use a long vacation.
Secondly, I was pleasantly surprised by Mr. Tam's missive. In the past year, I've been called a hatemonger thousands of times by various correspondents, but this is one of only a handful to accuse me of factual error. Most sail past anything so prosaic as facts and simply say that the column in question is "hateful." ("No free speech for hate speech!" as they say at Concordia, in between beating up Holocaust survivors.)
This is in line, incidentally, with the general emotionalism of the anti-war crowd. This week, The Guardian in London accused Mr. Bush for the umpteenth time of "arrogance." So what if he is? Jacques Chirac's arrogant, so's John Ralston Saul, and Pierre Trudeau, and Bob Hope. "Humility? I pass." That was Bob, but it could just as easily have been Pierre or John or Jacques. Ol' man Yasser struck me as pretty arrogant when he was squawking away to CNN's Christiane Amanpour ("You have to be accurate when you are speaking with General Yasser Arafat! Be quiet!") and then hung up on her. But, even if he were charmingly modest and endearingly sheepish, it wouldn't change my view of him: His manner is not the issue.
So, on the whole, since this business started, I've tried to stick with facts, because the facts are more than fascinating in themselves. Mr Skaarup's allegation that "non-Danes" were responsible for three-quarters of the country's rapes has been quoted by the BBC, The New Statesman, The Economist and other notorious hatemongers. I assumed he was referring to a story I first discovered in a Copenhagen Post from September 2001, which began: "Last week's police statistics, which revealed that in 68% of all rapes committed this year the perpetrator was from an ethnic minority ..." I checked this with the Copenhagen Police: The precise figure is 68.3%.
So I figured Mr. Skaarup was doing a little rounding up to the nearest quarter. As it turns out, he was rounding down. He was referring to the statement by the Minister of Justice, Lene Espersen, in the Danish Parliament on March 8th this year. The minister said that 76.5% of convicted rapists were of non-Danish ethnic origin.
These statistics are more recent than Mr. Tam's, but in fairness to him, there's a bit of apples and oranges going on here. It's no accident that the official records of the impeccably tolerant Euro-elites make it difficult to match crime numbers with certain demographic groups. I'm still waiting to hear back from the Danish police on how the figures quoted by Mr. Tam define "of foreign origin" and correlate to the overall incidence of rape in Denmark, which is running at 493 per year, with charges brought in 304 cases.
Nor is it clear whether they include "second-generation" Muslims. In June 2001, for example, the newspaper BT reported that every single gang rape that had taken place over the preceding 18 months had been committed by second-generation immigrants or refugees -- in one instance by a gang from Eastern Europe, in the rest by ... well, I don't want to be more hateful to a certain "vulnerable social group" than I have to, so you're welcome to take a stroll through the archives story by story, if you can stand the details. A 2001 report by the Copenhagen police says that 47% of prisoners on remand for serious violent crime -- murder, attempted murder and rape -- are from immigrant backgrounds.
Given that Muslims are somewhere between 2% and 5% of the population and around 75%-80% of the immigrant population, the only argument is over whether this 2%-5% commit three-quarters, two-thirds, half or a third of Danish rapes. Not even Mr. Tam is claiming they commit only 2%-5%.
Why do immigrants rape out of all proportion to their numbers? Denmark, being a famously "tolerant," "humane" and indeed "liberated" society, is unsure. Copenhagen University's leading criminologist thinks we need more outreach. "Over the last five-10 years there has been an increasing tendency to marginalize and alienate immigrants," says Professor Flemming Balvig. "As a result, many second generation immigrants have reacted against this through various types of criminal activity, including rape." The immigrant information group IOF runs classes for Muslim fathers to help them give sexual advice to their sons. "When kids go into a kiosk to buy chewing gum, they are confronted with pornography on every shelf ... This sort of thing just doesn't exist in the societies they come from, so somebody has to talk to these youngsters and teach them how to deal with it," says Muslim leader Souhail Ibrahim. Babar Baig of the Muslim Youth League says it is the duty of all Muslims to get to the bottom of "this abnormal behaviour and moral depravity." "Abnormal"? "Moral depravity"? Hear that, Mr. Tam? The guy sounds like a National Post windbag.
This spring, when reports began trickling across the Atlantic about rising anti-Semitism in Europe, I thought I ought to see for myself, so I spent a little while chugging round the Continent and then the Middle East. Although many Arab Muslims seemed victims of their own peculiar psychosis, the notorious "Arab street" struck me as a sleepy backwater compared to the palpable menace and visible violence of the Muslim quartiers in France, Belgium and Germany. As I said in my original column, many of the young Muslims in western Europe exhibit the worst traits of both Islam and the West. As the "root cause" of this new war is Islam's difficulty co-existing with modernity, we shouldn't be surprised that this manifests itself less in, say, Bangladesh or Indonesia than in Holland and Sweden, the epitome of the boundlessly tolerant post-nationalist liberal state. Across the Continent, indications are that second- and third-generation Muslims are far more estranged from the broader society than their parents and grandparents were.
What should the West do about this problem? Well, we could start by acknowledging it. Fact: Almost all Denmark's rape victims are ethnic Danish girls or women. Fact: An ethnic Danish girl is far more likely to be raped by a Muslim than an ethnic Dane. Fact: Immigration means that more Danish women get raped. You can argue about the way to change these stubborn facts -- curtail immigration vs increase outreach, cut welfare vs educate immigrant parents -- as the People's Party and the Muslim Youth League are doing. These are tenable positions in the debate. But, when you insist someone's a "hatemonger" even for mentioning these awkward demographic trends, you're just trying to shut down the debate:
"56% of immigrant m..."
"47% of serious cr..."
"68% of reported..."
So I'm grateful to Mr. Tam. He specifically disputed one fact and he called me a hatemonger. That seems fair enough. Dispute two specific facts and you can take me to the Human Rights Commission. Dispute three specific facts and we'll play your karaoke recording on the National Post Web site:
Mong me some hate..."
But just plain old unsupported cries of "hatemonger"? Save it for your next Concordia riot.
Mong me some hate..."
Priceless (as always)!
Freedom, Wealth, and Peace,
Francis W. Porretto
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