Who are the bigger Grinches: Islamists who disparage Christmas celebrations in the Western societies they inhabit or appeasers who bend over backwards to shield Muslims from the trappings of the season? Both have been in action this year; one example of each will suffice.
First, radical Muslims in Britain have marked the holiday with a poster campaign on the "evils of Christmas," blaming it for sexually transmitted diseases, debt, rape, teenage pregnancies, abortion, raves, blasphemy, exploitation, promiscuity, nightclubs, crime, pedophilia, paganism, domestic violence, homelessness, violence, vandalism, alcohol, drugs, and, of course, "claiming God has a son." The signs then declare that "in Islam we are protected from all of these evils," with the faith guaranteeing "dignity" and "rights for man, woman, and child." Ho, ho, ho.
Abu Rumaysah, the leader of the project, asserts that "Christmas is a lie and as Muslims it is our duty to attack it." The Daily Mail article ties him to radical cleric Anjem Choudary, who may have inspired his Scrooge-like sentiments. Two years ago, Choudary described Christmas as "the pathway to hellfire" and warned Muslims that "decorating the house, purchasing Christmas trees, or having Christmas turkey meals are completely prohibited by Allah."
Second, in a particularly vexing case of appeasement from Christmas 2010, Santa Claus was banned from Minnesota's St. Peter Head Start, which offers lessons for young, low-income kids to help prepare them for school. Dennis Jackson, who had portrayed Santa there for years, "said he was told 'it was against some people's wishes' for him to make the half-hour appearances for two classes catering to about three dozen children," according to the Mankato Free Press.
"We have Somali families in the program," explained Chris Marben, a regional coordinator for Head Start through the Minnesota Valley Action Council (MVAC). "We're respecting the wishes of families in the program." Noting that parents are surveyed about commemorating holidays, Marben indicated, in the words of the newspaper, that "more than one objection would be sufficient to waive an observance."
Jackson argues that any uncomfortable parents simply could have had their children removed from class for the half hour, as opposed to overreaching administrators ruining the joy for everyone else. At least some local Somalis agree and ripped into program directors for canceling Santa and then scapegoating Muslims. IW readers are welcome to offer their thoughts to MVAC officials, using the contact information under Nicollet County at this link.
So who does more harm: Islamists or appeasers? Usually the latter. Fanatics like Abu Rumaysah thankfully have little power over our lives and thus are reduced to pasting signs on walls. May they forever be so weak. In contrast, appeasers like Chris Marben do exercise real power, acting as gatekeepers for what is allowed in the bland, offense-free "paradise" they wish to construct. By undermining its foundations and traditions, these efforts ready Western culture for the kill.
However, both camps deserve lumps of coal in their stockings on this and every other Christmas.